What to Do When Your Husband Is Not Affectionate or Romantic
Feeling like your husband is not affectionate or romantic can put you on the fast track to marital problems. We get it all the time, “Help! my husband is not affectionate or romantic!” Don’t worry, you are not alone. It’s one of the most common topics that come up from our readers and we’ve got a few tips to help you navigate those unromantic, sometimes frustrating, waters. These tips will help you create realistic romance expectations if you are feeling your husband is not romantic. Having appropriate expectations for your relationship when you feel your husband is distant and not affectionate can help strengthen your marriage. Set your spouse up for success and create a lasting relationship using these tips and tricks to get the romance back in your life!
Feeling No Romance
One of the most challenging aspects of having a spouse who is less than romantic is that every single “traditionally romantic” event in a relationship is a rather large hurdle. We develop these expectations and when they’re not met, we’re left in that awkward position of gracefully being appreciative and yet at the same time acknowledging that what just happened was not what you wanted. Eventually, we conclude my husband is not affectionate or romantic, and we go on feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.
When I first moved to the United States as a little girl, my very first American Disney movie was The Little Mermaid. After seeing Prince Eric, I was done. Hook. Line. Sinker. I fell in love with the concept of Prince Charming, romance, and being swept off of my feet. Even as a grown woman who is confident, independent, and working in a very male-dominated field, I still love romance. Give me a romantic comedy and I can guarantee you there will probably be a small flood of tears. Love, romance… the whole shebang is my favorite.
The problem is that Prince Charming and the plot of a Nicholas Sparks book are not reality. Ugh, I so wish they were. However, that does not mean we should give up on romance! Instead, we have some helpful suggestions on curbing your idea of romance and helping your spouse be more romantic. A win-win for everyone!
When You Feel Your Husband is Distant and Not Affectionate
Before we dive into anything, this has got to be your number one rule–be realistic. I married a Marine. His concept of a romantic date night is vastly different from mine. The possibility of him creating a date night to rivals that of The Bachelor is not going to happen.
I love the grandeur and splendor of things like that but it’s important to realize that comparison is the thief of joy. In The Bachelor, you’ve got a whole staff of crew members designing these things. Yes, a TEAM of people who sit down and think up the most romantic things humanly possible. Your poor spouse doesn’t have access to that! That’s not how dating works for most people. So if you’re feeling like, my husband is not affectionate or romantic, check your expectations and where they are coming from.
You have to go into this realizing that your spouse is imperfect and he is trying his best. On the flip side, your spouse has to realize that he or she needs to put forth effort when it comes to romance because it’s important to you. It’s also important to note that comparing yourself to other couples is a dangerous path to go down. Some folks are naturally romantic and that is awesome for their spouse; however, each couple comes with their unique challenges. Waving your phone in your spouse’s face, attempting to show him a romantic gesture that you saw off of someone’s Instagram isn’t going to help the situation. Instead, it will make sure your spouse feels guilty or bad about himself and that’s not the purpose of this exercise. We’re all about strengthening your marriage!
1. Understand Love Languages
If you as a couple haven’t tackled your love languages, pick up a copy of The 5 Love Languages. This is a fabulous resource for helping both of you identify what your love language is and how you prefer to be loved. If you have been thinking, “My husband is not affectionate or romantic” you could benefit from getting to know your spouse better. Recognizing their love language can be a great, eye-opening way to do this!
My husband’s involves acts of service and I love giving, whether it’s giving gifts or receiving them. This is important to understand. While my husband appreciates receiving gifts from me, that’s not his love language. He would much rather have me clean out the bathrooms before the weekend or cleaning out the yard so he doesn’t have to do any of those chores. If we switched the scenario, I don’t notice those things as he does so I appreciate receiving flowers from him more than having him clean out the dishwasher. Everyone is different in this area, so take the time to identify and appreciate those differences.
2. The Fix for Lack of Affection in Relationship
Now that your spouse recognizes your love language, set him or her up for success by identifying ways to show those acts of love. It may be helpful to create a tangible list of ideas or to develop a system of helping him or her realize the things that you like. Communication is important here and I highly recommend just being forthright. For example, I email and text my husband links of ideas that I think are cute, or date nights that I think would be fun. I’m pretty sure he has a ton of saved emails with links to potential gift ideas.
You also have an amazing resource at your fingertips right now –The Dating Divas! If you have been thinking, my husband is not affectionate or romantic, be proactive and give him resources to help! One of the BEST tips for giving your spouse reminders to fix the lack of affection in relationship is to sign up for the 10-Minute Marriage Challenge! He will have ideas texted right to his phone!
Or if your spouse is interested, he can sign up for the email updates and newsletter. One of my favorite aspects of those emails is that they include quick bits of information on date night ideas and many of them are so easy to set up. Create conversations in which both of you discuss what you expect out of your relationship. If romance is important to you, make sure your spouse understands this. Be direct and be proactive in helping him figure it out!
3. Stop Thinking, “My Husband is Not Romantic”
When your spouse does something remotely romantic, let him know! Don’t go on thinking, my husband is not affectionate or romantic, this is just a fluke. Let your partner know that you appreciate them and the effort that they put in. Remember our number one rule about being realistic– sometimes they’re going to mess things up and that’s okay! It’s really important to let them know that you care about them and appreciate their efforts. If you don’t, your spouse is going to feel discouraged. Trust me, that will take you ten steps back from where you want to be. Keep that line of communication open and definitely don’t forget to be romantic as well! Stop looking around thinking, “My husband is not affectionate or romantic.” That isn’t doing either of you any good! Readjust your expectations and be proactive in helping them figure out what exactly you want.
If you liked this post, definitely check out this cute DIY for a Hint Box. It’s truly perfect for a spouse who struggles with romance. We also have this amazing Ultimate Intimacy Pack with 12 different intimate date nights that are perfect throughout the year! If your spouse is interested in signing up for the Dating Divas’ Newsletter, send him or her to our website, www.thedatingdivas.com to sign-up! They can receive the 7 Days of Love Guide, perfect for helping your relationship understand how both of you preferred to be loved.
I just want one child free evening every once in a while so we can reconnect. We don’t even have to leave the house for date night! I can’t even get him to agree to that. I feel so alone and disconnected, like I’m living with a roommate. I’ve casually mentioned going out by myself because I like to dress up sometimes and socialize. He acts like that’s a crazy idea, then completely forgets my request for a date. I’ve pretty much given up and have stopped asking.
I am so so sorry you’re dealing with this. First off, know you’re not alone! I think it’s so normal for couples to go through a “roommate” phase. Second, maybe start super simple. Ice cream and some conversation starters, or play a card game. Something that my hubby and I have found is it doesn’t take much just intention goes a LONG ways. Best of luck to you and let us know if there is anything else we can do!
I enjoyed this article. I have done all of this and after being married 29 yrs, he still does not get me. We have had straight forward conversations,I have sent hints, I have done for him things I like having done for me I even let him know when I am feeling like I need romance/affectuon, we have taken the love language quiz. We sent our results to one another to remind us what the other needs. I am at my wits end. Our marriage is good in most other areas, but I feel starved in the area of romance/affection and I feel like I am begging when I have to remind him. I know he loves me amd i love him and he believes that his love and fidelity should be enough. This is nothing new, this has been a struggle for the entire 29 yrs and I feel defeated.
Thanks so much for sharing your personal story with us. We can only imagine how frustrating that must feel. It seems like you’ve tried every avenue when it comes to communication, and we seriously applaud you in that!
It’s so hard knowing that the only thing we can really change is ourselves. At this point, we may suggest life coaching to help with thought work. Jody Moore has a great model she uses to help people work through this exact type of situation- where the only variable we can have power over is own thoughts. We hope that trying something like that will be beneficial! Sending good thoughts and hopes your way! Xoxo
Thank you for some real advice that gives me something to work on without making me feel like my husband’s lack of romance is all my fault. So much advice assumes I must be a sex refusing nag…or tells me I must be a robot who is loving 100% of the time without ever having a bad day…or that I should supply all of the romance because somewhere between boyfriend and husband men completely lose the ability to be romantic or sweet.
Thank you for giving me hope that I could also get my needs met while still being a flawed human. And also for reminding me to keep looking for romance in all of the little things he does.
Sweetest comment! So glad you enjoyed it and thank you so much for commenting!
I can always use marriage advice and this is good advice!!
THIS is SO much better than all of the other articles that have popped up. All of them assume every wife NAGS about everything and wants their female readers to settle for an unromantic, unsatisfied, and an emotionally unfulfilled marriage (which only ends in death or divorce). They encourage all the burden be put on the reader to do the emotional and thoughtful weightlifting in hopes that ” in a few years they see what you do for them and start reciprocating”.
I like that this one actually takes the situation seriously and gives better advice than simply doing a movie night with wine but talks about love languages and compatibility instead.
Mady – thank you for your thoughtful comment! We pour our hearts into each post, especially these ones that deal with hot topics! We’re so glad that you enjoyed it and found some good takeaways! If you enjoyed the love language aspect, you may also enjoy our newly revamped 7 Days of Love program: https://www.thedatingdivas.com/get-our-7-days-of-love-free XOXO
Thank you for the great article. You have fun tools to help with increasing the romance in your marriage. I love the 10 Minute Marriage Challenge idea. It looks like a lot of fun and makes romance a lot easier.
Mara!! Thank you SO much for your sweet message! It absolutely makes our day to receive words like yours! We are thrilled that you have been participating, and LOVING the 10 Minute Marriage Challenge! We wish you all the best! XOXO
So many helpful tips. Communications is huge in a marriage! Thanks for sharing.
I needed to read that cause my boyfriend is not affectionate at all but he tries even though i know he doesnt really want to. I had aconversation with him to show him that i needed him to be more romantic and affectionate and i can say he has been trying and at some times ithink he is starting to enjoy it. So this might be a good thing. And thank you, that was really needed.
Erica, I am so glad it helped! It can be so hard when we have different ways of showing love- the 5 Love Languages is legit! But it is so great you recognize that it doesn’t come natural to him and that he’s trying! Kudos to him for putting forth the effort knowing it is important to you! That is great! Thank you for reading! 🙂
For the record this also happens among married gay couples. I’ve been with my spouse for 25 years and I’m a full blooded romantic whereas he is super practical! It’s just a matter of patience love and devotion. It’s hard but it can be done… Food for thought!
Isn’t it crazy how opposites can completely attract? Thanks for sharing!! XO
I wish I had this knowledge. My boys will have this knowledge. Currently my wife has moved out. I discovered her carrying on an emotional affair with another man and our marriage has taken a downturn. I told her that I want to work on it and that this can be fixed. She’s filed for divorce. We’ll see, I guess. I wish I had this growing up, maybe things would be different.
We are so sorry to hear about this! Unfortunately, you aren’t our only reader going through serious marital issues. But everything we write is for the sole purpose of bringing couples closer together, and you’re right, knowledge is power! Thank you so much for your comment and for reading. We hope you’ll find more great tips and insight on our site to help you in your journey! Xoxo
This helped a lot. My fiancee is not the romantic type nor has he had a relationship where sweet sweet things sweet things were done just for the heck of it. And it’s been a process. But the has has definitely helped.
So glad you found this helpful, Bridgette!
What a very sweet, romantic post and a great advice too.
Thanks, Vilma! xo
Kimberly, I love the post. I really like the part about realistic expectations. That’s a common thing for me to hear from people I represent, they have/had unrealistic expectations.
Thank you! I believe there are so many contributing factors to that but overall, having realistic expectations can help improve communication and overall, make for a happier marriage. Thanks for the comment!
I LOVE this post!! Thanks Kimberly! I’ll be sharing this on social media for sure 🙂 My husband is one of those “non-romantic” ones and it has been so helpful to implement all of these things in our marriage and recognize the things he does do to show me love, even though they may not be huge, romantic gestures! thanks for the ideas!
Thanks so much Amberly! I feel ya on not having the most romantic of spouses. My husband recognizes that he struggles in this area, so he actively seeks out my opinions on things and I also help him out by contributing gift ideas and sending him links to things. I so believe that setting him up for success makes the whole process easier on everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
What a great post and such wonderful advice!! XO
Thanks so much Tara! 🙂