Different affection behavior, what do to?

domyApril 6, 2006

Hi to all!

I'm new to this forums and I'm really glad I found such a good comunity; I have been reading some of the old posts and they are wonderful.

Anyway, I'm 27 and planning to marry my girlfriend (same age, divorced and with a 2.5yrs beautiful daughter) on Feb next year :)

What worries us a little bit is that we are somewhat different when it comes to showing affections, specially in the day to day.

I come from a very loving family; my parents divorced when I was 6 but both of them always show a LOT of affection. Gezz, I still sit on my parents' laps at the family meetings (and so do my half-brothers, and so does my half-sister with me... you get the point).

On the other side, she comes from a family that shows less affection (it's just how they show it, I know they love very much their daughters), so she's somewhat "colder", even thou she shows love in a thousand different ways.

Maybe it's because this will be my first marriage, while being her second; she has an experience that I still miss. I tell her that I see marriage as a veeery long dating, with plenty of love and tenderness every day; she tells me it isn't usually such a happy-fairy-tale, and that she's worried a little about my desire of constant affection versus her more independent/less affective behavior.

Anyway, we really want this marriage to work and this coming week have an appointment with a pre-marriage counselor, but I'd really like to receive any inputs you might have for us.

Oh yes, comunication is a top priority for us, it is a non-negotiable thing for us, so that's not a problem.

Thank you for your time

Best regards


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"Communication" is fine. However, it doesn't cover the ground. If you need what your intended can't provide, that's the ball game. Not that you're great and she's bad -- it's just a mismatch. That kind of mis-match can be critical.

"What worries us a little bit is that we are somewhat different when it comes to showing affections, specially in the day to day." Know what? That's how you live your life -- day-to-day. Every day. Day after day.

I'm not sure I've got the whole picture but from this little bit I would advise you that this worry you've described can be a killer. By all means see a counselor. And listen to what they say.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 10:26PM
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And here's the other thing to think about...she sounds a little scared from the first marriage.
Just keep showing it and she will catch on. My dh of 26 years came from a non showy family also, it gets easier as the years go. He now is huggy most of the time. Our boys are not....but they always used to be. Could be cause they are 20 and 23....
Karen L

    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 12:34AM
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I also "read into" this message, so I could be wrong...

You said that that even though she showed affection it wasn't the same way as you.

Specifically you said "even thou she shows love in a thousand different ways"

WOW that's a LOT, but yet you make it sound like that isn't enough so I have to wonder why, and the only thing I can come up with when "a thousand different ways" can't be enough is ....because it isn't the way you do, and some people feel that if they are not shown affection the way they show affection it's not "RIGHT". (my husband and I had to work through this so that's why I have this speculation)

Now did I "Love his less" because I wasn't in my words "clingy" to him...NO, clingy made me feel uncomfortable. So we've come to a common ground over the years (as Karen SL mentioned He and I caught on over the years).

Just food for thought


    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 10:16AM
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First of all, thank you very much for your replies, they are truly apreciated!

I don't want to give the impression that I'm complaining about my fiancee's behavior; we are both aware of our differences and want to start working on them as soon as possible so they won't affect badly our marriage. As much as I can feel unconfortable due to the differences, so can she and I want her to be truly happy with me and never feel asphyxiated by my "huggyness".

Those of you that live/lived a similar situation, how did you find a common ground?
I'm happy to know that we'll catch on over the years :)

Best regards

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 11:25AM
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I once heard a man tell his son

"Don't marry the girl you can live with; marry the girl you can't live without"

It sounds like you feel this way. Does she? If you both feel this way then I think any other obstacles will be overcome.

My first marraige was to a man 'I could live with'. It was 20 years of work.

My second is to a man I can't live without. It is his second as well. Don't get me wrong - we still have our problems - but it is so much easier to deal with them when we know the bottom line is that we just can't stand to be apart.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 1:17PM
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I can understand where you're coming from (well, more where she's coming from). My husband is very huggy and physically demonstrative...I am not -- due to a lack of such of demonstrativeness in my family, as well as some sexual abuse history on my part. I personally start to feel physically threatened or uncomfortable if someone, including my husband, invades my personal space when I'm not expecting it, or not "in the mood" for it. This is something we've had to overcome, by both compromising -- I push my physical comfort boundaries whenever possible, and he knows not to push me when I ask him not to. The important thing is for both of you to be aware of this issue, and work together towards a mutally comfortable level of affection -- it is possible for those of us who are "colder" to learn to appreciate snuggling on the couch for a while, and for those that are more physically demonstrative to occasionally just say "I love you" without diving in for a hug every time. I think it's very important that you find out if you can make each other happy in this regard before you get married.

I do also think that lack of physical affection can be a sign of a major issue in the relationship, though, if it's accompanied by actual physical pushing away by one partner, or a refusal to discuss the situation. My poor brother-in-law was married to a woman that would push him away if he came over to hug her, and they had no sex life (they just recently divorced; not a surprise to any of us who had seen how she avoided ever being close to him). If the lack of demonstrativeness is extending into all areas of your romantic life, then you have a major problem.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 8:03PM
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Oh yes, she's definetly a woman I can't live without! I feel as she was made exactly for me as being with her is very easy and natural for me; sometimes I feel so much love for her that it almost hurts... well, those of you that live with somebody you couldn't live without know the feeling ;).

rivkadr, there's definetly a lof of demonstrativeness in our relationship, both ways; so I think this is something we can work out and not a mayor problem.

Well, it somehows feel good to know that we are not alone with our differences.

Thank you again for your replies!
Best regards

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 2:35PM
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As long as she feels the same way you should be O.K..

Best of luck to you both.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 8:03PM
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One word, COMPROMISE, on both sides. She needs to learn to stroke you, and you need to learn when to back off.

Sounds like you have the makings for a good marriage otherwise!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 4:38PM
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I think you are wonderful, thinking about all this before you get married. It has taken me years to figure all this out whilst being married.

I think you should work out what actions show affection. I know for me I love being hugged from behind and gently kissed on my neck. I love my hand being held and patted. I want to be kissed when I am going out, and coming home. A gentle hand at the bottom of my back. Words also come into it, encouragement, interest, compromosing. Lots more.

I dont think I would feel comfortable sitting on my brother's lap! But I guess its what you are used to.

I have a friend whose husband is always kissing her, and professing love, in front of other people. I think she finds this a bit embarassing. Its a bit obessesive.

You are starting off on the right road to marriage, all the best to you.

One more thing I wondered...how does she show affection to her daughter ? Maybe you could think about that as well.

Take care.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 10:25PM
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There is a book called Love Languages or something like that. It talks about the different ways that people show love. Usually people SHOW love in they way in which they want to receive it but it usually is NOT what the other person wants. This book teaches your to recognize these love languages and how to satisfy the person you love in the way that makes them FEEL loved. I suggest it for all couples.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 4:32PM
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Update: well, we started seeing the pre-marriage counselor and it is somehow helping us; I say "somehow" because we feel that we have achieved more by openly discussing how we feel than by seeing the couselor. The counselor is definetly a welcome help, but 80% of work must come from the couple itself (obviously).

Anyway, as time passes we are more and more in tune; she's tender with me and I respect her when she want's to be a little more by herself. When one of the two feels unconfortable, it just says so to the other one.
One thing I have come to realize lately is the need to express the things we miss or that bother us; it's amazing how many times the other person doesn't event know the other one is feeling bad. This doesn't mean one should complain constantly, but when something's wrong, it's important to make sure the other person knows about it. Of course, picking the right words and the right moment is critical. ;)

Again, thank you all for your inputs! 213 more days to go for the big day! :)



PS: at the risk of starting a flame war, I'll add that reading togheter Cosmopolitan (yes, the magazine...) can do wonders to a couple's life! *wink*

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 2:52PM
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Glad to hear things are going well for you and that you both have input into how to make your communication tip top.

"when something's wrong, it's important to make sure the other person knows about it. " - I totally agree with you here. My DH and I had this exact conflict this week....he says I should tell him if I an unhappy about something, but I get myself into a mess 'cause I dont want to upset people and then I dont say what I really think. I realize now this is not the way to go, as the situation can build resentment after a while.

Its important to work at sharpening your communication skills. Its very exhausting sometimes !

All the best to you, my friend.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 3:00AM
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