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My Husband Is Too Affectionate


When we first got together, it was wonderful to be constantly kissed, adored, complimented, most women would kill for a man like this. My husband is handsome, intelligent and funny, as well as having an abundance of emotional intelligence too. Sounds perfect, doesn’t he! Don’t get the idea I’m constantly looking for perfection,  I’m not that kind of person. I’m ok with flaws, everyone has them. The problem is that recently I’ve started feeling a bit stifled by all the attention. Something that was lovely to begin with has started to become annoying, in that, for example, when I’m getting dressed for work in the morning, my husband will grab me and hug me, even if I’m in the middle of putting something on. He tells me he loves me about 10 times a day, and I find I’m not saying it back to him because I don’t like that kind of automatism. I’ve never needed or received an overt amount of affection as a child.  I’ve had good relationships as an adult and my last one lasted 9 years, but after a bad extraction (on my part) we’ve remained on friendly terms (although we’re not really in touch regularly).

I’ve spoken to my husband about this, and he says he understands, but after about 2 days of trying to moderate his affection, he’s back to square one. I know I sound ungrateful, but the more stifled I feel, the more I retreat and find I’m not giving him what he obviously needs. What’s the best way to deal with this?

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Believe it or not you are not alone in your dillema.  It has often been said by marriage and family therapists that the very thing that 1st attracted us to a lover are the very things that we come to resent later on in the marriage.  Therefore, you are really not being selfish or ungrateful.  The very open and affectionate attention that you at first found so welcome from you husband t is now experienced by you as stifling.  The question you face is what to do about this situation?

Evidentally, you have spoken to your husband about this before.  However, despite his efforts to improve, he falls back into this overly to solicitous behavior.  Somehow, there is a disconnect between your communication with one another.  This doesn’t mean that he is thoughtless or mean.  Rather, he is not in touch with what you need.  If he really understood, I suspect he would make a greater effort to comply with your wishes.

One of the things that you could consider doing is going to marriage counseling.  However, before attempting that, there are  several strategies that you might try.  One of them is to again sit down with him and talk about the fact that, while you sometimes enjoy his attention, it has gotten to be too much for you and you need him to back off.  This might be more successful if you add that you love him very much.  Also add that you know he loves you as well.  Point lut to him that too much of a good thing stops being good and becomes annoying.  You have the right to dress for work in the morning without his interfering with your preparations.  After all, there is a time and place for everything.  Marriage means having to make accommodations with one another.  It is important that he understands your needs as well as you understand his.

Discuss with him what kind of compromise might work.  How might he be able to show his affection in more acceptable and appropriate ways?  Knowing that he has some type of recourse to channel his need to show affection might help him modify his behavior.

If this doesn’t work, it might be necessary to go to couples counseling.  It doesn’t sound to me and in my opinion as though anything is seriously wrong in this relationship.  Rather, it is a matter of establishing appropriate and mutually acceptable boundaries.  In fact, try pointing out to your husband that everyone has a need for boundaries including in marriage.  In fact, point out that you could love him more if he stopped being so insistent about showing his love so much.  Too much of anything is not a good thing.

I wish you great good luck in your married.

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

  • Pantry

    I wouldn't trust advice from a doctor who can't spell.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: That's too bad. That cuts you off from a lot of doctors who might be able to offer you something useful. Consider that in some puddles of bathwater, there might be babies present. It's useful to not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  • APearson

    It sounds like that you are a cold woman. You admitted to being the cause of a former breakup.

    I'm not the expert but you do sound like you are being a total b*tch.

    I just hope you don't ruin this poor man and you end up getting a total cheating jerk.

    How do women like you get the nice ones and the rest of us get jerks?

    Amazing how it works, eh?

  • F A

    Not sure if the woman is cold.

    1. I'm a newly married man and I have a related issue. My wife's always touching me, kissing me, pinching me, grabbing my hand/arm/other, etc, especially when we're outside and in public, or at inappropriate times at home. It's almost as if she feels insecure if that's not happening. I've raised the issue and, like the questioner, any improvement erode after a few days.

    2. This over-touching, over-affection thing has more to do with that person and their needs than the one to whom affection is shown. "I want to touch you" is the edict, and there is a negative reaction when I raise this - as tactfully as I possibly can.

    3. If this need for physical touching/affection is so great, would that partner seek such stimuli elsewhere if they felt they were getting insufficient amounts?

  • Anonymous-1

    I don't think she sounds cold at all and I can promise you he's had a lot more relationships end due to his touching than she has due to lack of it.

    Does he do this to other people? Family? Friends? Co-workers? Are his family this way?

    It could be a bad habit that needs to be broken, but it's also a controlling behavior, because you have to stop what you're doing and attend to him. You can't live a healthy life if you can't have your own space and uniterrupted thoughts. It also shows lack of respect for personal boundaries and insecurity.

    Frankly, I'd keep a close eye on how this progresses. Does he tell you what to wear, what to eat? Get upset if you don't take his calls even when he knows you're busy?

  • crys

    i too am dealing with same. my husband and i just got married. he is contantly touching me, grabbing me and kising me...24/7. everywhere. he states that he 'jkust wants to be with me every moment of every day because he loves me so much'. we have had so many arguments over this because he goes to work and school with me. he sits outside of my work (wal-mart) and even comes inside and stands around my work area- to the point my bosses havetold him to leave because I cant get work done since hes hanging all over me and I have told him to leave more than once. he comes toschool with me and sits outside in the parking lot- waiting for me even on the hottest days of the year (im in college) and hes had two heat strokes. Ive told him to stay home. I cant get dressed int he morning without him following me from room to room- it interfers with my tim to leave- often makes me late- etc. Ive had to threaten him many times to get him places on time because he wont back off and get dressed himself. Like the person in teh letter, I too have found myself suffocated, and not respoding back to him many times. He is often frustrated by my lack of emotional response.

    This is an emotionally needy and dependant person. They need a lot of attention. He didn't used to be this bad before we got married. It escalted afterwards. Its only been 6 months and I havent been out of his site more than a few hours. I take solitude in my mothers house (my dad wont let him in for his own reasons) and in my class roons at school. but hes always there.

    I dont want to say it wont get better, but you will have to catch it before it gets worse. you said he tells you ten times a day that he loves you, how about mine- he tells me about every thirty minutes, and wants a hug and kiss....every time I go tto hte bathroom, everytime I get off the couch to get a drink... or etc.... so you are definatly not alone. Its also like the docotor said- a control issue. they just dont realize it. If i discover the answer- Ill post it!

    Good luck

  • Anonymous-2

    As I guy, I can tell you he is trying to expel his sexual urges in a creative manner. If I may ask you, are you pleasing him (In the bed)? I guarantee you that if you submit to any fantasy he may have (no matter how kinky) it will keep him satisfied for a while and you will have more peace throughout the day.

    And if that doesn’t work, you can always be overly affectionate back, give him a taste of his own medicine.

  • Dale

    We'll coming from a guy(me) who is over affectionate to his wife I can start to understand. I've been on both sides of the fence where at first my wife wanted all the attention and wanted to make loves at least twice a day. After about six months that all changed or sooner but now I'm the one who wants it and she doesn't, kind of ironic isn't it but I know there is something to learn from all of this and if we truly love our spouses we'll do what ever it takes to fix this and have patience in doing so. Remember love is unselfish and long suffering! Great relationship are created not born:)

  • Jessica

    My boyfriend and I have been together for about 2 years and are planning on getting married. I do love him very much but he tells me that I don't give him enough affection. He says he doesn't feel loved because of this. But I feel like I'm giving a lot, sometimes and it never seems to be enough.

    I have tried to be a more affectionate person but I always go back to not being as affectionate. I honestly don't know what to do anymore. I don't want to lose him over this.

  • beh

    ok , so i have the same exact problem! im dating this guy that i really like, i think he is very attractive and i really like the way he thinks about life and his morals and beliefs are exactly like mine, which matters alot to me! However, after 2 weeks he started getting more and more attached as days went by, up until today, he calls me alot, and if not texts me 24/7, all he wants to do is cuddle, and kiss me every 2 seconds, i feel like i am trapped and suffocated, its gotten to the point that when he gets near me to kiss me, i feel nauseous! that really bothers me, because he is a great guY! and i would hate to be NO CHOICE but to leave him because how i feel disgusted is now out of my control, and its funny to me because when i see the way he acts it reminds me ofmyseld with my ex (NOT TO HIS EXTREME) but i always seemed to be the needy one in my last relationship and always wanted to b with him and so now im starting to understand what i did wrong in my last relationship, howver i must include my ex still loves me to this day and im the one who left him even though i was in love with him andneeded him 24/7. SO now im just very concerened about my love life and i think what if their is something wrong with me? i know wiht this guys that i am just dating, im not ever reacting or being a bitch because even my friends have noticed that he is selfish and just always wants attention and how he is overly needy, but what really is bothering me is 1) how come i was a little like that with my ex,? 2) but then how was i capable of leaving him (my ex) so easy when i was needy of him and wanted to be with him all the time? 3) and what should i do about this guy? i really want to stay with him but with the ways hes acting i might really just feel so sick that i would throw up in his face one day :( ps. i have also tried telling him that i need my space twice so far and gets so upsett he starts breathing hard and getting super emotional. first he gets mad , than when i dont care he gets super emotional and needs to hold me, what is wrong?? what should i do leave him?


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