Dear Marcie,

I am forty-one years old and my wife and I have been married for seven years. I adore my wife, see her as a princess and think she is the most beautiful woman I have ever known. Despite my heavy work schedule, I exercise and take care of my appearance in every effort to keep her interested in me. Despite my efforts, while we talk regularly, she rarely looks my way, does not reciprocate attempts at kissing, and recoils when we come in contact. I don't think I'm unattractive. What am I doing wrong? How can I regain my wife's affection?

Longing for Affection


Dearest Longing,

Let's ponder what might be going on inside the mind of the woman you love. Many things could be contributing to why the romance or interest has withered on the vine. I can only offer mild insight into why women do or may feel the way they do at times. Remember also, you two have quite a bit of history to ponder, so read with an open heart.

First off, Kudos! In a world of disposable relationships, it's heartwarming to see you fighting for the woman whom you genuinely love and have devoted yourself endlessly, even seeking out advice to save your marriage. Every woman loves to feel adored. Whether you think she notices or not, she DOES! But we too are terribly afraid of losing what we want the most, like security, love, honesty, and respect, all the while daydreaming of that hunky Knight in shiny armor who will protect us and whisk us off into the sunset (with us looking fabulous of course). It's very nurturing for a woman to know she's protected, and we are naturally attracted to strong, confident men.

Your wife's actions (or inaction) indicate she's been wounded on some level, even if unintentionally. Remember the Knight? If we feel we have been wronged in some way, directly or indirectly, our protection is in jeopardy and we immediately recoil emotionally and physically. We may emerge from our scorn and allow you into our warm graces once again, but the healing can be a long grueling process. And it will take effort on your part.

A man sees a problem and wants to fix it immediately, while a woman may not even realize there's a problem or may be in denial. No doubt you need to TALK. You mentioned your work schedule, and maybe this is a contributing factor. The problem could be simple miscommunication or not enough interaction, which can cause a disconnect in the relationship. Maybe she doesn't need a He-Man in bed, but in her heart. The solution may begin with a little B&B for you two to rekindle the communication you once shared. Remember Casanova, this isn't a patch job. It will take time and careful consideration.

And don't make the mistake of bombarding your wife at every turn or being overbearing. It can lead to resentment and feelings of suffocation. Be Knightly, not NEEDY. When she does reciprocate your affections, it should be because she desires you, not feels sorry for you. A rule of thumb: A little distance helps alleviate the pressure. Space is good in a fragile time such as this. Combine this with my belief that the tiniest heartfelt actions can be more moving than the grandest of gestures. Try the approach of being friendly (yet not too friendly), courteous (not smothering), and charming (not cheesy). And be CONFIDENT. Work to help her remember why she became smitten with you and over time the Knight will win back his princess.