We have been together for seven years now. It’s such a cliche but I fear the itch is forming in my partner as he seems to have pulled away.
When I try to talk to him about this, the only thing he has said is that I used to be so romantic and the romance seems to have disappeared between us. He assures me he is not interested in someone else, but I fear he’s lying.
Last night when I tried again to seek reassurance, he yelled at me that he was not unfaithful, that he has taken our vows of monogamy seriously, but if I didn’t stop going on about this I was going to drive him away. Is this just an excuse? I love him so much but he’s far better looking than me so maybe I can’t blame him for looking elsewhere. Well, it could be an excuse but, equally – if not more possible – it may be that this is exactly as he has told you. The two of you, like so many couples, may well have let romance slide, leading to the loss of one of your precious forms of intimacy. Sensing that loss and distance, you have become anxious about losing your loved one. Then, rather than take constructive action, you’ve descended into reassurance-seeking, which most people find off-putting after the first instance.
Renewing closeness is a shared responsibility, but building or rebuilding your confidence is your task and requires you treating yourself exactly as you would your best friend.
I’d encourage you both to resurrect romance in your daily life. No need for dramatic gestures or candlelit dinners – unless that’s your style – but think back to what you did in the early months and years; perhaps you shared love notes or cards, small gifts and thoughtful gestures. Don’t let those go.
Affection remains important through the lifespan. Make sure that your touch is non-sexual sometimes; a hug that does not become a grind but expresses your love, a kiss on the neck, a squeeze on the arm or caress on the face.
All of these can and should be part of daily life, as can a text or deep eye contact to say: “I love you.” It’s essential that none of these come with strings attached from you or they descend into more reassurance-seeking.