Why won’t he initiate anything????

Otherwise happily married for 23 years. Have talked at length and repeatedly about his lack of initiation. He doesn’t initiate sex, touch, conversation, time together, or anything else. If I don’t initiate it, it doesn’t happen. And it hurts. I need to feel wanted too. I have never rejected him. The only plans he makes are when his friends or family call. Then I’m invited to tag along. And that hurts too. I told him I’m exhausted. I’ve been dealing with some major physical and mental health challenges, but getting through them. I just don’t have the energy to be the only one making an effort to stay connected to my husband. So I outright asked him to do the initiating for the next few weeks. That was 2 months ago. He’s initiated sex once, and pretty much nothing else. Beyond frustrated and incredibly hurt. Any advice would be much appreciated. This comes up every couple of months. The same issue. Nothing changes. Every other area is pretty solid and I know I’m very lucky. I’m just really, really hurt that in 23 years, he’s planned ONE weekend for us. At his buddy’s urging, for our 20th anniversary. I don’t need hearts and flowers every day. I’m not a romantic. I’m not needy and don’t need a lot of romance. I just need to feel like he WANTS to make an effort to make me feel loved. Any ideas? Suggestions? Advice?

10 thoughts on “Why won’t he initiate anything????

  1. Dennis Hong says:

    [I feel for you. I really do, and I totally understand how hard it is when you’re the one who has to initiate any show of affection.

    At the same time, here’s my concern:

    It sounds like this is just the type of person he is. He’s just not particularly motivated or self-directed. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care or doesn’t love you. I think deep down, you know that. All this means is that he needs plenty of prodding to initiate the type of affection or affectionate gesture you crave.

    Let’s be honest here. The world is full of people like this. They’re just not emotive or effusive. And if this is a core part of their personality, they’re probably not going to be able to change that, whether they want to or not.

    In your case, if he hasn’t changed in 23 years, do you honestly think he’s going to change now? At this point, I’m not sure how you can reasonably demand that he change.

    For this reason, I think you just have to learn to accept that this is how he is. But, something else you *can* do is consider all the other ways he (hopefully) demonstrates that he cares. Just because he doesn’t show his love in the way that *you* would doesn’t meant that he doesn’t love you in his own way. The fact that you acknowledge that you’re lucky in every other aspect of the relationship — well, that tells me that maybe you’re the one who has to change on this issue. And the way to do that is to remember how lucky you are in every other respect, and that maybe in your otherwise-ideal marriage, you simply have to be the one to take the reins when it comes to planning any sort of romantic gestures.

  2. IncogNeato says:

    [Thank you for the input. We talked again. I’ve had my share of intimacy issues and have worked long hard to get where I am. I now NEED intimacy, and he just isn’t interested. I know he loves me, but knowing it without FEELING it just isn’t enough anymore. I’ve overcome unimaginable trauma of every kind that spanned my entire childhood and teenage years. Trust me. I’ve done the work. I know better than to try to demand anything from someone doesn’t give it willingly. I keep asking him to just be honest with me. If he is an emotionally unavailable person, and is happy that way, all I’m asking him to do is JUST TELL ME THAT AND LET ME GO. But he won’t. Instead, he swears he wants more too. He wants to be able to give me intimacy, and promises he will make an effort. But nothing actually changes. And he admits that openly. Says it outright. He’s lazy, complacent, and it’s hard for him to express emotion, so he just shuts down completely. The marriage is good because we’re best friends and have so many similar interests. As far as a partnership goes, this is one of the best. But I have plenty of friends. After 24 years, I’d like to have a husband that treats me like his wife, not like his buddy that he can sleep with. That’s not intimacy, that’s convenience. I told him that’s how it feels, and he couldn’t disagree. I’m done waiting for him to decide if he wants me or not. I’m going to live on my own and continue my growth towards peace and happiness. I’d much rather walk that path with him, but that’s not up to me. So, I’m doing what I need for myself. He needs to do the same. Whatever happens will be for the best, and we’ll both be happier, whether it’s together or apart. Thanks again for the reply. Hoping for the best, but prepared for reality.

    • Dennis Hong says:

      [Fair enough. It sounds like you know what you need to do, so I do wish you the best of luck.

  3. Shepkatt says:

    [I have been married for 25 years.. My husband is not romantic.. doesn’t plan spur of the moment get- aways, etc. He has been this same way from the moment I met him. I have accepted him all of these years as just being him. You won’t be able to change him.. and honestly – he doesn’t have to change. He is good enough, just how he is.. as are you.

    I don’t know about your husband, but mine shows me he loves me in a myriad of ways.. those ways might not be what I would wish for if I was making the ‘perfect man’.. but nonetheless it is how he shows his love. Every man/woman/relationship has it’s issues. You just have to decide if the issue at hand is one you can live with.. or not.

    You are the one with the dissatisfaction, here.. so it might be best for you to pursue other frontiers. It’s a shame, though.. sounds like you love him.. You’re just frustrated that you can’t change him..

    • IncogNeato says:

      [I don’t want to change him. That’s not possible, and incredibly unfair to expect. I realize that. That’s not the situation. He agrees. He’s been withholding, and he freely admits that. We both know it true, because he’s given me intimacy. In very small doses. And a very large dose for a couple of months last Fall. We both know he’s capable, and he wants more too. Or, so he keeps telling me. I moved out last week. I’m not leaving the marriage, just focusing on myself and giving him space to figure things out without any pressure. We talk every day. He agrees: After sharing true intimacy, he can’t go back to just the surface stuff either. He just isn’t sure how to get over his intimacy issues. Today, he let me know he’s going to be seeing a counsellor. So I’m more hopeful than I was. He’s working on himself, because that’s what he needs to be happy, with or without me. I respect that immensely. I’ve done a lot of work on myself, and I just want us both to be happy. I’ll give him all the time he asks for. Whatever happens, it will be for the best. Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂

  4. Drew says:

    [Been married 17 years and my spouse is not particularly open to my advances and not a generally affectionate person. It has caused Much stress in our marriage. In the end, I know she loves me and I simply have learned to appreciate the times she is affectionate/amorous. I wish I had advice, but at this point you need to ask yourself if you are happy enough to stay because it’s not likely to change.

    • IncogNeato says:

      [I’m sorry to hear you’ve struggled with this as well. I’m glad you’ve found peace. I’m finding mine. I moved out last week to give myself a break from the pain, and him the space to think without any pressure. I just want us both to be happy, individually, and together. But most important is the individual happiness. I realize that. We talk every day, and are being more and more open and honest with each other. He’s made an appointment with a counsellor (his idea) to help sort himself out. I know he loves me. Love is not a problem. Expressing love is. We both have past trauma, and he’s just now facing his. He has been wonderfully supportive of me while I’ve found my way down the path of healing. I will happily do the same for him. As of today, that’s what he’s asked of me, so of course I’m on board and in his corner. I hope we both find our peace, and that we are able to come back together and fully commit to loving each other whole-heartedly. No withholding. Hoping for the best, prepared for just being friends, should it come to that. Whatever happens will be the best, for both of us. And that’s all I really want. Thanks for the reply. 🙂

    • IncogNeato says:

      [OOPS! Hit the wrong button. Meant to hit “helpful” and “agree”. Anyway I can change that???

      And thank you. It hasn’t been easy. Doing the right thing rarely is. Adulting is hard, lol. I’m so much more hopeful for him, and for us though. Hope all is well with you! 🙂

    • Dennis Hong says:

      [Sorry, votes are not reversible. It’s fine, though. It happens.

      I’m glad to hear you’re doing what you have to do, though. 🙂

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