Dear Neil:  My wife accuses me of being disattached and emotionally withdrawn in our relationship. What can I do to increase my level of attachment and become closer to her?

Distant in San Antonio, Texas

Dear Distant:  In a way, this is the same question as to how you could be a better spouse and lover.  Try some of these ideas:

  • Have fun together.  Do it often.
  • Say what you are feeling. Don’t keep your emotions inside.
  • Touch.  Touch is the most powerful aphrodisiac that exists.  It brings people closer, and keeps them close.
  • Tell her what you like about her.  Say it, don’t just feel or think it.
  • Use endearments.  Often.
  • Listen more.  Talk less.
  • Take an interest in what she does.  Ask her questions about what she’s doing or trying to accomplish.  Be interested in what she’s interested in.
  • Whenever you can, call her up during the day and ask how things are going.
  • Make special occasions (birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, etc) really special.
  • Say “I love you.”  Often.
  • Ask yourself the question “If I were going to make it work, what would I have to do?  What would I need to do differently?”
  • Tell her what you respect, admire and appreciate about her.  Often.
  • Help her when she needs help.  Don’t be grouchy about it.
  • Do something you have been asked to do but have always been resistant to in the past.  Then find a second thing she has asked of you—and do that also.
  • Acknowledge and thank her for what she has done—or is doing now—such as raising the children, going to work and earning money every day, taking care of the house, being a good listener, being your lover, etc.
  • Use cards, notes, flowers and calls just to say “I love you.”  Do it often.
  • Let her know when you think she is attractive and/or sexy.  Tell her every time you think it.
  • Ask her what behaviors would make her feel cared about and cherished.  Then choose a couple of those behaviors and do them.  Regularly.
  • Offer back and shoulder rubs, or leg and foot massages.  Do so as frequently as she likes.
  • Create a list of short, medium and long-range goals together.
  • Make love.  Often.
  • Write a love letter, telling her what you love about her.  What are your special memories of her?   What’s endearing about her?  Tell her.
  • Let her know what she does right.  Tell her frequently.

If you are a woman and wish a closer relationship with your man, do the same things.  The gist of increasing your level of attachment in a relationship is to emotionally go all out. Give your all.  Quit holding back your emotions and your vulnerability because you fear getting hurt or rejected.  Risk hurt and rejection by taking charge of this issue and trying your hardest to have the best relationship you possibly can.  Re-engage.  Quit withdrawing, keeping a scorecard, holding grievances and resentments, and withholding yourself.  Quit looking at how you could have a better partner—and start looking at how you can be a better partner.

Has your relationship turned cold and distant? Neil’s book Love, Sex, and Staying Warm can help you rekindle your passion.

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