The Totally Legit Reason Your Partner Is Avoiding You

You have to meet their emotional needs before their physical needs.

Partner avoiding husband in bed Getty Images | Unsplash

So, you're not having nearly as much physical intimacy as you'd like to in your long-term relationship. This is a common complaint, yet still a serious issue. You already know that the frequency of intimacy typically fades as the newness of your relationship wears off. But knowing that's "normal" doesn't make it any easier to deal with, right? We tend to blame the decline on shifting hormones, our never-ending "to-do" lists, or just plain 'ol being tired but, the truth is — the biggest reason for couples being less intimate is ... resentment.


No one craves intimacy when they feel resentful towards their partner! It kills everything  trust, desire, connection, romance, fun …Why? Because it camouflages itself in insidious and covert ways; just like mold, it grows and festers in the dark. You can't see it or smell it (and, goodness knows, no one is talking about it) but you can feel it, and over time it kills relationships. But first, it kills intimacy and intimate connection. 

RELATED: The 5 Most Common Intimacy Issues Women Deal With

That tense lingering feeling between you and your partner when things aren't quite right — that's resentment. It's when the words aren't spoken directly but the sentiment oozes in tone, sarcasm, or even during bouts of the silent treatment and "eggshell walking." When your partner feels resentful towards you, they ultimately feel let down — unloved, unappreciated, and unimportant — leaving them with a sense that things are unfair and that a future with you is uncertain.  In what way did you let them down? Most likely the answer resides in your day-to-day exchanges, because underneath every request or expectation is a valid emotional need. Your loved ones typically feel let down (e.g. resentful) when you: 

  • Fail to do your share of the chores
  • Prioritize spending time with family or friends over them
  • Work too much or come home late, often
  • Plan activities for yourself but not for the two of you
  • Don't follow through on a promise
@withlovesabrinaflores ever felt like this in your relationship? these things can reaaaaally deteriote trust & intimacy! #healthyrelationshiptips #healthyrelationships ♬ original sound - Sabrina Flores

RELATED: 18 Signs You Or Your Partner Is Touch Starved And Needs More Affection

Having needs isn't needy; we all have them. And, in a partnership, we choose whether to honor those needs and agree to do our best to meet them ... or not. It's so easy to forget this in our daily routines, but resentment happens when these needs aren't met. We resent our partners for not fulfilling their promise to provide feelings of significance or certainty, and for sometimes causing us pain. On the surface, this may seem like the cliché, age-old battle of the genders. But, look a little deeper and you see through your partner's eyes:

  • When you take out the trash ... she feels cared for.
  • When you plan dates for the two of you ...  he feels special and your effort shows just how invested you are.
  • When you do the things you agreed to do... your partner knows you are reliable and truly there for them. 

RELATED: I Spent 7 Days Learning To Love Being Intimate With My Husband Again


So, while it may seem like your partner is nagging about the dishes in the sink — it has nothing to do with the dishes in the sink at all. If you suspect resentment is an issue in your relationship, this is great news! There isn't much you can do with hormonal issues or feeling fatigued, but you CAN turn your partner's resentment back into desire. To do so: Stop focusing on how much intimacy you're not getting and instead consider whether your mate feels loved by and important to you.

Are you meeting their basic emotional needs? If you want more intimacy in your marriage start with meeting their emotional needs more not badgering them about being physically intimate (which only increases feelings of resentment). When your partner feels loved, important, and cared for, they want to provide you with the same experience. And, this means more intimacy and a happy connection for you.

RELATED: 5 Critical Ways To Fix A Lack Of Intimacy In Your Marriage Before It's Too Late

Hilary Silver, LCSW is a therapist & relationship expert, who gives advice and strategies for keeping her client's relationship hot, healthy & happily ever after. She has been featured in Good Therapy, The Good Men Project, NBC, and Women's Health. and more.