He’s not romantic or affectionate. Can I change him?

He’s not romantic or affectionate. Can I change him?

hes-not-romantic-or-affectionate-2I’ve been dating this guy for over 9 months now. We live an hour away and see each other on the weekends and sometimes during the week. The issue is, he’s not romantic at all.

I come from an affectionate family of huggers, and I’ve met his family and they are not the hugging type. I constantly tell him that I need affection and romance. I even broke up with him for about two weeks over this, and he had said he wanted to be romantic towards me, but has not come through. He says he’s trying but I don’t see it. He couldn’t even pick an appropriate Mother’s Day card, and as my birthday approaches I’m worried that he either sucks at gift giving or doesn’t care, and that will be a catalyst for me to go crazy.

I’ve talked with him about it over and over again about my need for him to be romantic. Is there anything more I can do to bring it out in him? I’m frustrated, I care about him, but I’m hurting myself over not getting my needs met. Jakuk

Can people change? I like to think so, yes – if they really want to. Can people who aren’t romantic by nature change? Maybe, but I think it’s a tall order, given my dating history with men like yours. One ex in particular was the poster boy for being unromantic and unaffectionate. Presents were always appliances, and he reminded me on special occasions that he ‘didn’t do’ cards. He also didn’t do flowers, believing they were a waste of money because they, you know, were already DEAD. Fun times.

I’m realistic about the fact that we don’t get everything we need in a relationship – but some things are non-negotiable. Are romance and affection your non-negotiables? I think you need to figure out if you can weigh up this guy’s positive points, accept that he may never have it in him to give you what you need, and decide if you can get your head around it. There’s no shame in admitting you can’t. Some people, much as we like or love them, just aren’t a good fit for us and moving on will be easier now than after years spent hoping he might change into the guy you wish he was.

Love, reality chick

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. linda 8 months ago

    the best way to hope any person can change undesirable habbit is by showing them good ones to learn by,not every one had parents that hugged and kissed and were lovie dovie and certainly most in distant times were not very openly affectionate is wasn’t proper,not in our home growing up..but some how I decided I didn’t want that kind of cool love for my life,my children,and me I didn’t want anything like my parents marriage so I changed me I showered my husband (then boy friend) with all the love and affection I desired in my life it took some time but he got better with time…he will never be romeo but he makes the effort and picks beautiful cards,no reason to be angry if someone never learednwhat you did just teach them,lovingly ..no man will respond to “you dont do this” or “you don’t do that” it just makes them defensive and he will shut down and he wont want to give anything…Give and you shall receive.. 😉

  2. Lola 5 years ago

    I agree, great advice! 🙂
    Affection can be expressed in a million different ways, including (but not restricted to) romanticism. Some guys (and also girls) don’t do romanticism; it isn’t in their nature and they even feel it’s embarrassing. I’m one of those people. Possibly I was a bit romantic in my twenties, but these days can’t even come up with a romantic idea, let alone attitude. That doesn’t mean I don’t admire or even envy those who are indeed romantic.
    However, when it comes to affection, that’s a different kettle of fish altogether. We all have our ways of expressing affection, and they’re equally valid. I don’t mind receiving an electronic gadget for my birthday (actually, I’m a geek). It’s the intention that counts. Some people get it wrong the first time they buy a gift for that special someone, but they do learn as they get to know their beloved well.
    Jakuk, move on if you must, but don’t mistreat or taunt a good guy if he isn’t romantic. He probably is affectionate in his bad old way, but it seems to me that the two of you are mismatched. All the best.

  3. Alison 5 years ago

    Excellent advice reality chick !

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