Your Call: Should She Dump Her Unaffectionate Boyfriend?

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We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below.

My boyfriend of one year and nine months clearly has some intimacy issues. Though we recently moved in together he is rarely affectionate. He has never told me that he loves me (I finally told him a few days ago and got nothing in response), I can count on one hand the number of times he’s ever told me that I look pretty, and things like flowers or romance are clearly out of the question.

To give background on his situation, his family and him do not have an affectionate relationship. He never heard the words “I love you” growing up, but then again neither did I. He also claims that he’s never told any woman before that he loved them. So to give him credit this seems to be a lifelong issue, not just something he’s had with me.

He’s a wonderful man – smart, handsome, intelligent, hard working, kind – all reasons why I hesitate to cut my losses at this point…but I don’t think it’s asking too much to wish for romance and outward affection from the one I love. I don’t know if I can go a lifetime having my partner never tell me that he loves me…and I wonder whether he’ll be the same way with any potential children.

I’ve tried to lead by example by planning nice things for him, telling him how I feel about him, and expressing how happy he makes me, but none of it has done any good.

Please help. Do I begrudgingly suck it up knowing that in most other categories he’s a great catch or search for someone who isn’t embarrassed/closed off to showing emotion?

— Starving for Affection

What should SFA do?

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17 Comments on "Your Call: Should She Dump Her Unaffectionate Boyfriend?"

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I know it has been a while since the original post, but If anyone else runs across this thread looking for answers I hope my comment helps! Either a man or woman are affectionate or their not; period, don’t try to change them. I have been married for 23 years to an unaffectionate man who on the other hand had other great qualities. If affection is important to you then move on if you are not getting what you need! My boys are raised and out of the house as of June and affection was always important to me and… Read more »

truth is I don’t think He’s cheating . If He was cheating he would have never moved in with you in the first place . I myself am a very unaffectionate person because my father is the same way but that’s no excuse . I try my best to be affectionate with my loved ones but that’s something he needs to work on if He really cares for you .

You love him, so it will hurt, but you need to dump him for your own good. I was in a relationship with the same kind of man for almost 8 years. When you begin saying “Well, he drove to pick me up! That means he cares about me! Right? Who cares if I don’t get flowers…right? Or if he never tells me I’m pretty? Or if he won’t hold my hand for more than thirty seconds?” then you know you need to get out. Find someone who gives you what you need. That’s it. You need the affection. You… Read more »

I agree with Johnny. If she must leave, it’s because her needs (and emotional needs -are- a valid priority) aren’t being met, but there’s no call for any bitterness or anger. It’s just sad to let a potential relationship go.


^ Oh come on y’all. He hasn’t cheated, he hasn’t abused her… he’s just under-emotional. Don’t you think “mfa” label is a little strong?

Dump him if you need to, but it doesn’t sound like there’s any reason to be angry with the guy.


Once more, with feeling: DTMFA.

In any relationship you are in there will be things you don’t necessarily love about the other person. You have to decide how important this one thing is to you. If you have tried making it clear to him that this is something you need and he flat out refuses then you have to decide if you are okay with not receiving the affection you crave. If he has made efforts and just not living up to the amount you need you just need to gently let him know what he is doing right and encourage more of it. “I… Read more »