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dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
My boyfriend and I have been dating for 8 years. He is a wonderful provider and feels that I should know he loves me by the things he does for me. I explained to him that I don’t feel loved because he barely touches me and he never gives me compliments. He said he’s not going to change. If I didn’t think he could do it, it would be one thing, but he did it when we first met. He said he loves me and I love him and I want to make it work, but I’m sick of being the only one trying. I’ve been away for a week and a half now and I’m standing my ground. The only way I will give him another chance is if he agrees to go to counseling. Am I wrong in wanting this? Am I being selfish because he does provide me with a lot of things that I am very appreciative for but he resents me because I always want more (i.e. to feel loved through affection and attention). As a guy, what advice or message would you give him?

Kate

There’s a lot more to this question than you originally asked, Kate.

I’ll begin with validation: if it’s important for you to receive more love and affection, then, by all means, you should receive more love and affection.

The real question is whether it’s from this 8-year boyfriend.

Brace yourself for this, Kate, but I would advise him to dump you.

I don’t think it is.

Let’s back into that answer, by starting from the blind spot at the heart of your email:

“As a guy, what advice or message would you give him?”

Brace yourself for this, Kate, but I would advise him to dump you.
Not because you don’t deserve more love and affection. We already established that you do.

No, I think he should dump you because there are a LOT more problems in your relationship than you’re letting on and you should BOTH find partners who make you happier.

First of all, he’s not the one who is writing this email. Which is why you soliciting advice for him is as irrelevant as if he emailed me that he wants a blowjob every Friday and what advice did I have for you on how you can accomplish that.

Second of all, you’ve been dating for 8 years. What does it tell you if a man hasn’t proposed in 8 years? Tells me that he doesn’t want to marry you.

And if that’s in question, what does it tell you if your boyfriend never compliments you or touches you? Tells me that he doesn’t feel warm or affectionate towards you. The fact that he did when you first met 8 years ago is another irrelevant fact, unless you think that people’s feelings are not allowed to change over a decade. Fact is: most relationships change over 8 years: if you’re in a good one, it changes for the better. Yours changed for the worse.

You have to learn to speak his love language — and I’m pretty sure it’s not “threats.”

Finally, even though I could recommend you both read The Five Love Languages, start finding ways to please him and, in return, get more words of affirmation, your handling of this situation indicates that you might both need counseling and a change of scenery.

Your way of fixing this situation is telling him what a disappointment he is, writing to me, insisting he go to counseling, and taking an indefinite trial separation until he bends to your will.

I’m no psychologist, but I’m not positive that this is the healthiest way to get what you want. You’ve berated him, shamed him, and given him an ultimatum…and you think NOW is the time he’s going to start being more affectionate? You might as well force him to kiss you at gunpoint.

You have to learn to speak his love language — and I’m pretty sure it’s not “threats.”

In learning to be a better communicator with him, you then have the right to illustrate to him how he can better please you.

If, after all that, he refuses to change, your last resort is recognizing what the rest of us do — your eight-year saga is not one you want to continue to prop up. Let him go. Go to therapy. Become a better communicator. Choose a better man who speaks your love language without much prodding. And don’t waste a decade of your life waiting for a guy to act like he did during the first three months simply because he’s a good provider.