My Boyfriend Won’t Hold Me or Cuddle Me

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From the U.S.
i have been with my boyfriend for almost a year now and i know he has a problem being intimate, but it is getting ridiculous. he says its because he was raised differently and he is stuck in 50′s mentality. he is not affectionate aside from the good bye kiss when he goes to work and the holding hands (sometimes) when we go to the store. we don’t really have sex either, which as been an issue from the beginning but i am working through it. sex is maybe once a week if that. when i raise the issue about sex he shrugs it off. he wont hold me or cuddle. ( but he will cuddle the cat or hold it and show affection.) when i confront him about that he says i am being too needy. i don’t know what to do anymore. it makes me feel lonely in my own relationship. am i too needy or is it him?

A: It’s just true that different people have different levels of sexual energy and different sexual needs. The question here is not whether you are needy or he is abnormal. The question you need to be asking is if you want to be in a relationship with someone whose sexual attitudes and behaviors are so different from your own? Is the rest of the relationship so satisfying and wonderful that you can give up the level of physical intimacy you would naturally want?

If, when you talk to him about it, your boyfriend is as distressed as you are, the two of you might benefit from some couples therapy to help you get physically more comfortable with each other. The way we are raised certainly has a strong influence on all of us. But part of growing and maturing is to re-decide if we want to continue on the path our parents set for us or if we want to go in new directions. Change is possible. Some people do it on their own. Some people appreciate a little help from their friends, a doctor and/or a therapist.

However, if your boyfriend doesn’t see anything wrong with the situation, it’s unfair to expect him to change. It’s equally unfair to yourself if you can’t picture the next 50 or 60 years of more of the same.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Aug 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). My Boyfriend Won’t Hold Me or Cuddle Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/08/31/my-boyfriend-wont-hold-me-or-cuddle-me/