Why are husbands generally so unromantic?

Published: February 4, 2017

They are hardly expressive and prefer the company of their friends or sit in front of the TV sets rather than being intimate with their wives.

He comes from the office, and has not brought flowers or any small gift for her. She smiles quite genuinely and gets a half-hearted and fake smile in return. Once he is settled, instead of spending time with his wife, he sits in front of the TV and starts switching channels. He seems so engrossed in the TV that his wife has to call him several times to even evoke a mundane response like “hmmm”.

After managing to evoke a response, she tries to stir up a conversation and fails. She asks a question she has asked a million times before:

“Do you love me?”

The answer is a bland and needless to say hardly convincing,

Of course, I love you.”

She smiles, knowing that the answer is nothing but a rehearsed automated response.

The above behaviour strikes a chord with many wives around the world as this is how men generally behave. Wives commonly complain, and with justification, that even if their spouses are otherwise responsible, they take them for granted and do not show any desired romantic interest in them. They are hardly expressive and prefer the company of their friends or sit in front of the TV sets rather than being intimate with their wives.

I have asked several of my friends and their wives, and generally with minor differences, the story is the same. While some of the wives do acknowledge that their husbands are nice and are otherwise responsible, the emotional and romantic attention is often lacking. Some of them complained, and that too in front of their husbands, that their spouses are often ogling at other women in their presence!

Let me frankly acknowledge that the wives are correct to blame husbands here.

But what are the causes for this male behaviour? Why do husbands, including myself, behave like this? And let’s not forget that this behaviour is common across cultures.

I will not try to justify my own behaviour or for that matter the general male behaviour towards their spouses. I will merely try to introspect on why we are like that. Explaining reasons is not a justification.

It has to be understood that men and women, though equal, are different in many critical aspects. I am not trying to stereotype here or over-generalise, but the fact is that due to environmental factors (or the way we are brought up by the society) and evolution, men and women have developed different mating and sexual patterns. Men are generally much more prone to pursue multiple women. In fact, across most of the animal kingdom, males are like that. On the other hand, females are generally more selective.

This explains as to why even the male fantasy is seldom about one single woman but rather multiple women. The typical male hero (or a stud) is a guy who is a player. Male cinematic role models like James Bond are also not committed men but Casanovas. On the other hand, female fantasy mostly revolves around one person.

On the other hand, marriage by its very nature demands commitment. And there is a reason for that. Marriage is an outcome of collective realisation of the society that human offspring would need the father for a prolonged period of time. Thus primarily, marriage has arisen to ensure the security and proper upbringing of the young. In order to ensure that the male shows some responsibility on a consistent basis, marriage has to assume the form of a proper legal contract.

What I am trying to say is that marriage, despite being an extremely important institution, is not exactly in tune with the nature of men and consequently, tensions are bound to occur. Here I am not referring to tensions arising from the couple’s personal incompatibilities or due to society’s pressures, but on the tensions which arise due to pressures emanating from the very nature of marriage itself.

And in modern times, marriage in most of the cultures is devoid of polygamy. It is expected that men will stay faithful to one wife. Therefore for men, marriage is literally a lid, albeit temporary, on their natural tendency of polygamy.

Consequently, the majority of us, though initially excited when getting married, rapidly lose interest and continuously starts dreaming about other women. This is a fact which we husbands do not admit in front of our wives. We are thinking about other women, even in apparently intimate times, and are perfectly capable of harbouring sexual and romantic desires for other women while being in love with our wives.

Then what do we mean when we insist that we love our wives? Actually, we continue to love our spouses but the only thing is, its manifestation becomes different. Gradually, a wife becomes a person we care and provide for rather than the one we consistently and passionately desire romantically and sexually. The love for the spouse continues to exist but is expressed more through care and support rather than romance.

This also explains as to why we are far more prone to infidelity. The bolder and more lascivious amongst us go one step ahead and start pursuing extra marital affairs while still providing and caring for their wives.

In our daily lives, we continue to witness that despite apparently a happy marriage, a husband is found to be having an affair. In fact, compared to women, the percentage of men cheating, despite an apparently normal marriage, is far greater, thus lending credibility to the famous saying,

“For an extramarital affair a woman needs a reason and a man just a woman!”

On the other hand, women being biologically more selective about their mate have a settling down attitude once the mate has been selected in the form of a husband. Marriage in many ways signals real finality for her. Most of the women really try to make marriage work in every sense of the way.

There is thus a huge difference between men and women and in their attitudes, which in turn have been shaped by their respective evolutionary development, specific roles and expectations. These differences come alive with full pronunciation in marriage which actually amplifies them.

Due to this difference in outlooks and nature, it actually requires a greater effort from men. They have to constantly program themselves and be more attentive towards their wives. But unfortunately, majority of us do not even try. In fact, it is the wives who are often making the effort. The complaints of women are perfectly justified.

Men have to invest more in marriage rather than simply going by their natural instincts. Only by investing more and giving their spouses the deserved attention and respect, can a marriage actually work.

This post originally appeared here.


Raza Habib Raja

The author is a recent Cornell graduate and currently pursuing his PhD in political science at Maxwell School, Syracuse University. He has also worked for a leading development finance institution in Pakistan. He is a freelance journalist whose works have been published at Huffington Post, Dawn (Pakistan), Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Pak Tea House. He tweets @razaraja (twitter.com/razaraja?lang=en)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Hani Syed

    One of the best written articles. Written so precisely :)Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    i dont know
    pakistani women are barbaric, laraka, close minded, offended by everything, backward, over dramatic and they drain out all the passion.

    any sane man would opt out of marrying a typical pakistani womanRecommend

  • emma

    I dont think woman are going to stay selective any more because they are educated, financially independent .
    Here in pakistan men feel that naturaly they are polygamous and women r unigamous n they feel secure but this is not the reality
    Because of social and religious pressure woman behave as unigamous
    In westren countries women have extramarital affairs ,fun parties n they dont stick to man who is cheating on them
    Both enjoy their lives but family life for childrens become miserable,in pakistan woman are becoming financially independent and on work places they have now clear picture of male mentality.


  • SH

    I really hope this a satirical piece. Recommend

  • Blah

    An open marriage is the solution. Recommend

  • Bhatti

    Couldn’t agree moreRecommend

  • Blah

    Though ironically these same men would go insane if their wives are doing the same. C’mon women have fantasies too and the moment they start being expressive they are deemed as sluts. Waiting for an article from a bored wife’s perspective.Recommend

  • Farris Ashraf

    This article is pure BS. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Interesting article…..made me think…..hard.
    I am at that stage in my life when I can say hindsight is 20/20….and you have made some exceptionally good observations. It’s very simple, in order to make anything including a marriage work requires work from both sides…..what complicates this is the patriarchal environment we exist in.

  • Umar

    Marriage is not a lid on infidelity, but the religion is.Recommend

  • Hareem

    You have enforced your own stereotypes blaming biology for everything. We are just like that. God made us that way. But women? No . They are different.
    How very convenient. Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    wheres my comment??Recommend

  • farhan

    yup those aunties trap young men thenRecommend

  • farhan

    stupid article… men are wimps these days.. you try to be romantic.. nice guy these days suffer from there womenRecommend

  • Acton Naq

    There must be misunderstanding ,thats why ,

    Mir Muhammad Alikhan Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    It cuts both ways, believe me. Just blaming men is not right.Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    r u serious? read my commentRecommend

  • Saj

    Assuming most men in Pakistan have some sanity left once they arrive at a marriageable age, how would opting for a non-typical Pakistani women or a liberal progressive one be any better?Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    excuse me mind your language. how can u call pakistani men insane? u mean your types are the ones the kardashians take interest in?

  • Saj

    You implied Pakistani man were insane to marry typical Pakistani woman when you said..

    “any ‘sane’ man would opt out of marrying a typical pakistani woman”.

    And you’re excused, for your inability or unwillingness to answer the question.

    P.S. dont know nor care about kardashian or similar species.Recommend

  • Hani Syed

    What comment? And yes i am serious.Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    Um hi, hello. Maybe you have difficulty reading and now you’re here, trolling people in order to avenge for your past failures.

    I said any ‘ sane man ‘ NOT any sane PAKISTANI man ‘. Your unconscious bias proves your hatred towards men of Pakistani origin.

    Just because I used the word sane does not mean I was somehow magically implying that most Pakistani men are insane.

    Looks like someone just threw logic out of the window just to express their hatred.

    Regarding my comment about kardashians, I dont know what happened there but seems like experts at ET blog made my sentence unreadable in their failed attempted to censor it.

    I am saying that if you think Pakistani men are unworthy insane lazy people then what type of men interest you? The ones that modern progressive kardashian type women take interest in? Like the ones who rap, consume drugs, smoke weed, have total disregard for religion and have zero morals?
    Then good luck living your life with freedom that you so desperately yearn for. I’m sure spending the rest of your life with a rich weed smoking immoral crack head will be 100 times more purposeful and meaningful than marrying a backward pakistani man.Recommend

  • Ahmed Ata Khan

    Well done. Keep it up.Recommend

  • Hassan

    Being a doctor I would say male hormones are far more strong , vicious and harsh as compared to the females although psychology also plays an important roleRecommend

  • Saim Ali

    It’s almost sexist to suggest that women are ‘biologically programmed’ to do anything. People behave by social conventions that constantly evolve. The fact that its generally accepted that men can be allowed to not invest time for their wives while women must be devoted is purely a result of patriarchy.

    So Mr. Writer, stop with the pseudo-science and call out the issue for what it is. Although I guess I shouldn’t expect any better from a Huffington Post writer.Recommend

  • minerva

    that shows you didn’t study better in medical schoolRecommend