Testing Theories

I am a sucker for a testable theory. I admit it. This is the same trait that has marked me as a sucker for punishment. Recently I've been working my way through a stack of books, why marriages succeed and fail, the good divorce, love and respect, and I've started His Needs / Her Needs, which I find respectable in that it pulls no punches.

5 chapters into the book one idea has come up several times, that affection and sex are inseperable counterparts that must each be present for the other to survive. Now having spent more than an hour in this group, I know the futility of smelly flowers and candy hearts, but I did have a question that I had never overtly asked before.

"Do you consider me to be an affectionate person"

-some days yes, and some days no.- she replied

(I asked via text because its easier to get straight answers when there is only 160 characters to play with)

And it led me to my next question:

"On a scale from 1-10" (if you are ever in the back of my ambulance you'll be asked all sorts of 1-10 questions) "how would you rate me in showing affection?".

-above average, 6.5-

I called her up after this so that We could talk about what she thought of as affection and ways that I show affection to her as she percieves it. Hand holding. Random texts. Old pet names that I replaced with new ones. So on and so forth.

I avoided the obvious complaint that she was penalizing me for waning affection when it was preceded by sexlessness (I pay a therapist to referee that crap) but I did note mentally that I am, in her words, above average in showing affection while there could not possibly be less sex in the marriage.

Another interesting tidbit of humint that I was able to gather was that while the book misses on the dynamic of reciprocity in my marriage, he did pretty much nail the horror in my wife's voice when we talked about the primary need expressed by an average male, sex. It was almost revulsion.

All in all, it was an interesting recon mission.

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3 Responses Mar 10, 2010

It's funny in the last two years of my marriage, my husband tried being more affectionate. He was never an affectionate person with me ever prior to that. In fact if I tried holding his hand, he would pull away. <br />
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The affection he was able to give was hand holding, and putting his hand on the small of my back occassionally. Cuddle? In all the years we were together never.

There's more to affection than giving - a lot falls on the receiver to be, well, receptive. A la "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"... are your actions endearing or irritating today? Only she can decide.<br />
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Are you snuggling / cuddling, or "smothering her"?<br />
Being attentive, or "clingy"?<br />
Being generous with hugs and kisses, or being "needy"?<br />
Is it teasing and foreplay, or "groping"?<br />
Dirty talk, or "perverted"?<br />
Being romantic, or "pressuring for sex"?<br />
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So many of us try to be kind and sensitive to our spouses, only to have our actions ignored completely, or viewed in such a negative light that we appear malicious instead of generous.<br />
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I often wonder if this kind of baggage can be overcome, or if the slate needs to be wiped clean with a new relationship.

I don't know, lately I have been trying to avoid affection because it does not lead to sex, just frustration.