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Lack of affection

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My girlfriend of 1 year is struggling to be intimate with me, not just sex but cuddling and kissing. She was physically and mentally abused in her last relationship which lasted 2 years and had a unloving upbringing as a child which she says is why she never shows affection because she "doesn't know how to". She knows this hurts me because I do not understand how you cannot want to hug and kiss the person you are in love with. She has improved since I met her, she was mentally ill whilst in the abusive relationship and she is alot happier now. She says I pressure her into giving me kisses and hugs, even sex. I've told her I need affection in a relationship but I do not intentionally pressure her, I could never hurt her I love her so much I'm just unsure how I can help her and how I can get her to understand how much she is hurting me. I know shes troubled I just dont know how to handle it.

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replied December 30th, 2009
Relationships and Marriage Answer A8794

Just as you can not understand how you cannot want to hug and kiss the person you are in love with, she cannot probably understand how you cannot love a person without hugging and kissing. It is simply a matter of different experiences through childhood.

The wounds of physical and emotional abuse take time to heal.

You are probably wondering if this is going to continue the same way and if you are ever going to experience physical affection as well as emotional closeness. Your concern is valid. But do not make assumptions as yet. You have mentioned that she has improved over the last one year. You will probably have to be more patient. She will need some time and space to sort things out in her mind before she can open up and be close to you.


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