Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for almost 12 years. We have been together for almost 20 years and have three beautiful children. The problem is that he has always needed more assurance of love than me — e.g., he asks, “Do you love me,” even though I constantly remind him that I love and appreciate him. It’s lately been more annoying because I just had a baby. I’ve done everything to show him love. I’ve even disregarded my doctors’ recommendations of the minimum time off intimacy, postpartum.
I’ve tried in many different ways to show him. I use verbal reassurance and I also show him by doing things I know he appreciates. The other day he asked me, “How much do you love me?” and I almost lost my temper. My husband has no loving relationship with his mother and everything he has tried to get her attention or for her to show him love of any kind has not been successful. I wonder if that could be the root of it all.
Help me understand what is it that my husband needs and what can I do differently. — Frustrated
Dear Frustrated: It’s not about anything that you can do differently. Tell him you love him a million times a day; it won’t be enough — not until he gets into therapy and processes his abandonment issues. Urge him to make an appointment today. Offer to go with him to the first session, if that helps him to take this step. With some professional help, he can begin laying the foundation of a healthy sense of self. Otherwise, your attempts to shore him up will be like trying to build a house on quicksand.
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