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When Will He Warm Up?

Question:

I’m 46 years old, divorced for 6 years, with a 22 year-old daughter and an 18 year-old son. I have concentrated on raising my children since my husband left, but now that they’ve graduated, I’m interested in pursuing a relationship of my own. A friend of mine introduced me to a 49 year-old man, divorced for 8 years, with a 22 year-old daughter. He lives alone…comfortable home…works for himself as a painter/contractor. We go out to dinner every weekend and sometimes drive around…antique sales…shopping. He made love to me the first night we went out, which shocked me. He calls every day, and always makes me welcome any time I stop by to see him. Within a few weeks, I was spending nights with him. He is very kind, gentle, and caring, but not physically affectionate. He makes me feel like he wants me around all the time, and we have lots of fun together. He’s got a great sense of humor, and he’s very attractive. We have a lot in common, and I love being with him. We’ve only made love a few times in the past 3 months, although I spend most weekends with him. Most of the time, when we go to bed, he hugs me and says goodnight, then turns away. In the middle of the night, I can feel him snuggling up against me, so it’s not that I’m unattractive to him. He always seems happy for me to be around, and he’s very positive and upbeat (something I need more of). I’m not an aggressive female, always waiting for him to make the move; but I have tried to initiate sex, with little or no success. The few times we have been together were good, so there doesn’t seem to be a physical problem. Sometimes when we’re on the phone, he initiates a conversation about sex; but it’s general, not really personal. I haven’t seen him for a week and a half now because of his work and his daughter being home to spend some time with him (she’s a real sweetheart and we get along great). After telling him on the phone this morning that I missed him very much, he invited me to dinner…he cooked. He seemed very interested in me for a little while, but said he was so hungry we’d have to wait til after dinner. We ate, and he did a few things around the house. I asked if he was going to work until it was time to bring me home, and instead of taking the lead to make his move, he just brought me home. I don’t understand! I know he’s interested, but what is keeping him from getting physically close to me? I hate to sound like a teenager, but I really like this man; and I need to feel wanted in a sexual way, as well as being his friend. I feel like a companion, like a buddy you’d run around with, but not date. I’ve watched him with other people; he’s very friendly, but respectful, with women as well as men. The kind of guy you would want working in your home with your wife or girlfriend or mom. But shouldn’t he treat me in a special way? I don’t want to get more attached to him if he’s never going to be physically affectionate; I need that in a relationship. But I don’t want to give up if it’s something he will overcome as he learns to trust me. Part of me is glad he’s not so anxious to jump into bed; part of me wishes he would want that with just me. I don’t want to scare him off by blurting all this out; I wouldn’t want him if he didn’t want me, but I would like to give this relationship a chance if there is a possibility that he’ll warm up to me. What do I do?

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

There are a great number of reasons that this man is not showing affection toward you, but only he has the answer that you are looking for. Unfortunately, many men lose their sex drive around their 50s. A lot of men start to experience mid-life stressors – they may start to worry about finance/retirement; they may feel as though they’re stuck in their job or worry about losing their job to younger, more qualified candidates; they may begin to worry about their health; as you can see, they may worry about a number of things. You must also take into consideration that affection may not be in this man’s nature. Only time will tell if this is the case. I understand that you do not want to threaten this relationship, but is a relationship lacking in affection something that you can deal with? It is most often the case that new couples display more affection towards one another than couples that have been together for several years. I suggest that you give this relationship more time before you confront him about this situation. If after a couple months have passed and nothing has changed, I see nothing wrong with at least asking him if there is a reason for his lack of affection… Best of luck to you, – Anne

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