Dear Annie: My husband and I got married right before the pandemic. Before the marriage, we lived in different states, 3,000 miles apart. After we got married, the pandemic split us apart again geographically for eight months. We finally got back together, and I was glad to get the opportunity to work from home with him in his city.
We mostly stay at home, working from home and watching movies together. We were in a car accident a few days after we were reunited, and my leg was hurt, and I am not able to run or walk for long periods of time. He was not hurt in the accident.
It’s been six months since the accident, and my husband has not shown any physical interest in me all this time. I occasionally hug him and hold him while watching movies, but he does not initiate any similar physical affection. We must have kissed four or five times since the accident, always at my request.
I keep telling him that I love him, and he acknowledges that, but when I ask him why he has lost interest in affection of any kind, he says he just has. Upon prodding further, he once said that it was because of the arguments we had when we were dating. Another time he said that after my leg is healed and we are able to go out more, we’ll both feel better.
Other than the affection issue, everything else is good.
I know I have extra belly fat that is difficult to get rid of, but I had the fat while dating, too. I have gone on a few hikes and walks with him, but with a walking stick, and sometimes I need help. I think he wants me to be completely self-reliant.
The arguments while dating were just about our past relationships that I left behind, but I don’t think he is the kind of person who likes to forget the past. While we were separated during the pandemic, I was glad that we had stopped fighting about the past and assumed we had moved on, but now I think there is something stuck in his head that he refuses to let go of.
I am guessing he would want to blame me for it, but the problem is that he does not tell me what is really going on in his head, and we don’t even argue anymore. Other than this issue, he has always been a great guy, helpful to family members and me. I assure you he is not having an affair; we spend all our time together.
I can continue living with him and working from home, but I think going back to my city and state and stopping day-to-day communication with him might get him to open up and resolve the issue.
My concern is that, considering the little amount of time we have spent since we met, we should be like newly married couples, making out all the time. Instead, we don’t even hold hands like we did when we were dating. Before the pandemic split us apart, he used to express his love for me, and we would cook, clean and make out like normal couples. I am not planning to give up on us. What should I do? – Feeling Lost
Dear Feeling Lost: It sounds like absence made your husband’s heart grow colder, rather than fonder. Shutting you out emotionally and physically is not the solution for a happy marriage. You are right to be upset, and you deserve all the love and tenderness that a marriage can offer, but moving back to another state will not help.
Suggest marriage counseling to him. In the meantime, try and let up on your expectations of what the honeymoon phase should look like. A lot of couples have a very difficult first year of marriage as they iron out this new way of living with someone. Be patient with your relationship and try not to have such an idealized notion of what it should look like.
With the help of a good therapist, you can iron out together what your individual needs are. Always remember to listen to his, and always voice what you need.
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