Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

My Husband Is Too Affectionate

Question:

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?

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

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

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 Who Answers? 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand