Wife Hates Kissing

Q: My wife of 15 years stopped kissing me several years ago, and I've been frustrated and depressed about it ever since. When we were dating we frequently kissed for long stretches. Now she tells me she was just doing that because she thought it was expected of her, but she really does not like kissing and decided she wouldn't do it anymore. If I'm going away on a long trip, I try to kiss her, but her kisses then are so tight, dry, and devoid of any affection that they leave me more depressed than before. We still have sex, but the "no kissing" thing leaves me feeling very impersonal. It also leaves me without a way to "get things started" since kissing is, for me, a natural way to begin.

Before you ask, yes, I have excellent oral hygiene (I brush, floss, have no chapped lips, no problem teeth, etc.). Before I met her, all the other women I dated told me I was a great kisser, but my wife won't even try to meet me half way. I can't help but think there must be something that has caused this aversion. Is it "normal" for someone not to like kissing? -- Mike, 42

Dr. Susan: Normal" in a relationship is pretty much whatever two people agree upon. If neither of you liked kissing, no problem. And I've heard others, both women and men, complaining that their mates don't like to kiss much. Your wife, though, certainly seems extreme in her total aversion to kissing. For some people, kissing can feel more intimate than sex itself. I would worry that she has lost a lot of her affection for you, especially if she won't even make an effort, ever. The only way to tell if that's the case is how affectionate she is in the rest of your life together. Does she reach out and rub your feet while you watch TV? Does she often snuggle up to you or react lovingly when you want to hug or touch her? Does she care how much her refusal means to you? I suspect there may be unspoken issues of anger or resentment that are coming between you. No one should have to live with the feeling that their kisses are utterly unwelcome. Your depression and frustration put you at risk for infidelity. I'd suggest a counselor.

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