Certain closeness is expected in some relationships that is not expected or even okay in other relationships. Your partner may feel unsatisfied in the relationship not because of something you are doing wrong, but for something you are NOT doing right. Let’s take a look at three of these things:
1. Making important decisions without her
Do you make important decisions without her?
If so, she may feel left out and may feel as if you don’t think her opinion matters. If you are married or in a domestic partnership, it is expected that both of you will consult the other before making big decisions that affect you both.
If you are not in the habit of including her, she could be feeling some resentment towards you.
Get her opinion before you buy a new car. Ask her what she thinks of your new job offer. Check with her before spending a large amount of money. Include her in buying drapes for the windows or picking out a new color to paint the walls. Discuss with her plans for having friends over for dinner, or whose family you both will be spending the holidays with. Don’t decide these things on your own.
2. Withholding physical touch
Another way you might not be giving her what she needs is by withholding physical touch.
This could be sexual in nature, or could simply be a hug or holding her hand. If you withdraw when you are angry and withhold yourself from her physically, you are harming the relationship. Everyone needs nonsexual physical interaction with other people. Children need hugs and kisses. Friends need a pat on the back for reassurance when things are tough. Your partner needs these things as well. She also needs and expects from you a sexual relationship. This is unique to your relationship with her alone (unless of course you have previously decided otherwise. Some couples do have open relationships. Assuming that you don’t, then this is something that you share only with her).
This is a very important part of a romantic relationship and is not to be used as a weapon. Withholding sex as a means of controlling your partner to get her to do what you want is very damaging to a relationship. So is withdrawing from cuddling on the couch to watch TV, giving a kiss or a hug, or holding her hand. Sure, you might not both be in the mood for the same things at the same times, and that’s okay. But that’s not what we are talking about.
Don’t withhold yourself physically from your partner, especially not as a means of control or coercion.
3. Withholding emotions
The third thing you should not withhold from your partner is your emotions.
Do you have someone else you turn to in times of trouble other than your partner? A close friend or family member who is your shoulder to cry on? Is there anyone else that you turn to instead of your partner to complain to when you have had a bad day or when you are upset and need someone to talk to?
If so, then you are probably not being there emotionally for your partner in the way that she needs you to be. Even if you are not turning to anyone else emotionally, it is still not healthy for you to withhold this from her. Do not withdraw and keep things to yourself. Be open and honest about your feelings. Let her know when you are upset. Let her comfort you or be the one who listens to you complain about your day at work. Even if what you are upset about is her, do not go to other people!
She is the one you have chosen, and she is the one you should be sharing yourself with emotionally.
In closing, by withholding physical touch, emotional closeness, conversation, and important decisions from your spouse, you are violating the boundary of your relationship by distancing yourself from them. In other words, you are withholding something that is needed and healthy within the bounds of this relationship.