With most relationships, physical chemistry usually starts out hot and heavy. The relationship is new and exciting, so it seems like you're constantly getting intimate. But as time passes and you start to feel comfortable with bae, it's normal to feel that constant craving for intimacy start to simmer. You and your partner could be totally in love, but that doesn't mean that you constantly have to be touching every night. But there's a difference between that, and feeling physically rejected, or like there's no intimacy whatsoever. When your partner isn’t affectionate anymore, it might feel unsettling and genuinely not-great. However, according to an expert, there could be a lot more going on with your than meets the eye, so don't freak out just yet.
"Sometimes a partner withdraws affection because he or she is struggling with stress, mental health issues, illness, or trauma, and they are inwardly focused and stop paying attention to you," Brian Jory, relationship expert, and author of Cupid on Trial: What We Learn About Love When Loving Gets Tough, tells Elite Daily. Basically, a decline in affection from your partner doesn't have to mean that they don't desire you.
Of course, that could be just one explanation for why you're noticing that your partner is withdrawn and not being as affectionate as they usually are. Jory adds that they might also be upset with you, not in the mood for what usually follows affection or intimacy, or in the worst-case scenario, not in love with you.
That's not exactly an easy pill to swallow, but Jory adds that it's important to recognize. If your partner doesn't want to be affectionate anymore, then something might be up. "If the reasons have to do with loss of love, often there is not a lot that can be done," Jory says. "It’s difficult to get love back once it goes. Love is what fuels trust, affection, [and] intimacy, and once it goes you can be in an empty shell, residing together but living alone." However, Jory adds that not all is lost just because your partner is pulling away, and you can work on getting that affection back.
"The first thing is to talk about how their lack of affection feels to you," Jory says, of addressing the issue. "Do you feel empty in their coldness? Do you miss their touch or kind words? Express your own feelings rather than blame your partner," he suggests. "This shows that you respect their reason for pulling away from you and are willing to consider their feelings. Blaming them for pulling away only drives them farther away."
Specifically, Jory says to try and remember that you and your partner once had a connection, even if it feels like it's gone now. "One way to regain affection is to focus on the positive," he explains. "Being happy, positive, giving compliments, and building up your partner is more likely to draw them back to you. Negativity only drives them further away." While it isn't ideal, as Jory says, loss of affection in a relationship also isn't the end of the world. Focus on the good, but also remember that you deserve a loving and supportive partner. Sometimes, he adds, when your partner stops being affectionate, it's a sign that it might be time for you both to move on.