Last updated on Jan 31st, 2015 at 09:54 am

Dear Annie
My husband and I had a whirlwind courtship and got married less than a year after us meeting. We have been married for six years now and he is seven years my senior.

We have two kids and an overall good life. He is a great father and a good husband, in that he takes care of us and he is responsible and financially sound and stable. But when it comes to romance and making me a priority, he is totally adverse to these things.

I used to get frustrated by his indifference, but then I decided to just accept that he isn’t the romantic type.

When it came to special occasions, I would make all the effort to make the day special for him and for us, even though he wouldn’t make any effort for my birthday or one these special occasions for me. In fact every year he finds some reason for getting upset with me on my birthday so I end up spending it in tears.

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We never go out like other couples for dinner and dancing or a night out to have fun

If he has to take me out it is to a movie, and once a year he takes me to his year-end function, but he won’t dance with me – he will sit there glumly until it’s time to go home or he will drop me off home and go back to enjoy himself. It isn’t like he doesn’t like going out for drinks or to a club: he just prefers going on his own with his friends and doesn’t like going with me.
When I ask or bring up the fact that I would like to go to a concert or go out dancing he always has an excuse.

I admit the first two years of marriage were quite an adjustment as we didn’t know each other. I fell pregnant immediately after we got married, so the first year was basically adjustment issues, pregnancy and then the second year a new born baby, so that was the excuse. Then three years later we had a second child and his excuse was then our kids were too little and we didn’t have anyone to leave them with.

Once my little one was over a year, I decided to get extra help on the weekends so that they could help with the babysitting and give us time to go out, but still nothing happened other than the odd movie date, which is ultimately the two of us sitting in silence in the dark watching a movie which although is sometimes nice, doesn’t really promote conversation or bonding.

His excuse is that we can’t afford to go out

Now when I bring up the issue, his first excuse is that we can’t afford to go out. when I point out that I am not expecting him to take me out to an expensive restaurant and buy me cocktails all evening or even foot the bill on his own, nor am I asking to go out every week. I will only suggest we go somewhere if I know I can foot the bill on my own or at least go Dutch with him as I hate asking him to pay for anything or buy me anything – I feel bad and guilty.
We are not poor not by a long shot, and we have a comfortable life. He only uses money as an excuse when it comes to me and the kids – he has plenty of money to splurge on throwing parties for his family and friends where I have to do all the work entertaining them, or when he goes out with his friends.

When I ask to go out once a year with him we can’t afford it suddenly, and when that excuse doesn’t hold up, he says that I’m too demanding and he can’t go out with me because I put too much pressure on him.

I asked to go on a date with my husband: how is that pressure?

Then he says I always want to go on fancy holidays. Our honeymoon was a surprise from him: I didn’t ask to go on an overseas honeymoon. Last year we both decided to go to India and we both saved for the holiday and went half and half on all the expenses.

Then I even give in and say if we can’t go out, we can try and at least spend time together at home. I make sure I make time for him every evening when the kids go to bed, but instead of spending time with me and chatting he will just ignore me and continue watching TV.

Then when I bring it up I am too demanding – all I do is want want want… and he can’t deliver all these things and he hates that I have all these fancy expectations and because my job isn’t as demanding I’m bored and spend the time coming up with all these ridiculous demands. His job is stressful so he doesn’t have time for all my crazy expectations.

Then in the middle of the night when I am fast asleep he expects me to want to be intimate with him

How can I be intimate with someone whom I don’t feel any intimacy with? During the course of the day we are two strangers in passing. We don’t cuddle or kiss or hold hands or talk or anything.

I feel that, since getting married I have lost my identity as a woman. I’m just a mother, who never has reasons to dress up anymore or reason to get excited anymore. I don’t get pampered or wined and dined, or even a compliment from the person who matters the most to me…

I used to put in an effort to dress up when we used to go out even though it was just the movies, but he will just come as he was in his ultra-casual wear and I would feel silly being overdressed so now I don’t dress up as much as I used to.
The thing is I just wanted to experience what it’s like going out as a couple and getting to know each other in a stress-free and fun environment. I often hear about how much fun he used to be and how outgoing he was and how he used to love going to clubs and shows and be the life of the party and I just wanted to experience that side of him.

I never did those things before as my parents were against it so I thought that when I married I would do these things with my husband. Am I being too unrealistic and demanding in my needs and what should I do?

Please help – I am so lost and I don’t want the distance between us to grow to such an extent that our marriage falls apart. I am trying so hard to keep it alive and strong but I need help as I can no longer do it on my own.
Desperate wife

Dear Desperate wife
Thank you for your letter. It sounds like you have a stable and secure marriage with a man that you can depend on.

You, like all woman who are not lying, or in a coma, want to be romanced and still feel loved and treasured.
I am sure that your husband, who seems to be hard-working and responsible in taking care of you and your children, is quite bewildered by your desire to go out on dates. He would be surprised to know that you feel unloved and invisible at times because he gets up every day and goes off to work hard to provide for you and the children!

Why do you think that he works so hard? In his mind, every day that he goes off to work he thinks you get the message that he loves you!
Clearly you want to have fun and you want your man to be with you when you’re out having fun. Unfortunately he is a little slow at joining those dots and all he experiences of the super fun you is the naggy cross part that can’t seem to get him out the door. If that is the appetiser to the date, he is thinking staying home and watching TV at least doesn’t require him getting out of his slippers. 
I know that while you are reading this article you are probably sipping your coffee and juggling your diary…it’s ok honey, go ahead and check that Whatsapp, I need to change the light bulb anyway… The point being that women can multi-task and men, well, not so much.

Even though you are not at fault, you are the one who is going to have to be doing some changing to ensure a different outcome

Now you’re trying to talk to him about where you want to go and he is completely engrossed in watching TV. You need to apply CPR to the remote if you require his undivided attention. (Cleavage Placement of Remote) You will find that he not only listens, but he actually turns completely away from the previously hypnotic screen to face you.

It sounds like your man would enjoy a fun night out – if he could time warp there

How about you try a different approach? Instead of trying to get him to agree to go somewhere, start the romance in captivity, so to speak.

See if you can get the kiddies out of the house, or soundly off to sleep and set a romantic candlelight dinner. (ESKOM has agreed to partner with you in this romantic endeavour.) Dress gorgeously, wear perfume and pretend that you are on a date, albeit with Mr Initially-grumpy.

Keep the conversation happy and light like in the whirlwind romantic days. No talk about the kiddie’s school project or the carpet cleaners that you want to get in. Be gracious if he doesn’t respond like Romeo who just stumbled upon his fair maiden.

You have had time to prepare and your man needs to mentally adjust. When he realises that you have gone to trouble to please him and there is no nagging and no catch he will start to thaw and enjoy the evening.

Grab him in the day, between the dirty dishes and laundry run and passionately kiss him

Don’t wait for him to do it. If you want a snippet of the whirlwind courtship back, you need to start by recapturing the lovely fun girl that your man chose to court!

Your man seems to be stuck in a rut with the way things are. He is content so (for now) he is not going to change anything. You want things to be better.

That means that, even though you are not at fault, you are the one who is going to have to be doing some changing to ensure a different outcome.

Men are very visual creatures. If you start making more of a daily effort in caring for yourself, he is going to notice. You have what it takes to make his heart beat faster. He seems to have forgotten that – it is time to put on that lipstick and spray that perfume and remind him!
You are beautiful!
Love and blessings