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Dear John,

     My husband has brought up the idea of a trial separation, saying he loves me but we lack a true physical and emotional connection. He is needy and has issues in the bedroom because he wants things “just so”. This leaves him unsatisfied with “just me”, and leaves me feeling “just plain inadequate”.

Looking back, I realize I haven’t tried to please him romantically. But if I had it wouldn’t have helped. His visions of perfection are grander than what I can give. I told him I was sorry he has baggage in the bedroom, and he said, “My baggage! What about your baggage?”

It is true that intimacy hasn’t been important to me, but I can’t help that. I’m just not emotionally needy like he is. My previous sexual experiences were few and awkward, but that wasn’t an issue because I never trusted guys enough to let them close enough to hurt me. If I have baggage, it doesn’t seem to affect me as much as my husband’s affects him.

How can I make him see that he needs to be less needy?

Signed,
No Need To Be So Needy

Dear No Need To Be So Needy
     If your husband is honest in telling you he loves you, might he also have honest reason for feeling disconnected? Instead of blaming his neediness, why not ask yourself what inhibits you from getting close to him or trying to please him? Maybe the fear of rejection keeps you from opening up; and yet, by not opening up, you are on the verge of being rejected.

It may be true your husband has baggage, but saying, “sorry about your baggage” implies that you have none of your own. This pins your problems as a couple solely on him. You also suggest that any baggage you do have doesn’t affect you as his affects him. But you acknowledge a history of dissatisfying romantic relationships. Your baggage is likely related to your inability to connect; therefore, the effect has been great, on you and on him.

Blaming your issues on your husband is like giving yourself a Get out of Jail Free card. But in the real world, we each must evaluate and modify our own bad behavior, or else risk being discarded and left playing solitaire. Concentrating on your own baggage might sound like a dicey proposition, but it will stop you from playing the blame game. And, ultimately, you will be better equipped to pass go with your husband.

Thanks for playing,
John



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