What To Do With a Good Man Who Is Not Romantic

What To Do With a Good Man Who Is Not Romantic

It’s incredible how much of our behavior is determined by how we are raised.

I grew up in a family where my Mom made  big deal about every holiday.

It wasn’t enough to say “I love you.” It wasn’t enough to give a card. It wasn’t enough to buy a thoughtful gift. You had to do ALL of them for EVERY holiday – birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, you name it.

As a result, I was brought up with the de facto mindset that this is how you treat women on special occasions. I never questioned it. As a result, I’ve been fortunate that, for whatever my considerable flaws (know-it-all, tactless, oversharer, impatient), being a thoughtful and generous husband is not one of them.

It doesn’t mean they’re bad. It doesn’t mean they’re cheap. It doesn’t mean they’re selfish. It just means that the grand romantic gesture is not a part of their vocabulary.

But lots of men didn’t get that memo. It doesn’t mean they’re bad. It doesn’t mean they’re cheap. It doesn’t mean they’re selfish. It just means that the grand romantic gesture is not a part of their vocabulary. They don’t want people making a big fuss about their birthdays and they don’t want to make a big fuss about yours.

It would be nice to say that he “should” go the extra mile “if he really loved you,” but as we all know, it’s not that simple to rewire your personality. Victoria Fedden, to her credit, realized this, in her piece for YourTango/The Good Men Project.

“At one point, my resentment grew so great that I began to dread birthdays, holidays and anniversaries because I knew I was going to be let down. One year, after yet another birthday disappointment, I finally realized that something had to change – and that something was me…

I mistakenly viewed television-style romance as concrete proof of true love. I believed that all men could be moved to extreme romantic measures if they really loved their lady. I didn’t measure up to some mysterious standard, I thought, and so I was never “good enough” for a proposal on the banks of the Seine.  I came to believe that I must be unlovable. This belief became so ingrained that I began to view the world through a lens of unworthiness where every event, every little instance, became the proof I was looking for that I lacked the spark that would make a man shower me with treats and surprises. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

I think this is really powerful. All you have to do is look in the comments section below and see how many women and men blame the opposite sex for everything.

Looking internally about what you can do differently is SO much more effective than complaining that the world is not the way you want it to be.

Women are hypergamous and are always trying to date “up”!

Men are so interested in sex!

Women want men for their money!

Men are selfish for dating you if they don’t want to marry you!

These all have a basis in truth, but they’re not the whole truth – not by a long shot. Furthermore, complaining about it doesn’t change a thing. Are men going to complain their  way into telling women that they should not care about money? Are women going to shame men into only having sex if, and only if, marriage is in the future? No and no.

This is why looking internally about what you can do differently is SO much more effective than complaining that the world is not the way you want it to be.

Writes Fedden, “I stopped looking for evidence that I was unlovable and started to focus on all the little, lovely things my husband does every single day to express his love for me  –  making me breakfast on the weekends, running a hot bath for me each night, working hard for our family, making  future plans for us,  texting me from work to see how I am, encouraging me and supporting me while I pursue my dreams, and never complaining when I want a girls’ night. The list is endless because my husband constantly expresses his love, even if it’s highly unlikely that he will ever compose sexy riddles or shock me with a whirlwind trip to South Africa for a glam safari.”

That’s right. And while I might be prone to over-the-top birthday fiestas for my wife, that’s not really the best  measure of our love. Our marriage works because I make her feel safe, heard, and understood every day,  and if you have a guy like that, do your best to appreciate what he does for you, instead of focusing on what he doesn’t.

Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.

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  1. 1

    Another important note for both men and women is, if you have one of those people in your life who are very romantic and like to surprise you with sweet things no matter the occasion, it is vital that you actually appreciate these gestures.

    I dated a women in the past who talked about liking romance and loving it when a guy did sweet things for her. For her birthday I couldn’t be in town, so I had flowers and a book she had been looking for delivered to her. I never even got a thank you or heard one word about it since, and that was several months ago.

    I don’t want to make her feel guilty for it, but I put effort into that gesture and an acknowledgement would have been nice. Mind you, she’s acknowledged a Christmas gift I gave her when I was actually around, so it’s possible she simply forgot to bring her birthday gift up in conversation  with me.

    Nonetheless, please make sure that you try your best to appreciate these gestures.

    I’ve heard some people go on and on about how they want someone to be more giving, but when they finally are given more, they don’t care for it.

    Constantly taking sweet gestures  for granted, intentionally or unintentionally, can leave your partner feeling unappreciated.

    However, I guess some people are too giving and that can get tiresome. It seems it works for both humans and other animals, that they most appreciate the person who gives intermittently. Not too much, not too little.

    1. 1.1

      Sorry, my English needs some work still, I meant to say “I have been dating a woman,” not “I dated a women in the past.”

      1. 1.1.1

        I’m the one that gives and does special things, I like to, I want to make my boyfriend know I just wish that he was around more and that being with him spending time together means the world to me! I don’t want anything just a little surprise date! A compliment! I send him a pretty picture of me on messenger and he says nothing about it! I get one from him and no matter what I always respond positively to it! I’m just a caring, honest person!! I guess it’s hard when I was married two times before 32 yrs. total and they were narcissistic, but I’ve always been a lady that loved honestly! I have 3 children in there teens and there very much like me, but don’t like that I’m sad a lot cause, they know well they say I’m so pretty and such a great mom if my boyfriend can’t see it someday someone will come along and be my prince!! I don’t want a prince!! I just want to be wanted to spend time with ya know!!

        1. Louise

          Dear Lisa,
          I can very much relate to what you’re saying, but what strikes me is, like me, that you need to love YOURSELF first, and not always look for valisation from a man. I had abusive parents in my teens and I think I’m always craving affirmation from others to show I have any worth. I’m now struggling with a relationship with a good, kind, but unromantic man. I know I need to focus on my relationship with God, my other friends and interests, and just practise loving myself so that I can rebalance. While I think my man and I need a good conversation, I do acknowledge that he’ll never give me everything I want. It’s difficult.
          I think, in short, the answer for now is: build up your own life and find joy in being by yourself and caring for yourself as much as possible, cherish your friends, and accept men are only human. Once you meet a special person you can tell them honestly what you want, but it may be hard work for them to do it. Hopefully if you love yourself more you’ll attract someone who is willing to put the work in! Bless you, I’m sure you’re a lovely person, and I wish you better luck. After these narcissists I’d definitely look for a kind man who obviously helps others 🙂

    2. 1.2

      This is when you ask: did you like your birthday gifts? She better gush after that! Not cool to forget to say t.y. for such greatness. Being under appreciated kills love.

    3. 1.3

      You might want to check that she actually got the delivery! Mess ups happen all the time, and this could be just one big misunderstanding.

      1. 1.3.1

        It’s possible I suppose, but it seems unlikely since the companies notified me that the deliveries had been completed.

    4. 1.4

      Ask her did she get it .. This could be a misunderstanding

    5. 1.5

      The first thing I wondered about after reading your post was how often are you sending gifts in place of being there for her?

  2. 2

    Absolutely true. Something came to mind immediately: five languages of love. That was quite an enlightening read. I think it would be a wonderful idea and a tremendously life-changing skill to learn how to “speak” all of them to avoid underappreciating a good partner, friend or family member.

  3. 3

    Very often, ‘romance’ and romantic gestures are viewed quite differently between the genders. Like most men, I struggle with coming up with romantic gestures that a woman would truly appreciate. I do manage to accomplish it most times, but can be a real source of stress. It really shouldn’t be. I think that the media has done a lot of disservice by showing wildly extravagant romantic gestures (see Bachelor/Bachelorette) costing tens of thousands of dollars and I suspect that shows like this have skewed some women’s expectations. My GF does a pretty good job of  being romantic but here’s the key: she expresses it with little things on a regular basis (makes morning coffee for me, texts me loving IM’s during the day, etc). Heck, she even says *gasp* she APPRECIATES me. I don’t miss the significance of this. I’ve always had a tendency to focus on regular small gestures but most all other women I’ve been involved with didn’t value these things. They always focused on B-days’, V-day and X-mas and put so much weight on these days. And instead of appreciating the near-daily small things I did, they really only noticed when I DIDN’T do something one day. It left the impression of ‘entitlement’ and ‘expectation’ instead of any real appreciation for me or my efforts. Go figure. But no loss really. I finally found a nice lady who immigrated here from Europe and she doesn’t have those bad habits I see so often with women who were born/raised here. The American girls could certainly take a cue from these gals.

    1. 3.1
      Merrill Phillips

      You wonder about romantic gestures that women appreciate?   I’ll tell you — it does not have to be complicated guys. It’s not rocket science here. First one – Step out and watch a sunset together, then grab her hand and embrace and then kiss her.   Second one — as she walks by you at home or in your or her apartment, grab her hand and ask her what she’s up to or going to, then after a few minutes, smile and release her hsnd.   Third one — If she is doing dishes or standing in the kitchen waiting for a meal to get done, come up behind her, put your hands on her shoulder to start with and run them slowly down her arm (hopefully, its sleeveless). Then, kiss her on the cheek or behind the neck and give s little sueeze.   Oh, so romantic.   Fourth one — if you are both talking face to face, slowly bring your hand over her forehead and brush the hair back. Yes, whether it needs it or not.   Fifth one –   grab her gently out of nowhere and give her the most passionate, slow, meaningful kiss you can muster.   In a restaurant, if her hands are on the table, reach across the table near the wall side and hold her hand for a few minutes while you are talking.   Is it snowing — beautifully?   Step outside with your lady love and after a minute or two, put your arms around her and kiss her.   Got the message, guys?   It’s not difficult.   If my husband did any of these, I would hop right into bed with him and give him the best time of his life.   Any of these would light a fire in my furnace.


      1. 3.1.1

        I really need this in my relationship

        1. Lynn Loveless

          I know me too-this relationship is dead. I’ve tried telling him that we need to do more things together. For years I was the one coming up with things to do together and it got old. He would suggest a concert once or twice a year. So I gave up and told him that he has to pick where to go and what to do. This didn’t work out at all-we did nothing. Guys you have the internet at your disposal these days. You can’t even look something up and do that? I can’t understand-he wants to sit home all the time and look at his phone. No more fun sex in different places, no different outings. He is nice and does nice things for me day to day but every relationship need spontaneity and surprises and something romantic so you feel special to him. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again it’s nice but honestly ask any expert-relationships need shared experiences and spontaneity or they crumble. He just doesn’t even try-heartbreaking-if he did different things in the beginning why won’t he do stuff like that now. We moved in together and he stopped putting in any effort. Even turning on our song and dancing together would be of great help. It has to come from his heart though-not me telling him. Where does that spark go? I don’t understand-happened to me in my marriage to-

      2. 3.1.2

        These are amazing tips!! I think t hete needs to be a Dr show that focuses on this! What women and men need. Great pointers!

      3. 3.1.3

        You couldn’t be more right! I dont want gifts or grand gestures. Just simple romance.

      4. 3.1.4

        100 million times YES…….That IS all it takes guys !!!

      5. 3.1.5

        So true, but the man has to truly value his woman to make the effort.

        1. sunshine

          I have made the mistake of assuming he didn’t value me or “love me” because he didn’t do these things but after years of learning I have found that this isn’t always the case. Sometimes they just have NO CLUE and no one has ever taught them or shown them..this sucks but it gives you opportunity to help him and explore new romance together 🙂 YOU ARE VALUED with or without that joker hahaha my thoughts..

      6. 3.1.6

        I really need this in my marriage. Such a boring life I’m living


      7. 3.1.7

        I totally agree with you. I love the attention, not gifts. The attention only costs your time, not money.

      8. 3.1.8

        I totally agree. You couldn’t have said it better! It is so easy yet they don’t get it. Most men think it is all about gifts and remenbering dates…

      9. 3.1.9

        I don’t disagree with you but your suggestions are resoundingly physical and verbal. There are a few other love languages, too. I think the point of the article is that OP’s husband does not always speak the same ones as her so to instead focus on the ones he is speaking. You know?

      10. 3.1.10
        Rihanat Ades Osimade

        This is so me, I swear. I want an expression of love. I want my man to give me compliments about my look. Tell me how I make him feel. Hold me close and real tight.

      11. 3.1.11


  4. 4

    It’s hard to escape and keep it real with social media  and television providing unrealistic expectations on how to recognize holidays and sentiments towards are loved ones.   My family over the past few years has adopted a new mind set in regards to this.   It’s all about the “time” we spend with one another, no matter what we’re doing, or whether it’s a holiday or not.   Nothing else matters than being together.   No expectations.   We know it’s real.

  5. 5

    A small bouquet of flowers (they can be purchased at the grocery checkout) should be adequate for most occasions. Extravagance is oversold and takes away from the sentiment….I thought of you and I know you like flowers…. simple and romantic. I used to make cookies for my boyfriends, but being older, they are usually pre-diabetic NOW, so they can’t eat them. HA!

  6. 6

    I have never cared one way or the other about “romantic” except physical affection.   A hug after a hard day trumps roses for me.   And it is free!

  7. 7

    make that *romantic gestures*

  8. 8

    This is a nice article to read. But i think it’s how your mother, Evan, acted, that should be the example. I guess she had all this enthusiasm even though your Dad wasn’t participating a lot? At least you dont mention him…. So when your man dont do anything romantic, do it yourself? Should he learn this way?

  9. 9

    I did have a boyfriend who was not so romantic.

    So did my own thing – bought flowers for the house and candles and some great music.

    He ended up really loving those gestures.

    We did not stay together – but at least, the next woman might enjoy it! (Like he does)

  10. 10

    I, too, read this thinking of The Five Love Languages.   Perhaps, just as valuable as learning to appreciate the way your SO shows love, is being willing to vocalize what works for you.   My primary love language is quality time, and although I could intellectually understand that a man was trying to show he loved me by giving gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, and physical affection, if I couldn’t get him to spend time on me giving me his undivided attention, it would eventually wear me down and I’d look elsewhere.   Fortunately for me, my top love languages are quality time and physical affection, and I’m in a very easy relationship with a man whose top love languages are physical affection and quality time.   Lucky me.

  11. 11

    What’s Romantic?   It’s different for everyone, and  That Love Languages book should be required reading.

    My ex-husband’s language is  Gifts.   He is great at giving lavish gifts, but ironically, if the gift he receives isn’t to his standards (and he’s very picky),  he  is the WORST present-receiver ever.   My oldest daughter is 20 now, and also frustrated that  he wants gifts, and yet never likes anything she gets him (because she’s only 20 – she can’t afford anything good enough for him).

    Similar to Evans mom, my sister goes completely overboard for her husband and kids for every single occasion.   I don’t even know what Language that is.   It makes me exhausted just hearing about it.   And I wonder, how will any of them be able to appreciate small sweet gestures.

    What’s important to me is just a little fuss.   A little one-on-one time.   A time out from life’s regular schedule to say “let’s mark this day; I’m glad we’re here together for it”.   Which Love Language is that, I wonder.   Quality words? Quality time?

    I guess my point is notice how your loved one express their love and show appreciation!!!

  12. 12

    This subject has been a tough one for me, as I too was brought up in such a way that the every day gestures are what really matters, but that you ALSO acknowledge important days, such as birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas. I am in a relationship with a man who is about as romantic as an anvil, but is very loving and attentive in a million small ways – impromptu foot massages, bringing me coffee in bed, and the like. I have NEVER received a surprise gift from him, with the one exception of early in our relationship he got me a small compost bin for the kitchen…lol. Never a $5 bunch of flowers from the store or anything like that. On my 50th birthday, which was really important to me, he took the day off work to go to the beach with me, but no gift, no card, no dinner… nothing. He knew how important that day was to me.  Frankly, it really hurt, and I told him so.  He said, “Wasn’t spending the day with you enough?” He was brought up in a family that didn’t really acknowledge birthdays or any other “special” days. I personally think it is important that if your partner fully knows that a day like a birthday is important to you, they should at least acknowledge that with an extra-special gesture. It doesn’t take much time or money, but it means the world that they respect your view enough to acknowledge it with a little something extra that really conveys that the way you feel about a life event or special day is important to YOU.  

    1. 12.1
      Karmic Equation

      I’m sorry Malia. Your post is quite one-sided.

      You were hurt so your bf was wrong.

      But he gave you what HE was used to giving. Why can’t YOU appreciate that?

      Why does he have to change to give you what you want instead of you changing to accept that what you want is not important to him?

      There’s two ways to resolve a problem. It’s not always on the guy to change. Sometimes the woman should.

      If this is that big of an issue for you, break up with him and let him find someone who WILL appreciate what he DOES do instead being with someone who only sees what  he DOESN’T do.

      If you’ve got 80% of what makes you happy. Let go of the need to get the other 20%. Be happy with the 80%. Forget or overlook the 20% instead of focusing it.

      1. 12.1.1

        I thought the same thing, he took the day off to be with her and went to the beach, but she expected so much more of a materialistic gift. I’ve been with my husband for 25 years and he’s not romantic but that’s just him and something I’ve accepted through the years.


        1. Nina

          The poster wasn’t asking for a materialistic gift. She just wanted him to do something that said ‘hey, I thought about you for your special day’. Taking a day off isn’t a gesture. Who wouldn’t take off for a chance to chill at the beach? I think he would have done that even of is wasn’t her birthday. A card is $0.50. Hell a hand written note is free. It’s the gesture that counts.

      2. 12.1.2

        Listen Up! If you really want a wonderful relationship, then it is very simple

        Do it Gods Way! First be grounded in truth!

        Second, change yourself to be the best you can be in all areas of where you are at the moment. Be good with yourself, happy with who you are and grounded!

        Then, you begin to love that person with everything you have, according to Their Needs, without any fear and without any expectations!

        Loving someone with Godly love is loving with their best interest in mind and yours lastly.

        If you do this, with love and joy in your heart, towards a person with any kind of depth and kindness, then you will find that there will evolve proper moments of expressing your needs when that person is open to really hearing it and wanting to reciprocate!

        The absolute best relationships are Two   Committed Servants, that are constantly trying to out serve each other!

        I promise you, Gods Way Never Fails! Can you change yourself with the help of the Holy Spirit to have a Self-Less Heart?

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          If you knew how many single people were praying to God for a man and leading desperately ineffective love lives, maybe you’d have a different response.

      3. 12.1.3
        Equal and Fair

        I find fault with this response because I also perceive one-sidedness when men speak of not getting enough sex. However, there is more understanding for men who feel as if they are due physical intimacy. Their expectations of women being “at the ready” to deliver sex are equally portrayed in the media and are not viewed as unrealistic. However, women who expect emotional fulfillment from their relationships must suffer from unrealistic expectations and are asked to be satisfied with what they receive. Dare I say, “Men should also reflect on whether they suffer from the same unrealistic expectations for the frequency and type of sex and should be satisfied with what they receive.”

        @Malia – stand your ground or you will surrender your happinness. Love is based on the reciprocity of satisfaction.

        1. Rose


    2. 12.2
      Kirsty Barclay

      Unlike the other responses I get where you’re coming from. I don’t think you are being shallow to expect more of a gift on your 50th birthday than his company. You have a right to feel hurt. Hurt that he didn’t put in the effort that most normal people would. It was thoughtless of him. Relationships are give and take. If all it takes is $5 petrol station flowers, or some wild ones picked from the side of the road, it is a simple thing to do to keep your partner happy – whether that is you “personality” or not doesn’t make a difference. Personally I wouldn’t waste another of your birthdays on him. Go on a hot date with a girlfriend instead. That way you get a fancy dinner, spoilt and she will probably smell nice and have awesome conversation too.


    3. 12.3

      You have just described my husband to a T! I feel your frustration! I really do appreciate the small daily gestures of love….but I have told my husband that my love language is gifts and I’d love to receive impromptu flowers (multiple times) and he NEVER gives me any gifts, it baffles me!   When my husband tells me things he appreciates and loves, I jump to do those things/provide them for him. It makes me want to stop doing those romantic gestures for him, because it hurts when I bake him a cake on every birthday but I’m always stuck purchasing my own birthday cake. I don’t need some TV grand gesture of romance; just an average bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day without having to ask for them. It’s the thought behind the gesture that speaks “I was thinking of you & wanted you to feel loved, because I know this is how you receive love because you told me that”

  13. 13

    You think “he took the day off work to go to the beach with me” is “nothing” because he didn’t buy you a “gift, card, or dinner”?      You don’t think “impromptu foot massages” and “coffee in bed” are romantic??   Wow.       It seems like you are saying his gestures only count if he surprises you with money spent.    He sounds romantic to me, but with your reaction to his loving gestures, it probably won’t be long until he’s not too interested in taking time off work to be with you, rubbing your feet, bringing you coffee, or those other million loving things you say he does for you.

    1. 13.1

      That was my first thought too-how are foot massages et al not romantic?


      My boyfriend was unromantic. No impromptu anything. It wasn’t about money, it was about the fact that he never used endearments like baby or honey or ever said he appreciates me. He never even said he loved me, unless I said it first. He thought it was ridiculous. I was willing to compromise but not to this degree. I think it is fair to have certain expectations of tenderness and affection.

  14. 14

    I don’t care for the “romance” stuff but I would describe myself as thoughtful and I think my friends would say I am a good gift giver.    I will remember your birthday and your Mom’s birthday and I will buy you a gift that you will love without you ever telling me you want it, but that’s not unique to my dating life that’s how I am.    I am not one for the sappy over the top romance and the times I have been with men that acted like that I found it to be a bit much.   I think men need to be thoughtful and people in relationships in general.   Thoughtful entails within it if your girlfriend is telling you you are not being romantic enough then step it up.   But ladies you may need to tell this man specifically want to do and you may also need to have realistic expectations that do not come from all those Hallmark movies you were watching over the holidays.   That’s not real life and those men don’t exist.   I had a thoughtful ex once who did things like scheduled a massage for me on the anniversary of my Dad’s death which he knew was a tough day for me, or bought me my favorite candy to work when I was feeling sick.   Are these grand romantic gestures no.   But to me this is romance!

  15. 15

    Romance?   Hugs and kisses and take a nice walk with a no drama conversation. Thanks.   Although I will personally admit that a bunch of wildflowers on my birthday would make an exceptional “awww, you remembered!” moment.

  16. 16

    Positive reinforcement. Just accept and appreciate the person for who they are and the good they do for you. Plain and simple

  17. 17

    I was with a guy for three years who was not romantic at all. I admit I am a sucker for Valentines Day and feel a bit sad and lonely when other friends would brag about the nice bracelet, or dinner, or dress or something they received. Valentines Day was important to me and still is. I accepted he didn’t care about valentines day and we did nothing. Every valentines day for three years we did nothing except treat it like a normal day. There’s no need to get into specifics of the relationship but he generally wasn’t romantic point blank period even throughout the whole three years. No foot rubs, no back rubs, no dinners. I always cooked. But I had an std and he was willing to date me even after I told him.  So I decided I should just be lucky enough that anyone would even want me right? So I stayed with him and I stayed unhappy, and although I was in a relationship. I was lonely and longed for romance. But I reminded myself that I should be lucky I even have a partner. After three years I broke up with him. He was hurt but it needed to be done. I know now that I really don’t care if I have an std. I would rather be lonely then unhappy. I like nice dinners whether home cooked or at a restaurant. I like to get dress up and look pretty for Valentines Day or birthdays, wear sweet smelling perfume, and have a great night. Doesn’t even matter if it’s a night home. But after forcing myself to believe that I didn’t deserve any of those things because I should just be happy that someone is even willing to date me I gave up my happiness and a part of me. I feel for those out there that Valentines Day isn’t about you. It’s supposed to be about love and happiness. So find love and happiness within yourself. IF gifts, and flowers are that important to you. Simply tell him. If not buy them for yourself. Don’t make yourself unhappy.

    1. 17.1

      Great comment.   If you aren’t happy, it’s better to be by yourself.   Everyone deserves to be happy.

    2. 17.2
      Drew Curic

      I love your summary and am in the EXACT situation. It’s either make the guy happy and listen to all his self-centered explanations why he won’t show and/or give compassionate or romantic gestures towards me — OR — to break up and find a really good man who thinks about his partner too. Seems easy, right?

      It’s always us sane, normal and empathetic people who keep getting strung along JUST WAITING FOR THAT ONE MOMENT! where we see the jerk change and suddenly appreciate us. Will they? No. But we wait and hope over and over because they keep us just close enough to their toxic orbit. We need to break free.

    3. 17.3

      Hi, Brittany.

      I recently broke up with a non-romantic guy after suffering for two years. Like you, I now choose to be alone than be in an unhappy and cold relationship. I also now find love and happiness within myself. It is empowering and liberating!

  18. 18

    I’m sorry Malia.   This makes me sad for you.   I don’t think you expect too much as some commenters suggest. You sound quite even-handed in your explanation of what is important to you. It’s nice that he took time for your birthday, but I still think it is thoughtless of him not to get you at least a card for your big day. It might not be important to him, but it is to you, and that should matter to him too. Such a small gesture could make you so happy, but he didn’t do it anyway, and that’s a shame.


    1. 18.1

      Very respectfully and well said! I agree.

  19. 19

    Some women complain because a man doesn’t do the little things: foot rubs, cooking meals or helping around the house. Some women complain because he doesn’t do big things like flowers or gifts. Some women complain because their man doesn’t appreciate anything special they might do for him.

    I’m here because my husband does NONE of those. It’s like living in a romance vacuum. He works. He sits on the internet or watches TV. And he makes plans to get out of the house as often as possible. But he still expects sex. Someone above said “being under appreciated kills love.” That was an “aha” moment for me, for sure.

    1. 19.1

      Hi TES. The way you and your husband are sounds a lot like my parents. I see my mom doing all the cleaning, cooking, and preparing my dad meals even when he comes home late at night. Just like your husband, my dad doesn’t do foot rubs, cooking and cleaning. He doesn’t do those big things either like giving flowers or gifts (at least not anymore) to my mom. My dad also always spends a lot of time away from the house. (We are Muslims so my dad would choose to pray at the mosque 5 times in a day for at least an hour each time, eventhough he can do it at home). Whenever he IS at home, he also busies himself on the internet or watching tv, never spending time with my mom. As you may be able to relate, my mother is unhappy. Most of the time, I feel that she is lonely and depressed. The only times when i see my mom happy is when her children are at home, or when I take them out for grocery shopping and a nice lunch/dinner. The way my father is makes my mom bitter towards him. As much as she tries to hide it in front of her children, as a 23-year old who is in a long-term loving relationship, I can see how full of resentment my mom is towards my dad. I also see how dysfunctional  their relationship is now that I am older.

      Although it is easy to say that my dad is in the wrong here, there are also a lot of things that my mom does which i believe lead to my dad’s behaviours. For example, my mom tends to ‘question’ or comment on the things my dad does in even the simplest, smallest things. Such as the way he drives, where he parks, the clothes/trousers he wear, how he eats, even the way he walks! (She would say that my dad walks too slow). My mom also has a tendency to walk faster and as a result leaves my dad behind when in a supermarket. My dad is 66 btw, thus he walks slowly. My dad always has to catch-up and when he tells her to slow down a little, my mom would reply that he’s the one who’s walking to slow. Now, this is just one of the MANY examples of how my mom might feel is nothing wrong but which makes my dad feel so much disrespected by his own wife. Imagine how much better my dad would feel if my mom instead of telling my dad how slow he is, to just listen to him, slow down at his pace, and enjoy grocery shopping together? And maybe whenever my dad drives, to just relax and not tell my dad how to drive ‘better’. My point is that sometimes, there are things that we do which may be innocent to us, but cause a lot of hurt and eventually resentment on others. My dad being my dad, he doesn’t talk about how hurt he is, but instead does things like preferring to be on his internet than spending time with his wife.

      Also, another point that I would like to make which the other responses above have mentioned, is that when your good-intentions are left unappreciated, more likely than not, you will not see it being given/done to you anymore. My dad has actually tried to help with the household chore. He helped washed his own dishes. However, as he’s not so used to it, his washing was not v.clean (at least not to my mom’s standard). My mother responsed with a sigh, and comment on how unclean it is. This may just be enough to make my dad feel discouraged to help with the dishes and feel not good enough.

      The way i see this is that it is a vicious cycle. Mom complains for dad not helping, dad helps, mom complains about how he does things, dad feels disrespected and feels discouraged to help again, mom becomes bitter because dad only helps 1 time and not more, dad retreats and withdraws from mom’s unhapiness, mom becomes even more resentful.

      My advice to you is that instead of being bitter and resentful about your husband, be the first to break the cycle. Hug and kiss him, and tell him how much you appreciate and love him. Appreciate that he works and brings money to you, thank him for that. The most important thing is to give a lot of genuine compassion, because it might just be that that he feels lacking from you.


  20. 20

    This is a really good topic to discuss. Not only was I made more self aware, but it was told in a way that was relatable. My concern is this: people receive and give love differently. I’m sure some will roll their eyes when I mention Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages book, but it has opened my eyes and it surely will open yours too.

    I think instead of focusing so much on the “extravagance” of holidays or important times in your life, you should try to understand how your partner receives and shows love most consistently. This can happen through observation and through a conversation. This book helped me understand my friendships, familial dynamics and even romantic relationships. I’m a giver of gifts and affirmation through written cards and things and I didn’t understand for the longest why people weren’t as “thoughtful.” Quality time is how I best receive love. If you look hard enough you can see someone’s   love through quality time, service, affirmation, gifts and/or physical touch. I hope this helped.

    Lastly, whenever I read something from Evan’s blog or advice in general, I must take off my blinders. If I get upset or defensive, it often means I need to adhere to the advice.



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