"He's Too Needy!"

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Robert's Turn

"What else do I need? How about a woman who doesn't recoil when I touch her? It's true that even when we were first dating she wasn't super affectionate or that into sex, but I guess I was hoping it would change when we got married. When it didn't, I thought there was something I could do to make her be more into me -- really love me -- and that maybe I just wasn't giving her what she needed.

"I'm always trying to figure out the magical thing that will make her interested in me. She can be so cold and distant, which hurts. And it makes me feel like it's my fault, like if I could just be better in some way, things would change.

"Oh, the weight thing. I think that's an easy excuse. Years ago when I was training for a marathon and in really good shape, Mallory was just as unaffectionate toward me, so I know that losing weight won't change anything. But that doesn't stop Mallory from criticizing me every time I buy food that she doesn't think is healthy. She criticizes our children, as well. The things she says are really hurtful.

"I'd prefer she show that she cares with a hug and a kiss when she gets home from work. It's confusing. When I'm away on business, she says such sweet things over the phone. Then when I get home, she's completely indifferent again.

"There's a scene in an old Woody Allen movie where he's in bed with Diane Keaton and her mind gets up out of bed and starts walking around the room. Woody Allen says, 'This is really difficult. I feel like you're not even here.' That's how I feel most of the time when we're having sex. I've tried to talk to her about this over the years, but Mallory's version of talking is asking me, 'What do you have to say?' When I've told her how her constant rejection makes me feel unappreciated and unloved, all she has to say is, 'I don't really want to talk about that.'

"I just don't know if things can be fixed. I was brought up to believe that you stay in a marriage no matter what, which is one of the reasons I've put up with this for so long. But I can't -- or don't want to -- take the rejection anymore."

Continued on page 3:  The Counselor's Turn


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