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It’s very frustrating and disheartening when affection and intimacy are lacking in a relationship. How do you talk to your partner about your desire for more romance and physical affection and intimacy without putting him or her on the defensive?
First, let’s look at how you do not want to approach your partner about your desire for more affection and intimacy in your relationship. Here are some approaches to avoid:
1. Avoid being accusatory.
2. Avoid complaining. Whining and complaining push the other person away.
3. Avoid being defeatist. Expecting the worst is weak and unattractive.
4. Avoid being self-deprecating. Insecurity and self-criticism are unappealing and a turn-off.
5. Avoid negative attacks. Attacking your partner will cause him or her to become hostile, not warm and loving.
6. Avoid the biological needs argument. If you want to increase the desire and sexual intimacy in your relationship, don’t treat your partner as an object to be used to satisfy your needs.
There are several components that are important to expressing your desire for more physical affection and intimacy.
1. Build the foundation. Don’t start at the finish line. Start at the beginning as though you are dating or courting. Build a foundation of respect, fun and romance.
2. Appreciate the positive. Appreciation and subtle flirtation throughout the day allow desire to develop.
3. Ask for feedback and listen. Find out what’s going on in your partner’s mind. Find out why he or she has lost desire for you and don’t become defensive or hostile.
4. Express your desires in a positive way. For example, “I’d like to be in a relationship that’s affectionate, romantic, fun, and where we can express our love physically.” “I’d like to be in a relationship where both partners enjoy sex.”
5. Ask for ideas and input. Find out what he or she would like to see in the relationship.
Remember that tone of voice and demeanor are more important than the words you use. Convey self-respect and self-empowerment as well as compassion and love for your partner.
If there has been a history of controlling behavior or contempt, then lack of desire will be more entrenched and counseling may be necessary.
by Dr. Alison Poulsen