One of the most common themes I hear is unequal affection between two spouses. Everyone wants to feel special, valued, and understood. And when enough times go by that your spouse doesn’t feel these things, they will probably tell you. Sometimes he tells you in words. Other times it tells you with actions. Sometimes you get both actions and words. This can seem very unfair when, in your mind, you love him very much and do your best to show it to him.
A wife might explain this kind of scenario: “My husband has always been insecure in our relationship. I think he’s handsome, but he’s not. He’s always said that people probably don’t know what I see in him.” It’s true that I had a lot of boyfriends before him and men still look at me quite often. But I honestly try not to realize this, because I don’t care. I’m married. I’m engaged. So far as far as I’m concerned, you don’t need to think about this. But my husband thinks about it a lot. And it seems that he himself has convinced himself that I do not love him enough. She has many friends and co-workers who are married to younger second wives and these bimbos fall in love with her husband and bow down to his every whim. I would never do that. I have more intelligence and dignity than that. I tell my husband that I love him all the time. We have been married for many years, so obviously this would not be the case if I did not love him. Still, he will point out times when ys wasn’t attentive enough or where I didn’t pamper him enough or notice something was going on with him. He was angry that I didn’t get off work to attend a conference with him. If I don’t ask him about an important presentation at his work, he says I don’t care enough to realize what’s going on in his life. This is kind of silly to me as I have my own work life and I certainly don’t expect him to know everything that goes on in my own work or to react to it. However, I feel like I have to listen to him because more and more he’s started making little comments about the breakup or just accepting the fact that he should have known all along that our marriage would never work out. I want our marriage to work, but I still think his claims are silly. I love him more than enough, but he is insecure and has it in his head that he is not attractive or that he does not deserve me. Your perceptions are not my fault. “
I can understand your frustration. It can be upsetting to see someone project their own values onto you when you really don’t deserve it. It’s certainly not your fault that you’ve always felt a little unsure of yourself. Still, at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself what would be worse: potentially separating or divorcing and not having your spouse at all or finding little ways to boost your confidence and make you feel loved. If you are still interested in your marriage, it is probably the latter.
Sometimes you don’t need to go overboard to boost your confidence and show a little more affection. Sometimes all you’re looking for is effort. It’s certainly worth trying, every day, to notice something to compliment you on. This is a very small endeavor that can pay huge dividends. You should also make sure to show physical affection regularly. Brushing his hand, putting his arm around him, or giving him a hug or kiss takes literally a few seconds, but it can mean that you hear him complain a lot less.
I know it is probably very tempting to try to make him see that he is being very petty and insecure. But honestly, this kind of conversation could make you even more insecure. The best antidote to an insecure spouse is to try to build your confidence. I know this may seem like you’re giving her exactly what she wants, but try to see it from her side. How would you feel if you thought that he is more handsome than you and if you perceived that everyone thinks that you are not good enough for him and that you do not deserve him? Perhaps this is how your husband feels right now. Add that to the fact that he does not perceive that you are showing him the affection he wants, and it probably hurts him quite a bit (whether it is justified or not).
If you can keep reminding yourself that his pleas are based on your own fear and not on a true and accurate reflection of yourself, then it is easier to approach him with empathy and patience. Just remember that at the heart of this is a person who, deep down, is afraid of losing you. This perspective makes it easier to offer you peace of mind. That is potentially all you are looking for, although your method is not very good.