I think my husband loves me but isn't in love with me. He's not affectionate, he never wants to talk, and he seems irritated with me. How do I get through to him?
This is an example of the classic difference between many men and women (not all, but many). You think he's zoned out of the relationship, and he thinks he's breaking his back to be a good husband. If he's like many guys, he thinks his hard work and yard work are showing you his love. You're looking for long talks and tight hugs -- not that you don't appreciate his other efforts. And that's exactly what you have to do: Appreciate and acknowledge the many ways he thinks he shows his love. When he's sure that you get it (even if you're not too sure you do), he'll be more open to the small gestures you need. As for his apparent irritation with you, that's another way guys can be different. It's probably not you that gets his goat; you just happen to be the target (an unfortunate displacement of anger that women can be guilty of too). Let him know you sense he might be irritated (don't unequivocally state that you know he's cranky), and that if he wants to talk, you're there. And if he wants space to unwind, all he has to do is ask for it. Perhaps when he sees you're appreciating him for him -- not for his hugs -- he'll feel more at ease in general.
[Nestpert] Nili Sachs, PhD, a marriage and relationships coach in Minneapolis
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