The request may be direct: “I want you to be more romantic or sexy,” or you pick up from the need system of your spouse that s/he thinks it would be wonderful if you were more romantic or sexy, to meet his/her needs.
As a male you are asked to be more romantic. If you are a typical male, this strikes a scary cord within.
Romance is a loaded word.
You think of some stud, with piercing eyes and sly soft smile who knows how to whoooo a woman and “sweep her off her feet.” You are expected to say the right thing at the right time with a particular tone of voice and body language.
Flowers, chocolates, staring into her eyes in the moonlight, love filled text messages, cards which express your undying passionate love and words that frequently express how much you want her become your model.
And, deep within you, maybe not so deep, you realize that you feel terribly inadequate being that stud.
You cannot measure up. You may feel inadequate with words in expressing your deep feelings of love.
You think of the sexual encounter and again, you may not be the sensitive caring stud you believe she wants.
If you are a female, you may carry the weight of believing you must be sexy.
You must be provocative.
Of course you must look sexy.
You must turn him on.
Your breasts, you legs, your abs, your rear become the focus of your attention. You work hard to “strut your stuff” so that you can, as they say, “keep your man.”
You must be alluring. There needs to be a little mystery about you.
And, of course, when he is turned on you must be ready, waiting and responsive.
You know how important sex is to him and realize that those moments may be the moments in which he feels closest to you and values you the most. He equates sex with romance.
It is understandable that you pull away, as perhaps, a part of you internally rebels at either romance or sexiness.
When your spouse or partner indicates a need for romance or sexiness, it is just that: neediness.
And, at some level you want your relationship and marriage based on more than the constant empty games of romance and sexiness.
As well, an underlying tension, a fairly large elephant in the room, spoils your mood and undercuts the enjoyment of your spouse and your relationship as you flirt with being romantic or sexy.
Romance and sexiness demand a performance on your part.
Romance and sexiness are not love.
You must measure up to being romantic and sexy as defined in the movies, tabloids, advertising and other forms of media that tell you whom you must be to be romantic and sexy.
Who wants to perform in a marriage?
Who wants to live up to artificial cultural illusions?
I don’t and I assume you don’t either.
Consider this also: pulling away or distancing in your marriage or with your partner is often interpreted as you lacking “feelings” or “sensitivity.”
I’ve worked with literally thousands in my clinical practice and I can assure that you, as a man, or “emotionally remote” woman HAVE feelings.
Your spouse may be the one who seemingly majors in feelings; seems more expressive or at least is more verbal. (Frequently, having “feelings” means one is entitled to express frustration, anger, disgust or self-pity, which deflect from the underlying more accurate feelings of hurt or fear.)
And, is often the case, a balance is achieved in a marriage whereby one is more expressive and the other more reserved. Each comes to rely on the other for either being expressive or reserved – perhaps a good problems solver or thinker.
You have feelings.
They are real.
They are powerful.
They DO exist.
They have validity.
Your challenge may be first identifying your underlying feelings (you perhaps haven’t had to, to this point) and stating those feelings in ways that honor you and get the response you truly desire from your significant other.