I’ve always been a very physically affectionate person. I have come to recognize that for me, I associate affection with love. As an adult I have found that I have gravitated towards men who are also physically affectionate. Now, at 25, I am in a relationship with someone who is not. And what a shock that was. It took me a while to adjust to this new foreign kind of personality. So I wanted to share some lessons I learned through the experiences of my relationship.
I tend to be a very emotional person, as I‘m sure many woman can relate to. For someone who is very affectionate, to not have that same kind of affection returned can be very hurtful. The first thing I had to do to get over the hurt was to pay attention to other ways he was showing love. When you are someone who uses those two things interchangeably, you first have to be able to recognize that you have to have one to have the other. I came to realize that just because my boyfriend didn’t lovingly graze my arm every time he walked by or didn’t kiss me anytime he left the room didn’t mean he didn’t love me or have affection for me. He showed his affection in other ways: a note on the counter in the morning telling me to have a wonderful day or cleaning up the dinner dishes while I took a bath. He does so many little things every day without physical affection.
Finding other ways to show you care can also help. Finding ways to express your love and affection can help you see all the little ways he is showing you. I started writing love notes for his lunches at work, baking his favorite cookies for dessert, just trying to do little things throughout the day to make us feel a little bit closer, and a little bit more connected during the day.
Another way that the lack of affection affected me was in our sexual relationship. Physical affection was always the start for me of wanting more, of wanting to move it to the bedroom. Without that cue, I had started to feel extremely unwanted. Talking to my fiancé about how that made me feel helped. We talked about ways we could both work better on our communication to strengthen our sexual relationship. Through this communication we learned so much more about each other and our likes and dislikes both in the bedroom and out. It also opened up a dialogue on how important affection is to me, which has improved the quality of affection I receive from him. I had never thought I had to explain how important it was to me, because I had never been involved with someone who didn’t show as much as me. Sometimes we get stuck in our own mindset and forget that there is a completely different way of thinking about it.
Being with someone who was not physically affectionate created a lot of challenges for me as a person. I had to learn many things over again, but I think that it has helped me to have a stronger relationship than I have ever had before. We had to learn things about ourselves and each other that we had never visualized before. I hope that someone can read this and feel a little more secure in their relationship and be able to find a way to open up and show affection in different ways.