Needs Cuddles

Q: Is there any way to encourage my boyfriend to be more affectionate? How much is too much to ask for? He seems annoyed by what he thinks is too much, but some days he doesn't feel like cuddling at all. This is hard for me. I want to touch him all the time, but I have to keep it all in. It definitely seems like it is worse when he is more stressed, but lately it is ridiculous. I get it, but only when he is in the mood. I feel like I have to schedule an appointment to get it. -- Mary Ann, 39

Dr. Susan: A relationship is on the way to deep trouble when one of the partners feels as though she's always having to keep her needs to herself. It would be one thing if your boyfriend every so often told you that he was stressed right now and just not in the mood to touch or be touched, but instead he gets annoyed with you. There's no such thing as a general rule for what is "too much" affection. Some people crave a lot of touching, while some are more physically stand-off-ish (though they might call themselves "less needy"). Such mismatches are common. Compromise on both sides of your relationship is in order. If that doesn't seem possible because your guy won't agree to give a bit more, you (as the one whose needs are stronger) have to decide if you're willing to settle for holding it in for keeps. It depends on what else you get from the relationship. If the answer is Not much, there are other, more touchable guys out there longing for an affectionate mate.

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