The affectionate texts no longer appear on your phone during work. He’s stopped holding your hand in public. The cuddle sessions on the couch have turned into him going downstairs to watch the game. Or, he was just never big on cuddling to begin with: Instead of wrapping his arms around you, his hands are routinely folded neatly in his lap. Whatever the case, you can make your boyfriend more affectionate by a taking these clear, distinct actions.
Enforce positive behavior. Mat Boggs, author of “Cracking the Man Code,” explains in videos that the man in your life wants to be your hero. Boggs suggests ditching the guilt trips (which drive men away), and instead, elicit affection through positive suggestions. For example, instead of complaining that he never dances with you, say to him, “We had such a great time going to Riazzi’s and dancing a few months ago. It made me so happy. Do you think we could do that again soon?” Focus on and state what you want from him in a positive, upbeat way.
Begin to withdraw affection. Curb your clinginess to light the spark in the relationship. Though it may be counterintuitive, Sherry Argov states in her book, “Why Men Love Bitches,” that men are attracted to confident women who show no signs of neediness. She says a sense of distance can make him fear losing you, which in turn inspires him to win you over.
Show him with actions instead of words that he needs to give affection to get it. Instead of giving him more affection in hopes that he’ll get the hint, start to pull away and gauge his reaction. Remain positive and upbeat during this time, but keep the hugging and affection to a minimum.
Reinvest in yourself to draw him back in. Recall how you behaved when you first dated him: You were likely easy-going, confident, invested in your personal interests, enthusiastic and basically the best version of yourself. Now think of how you act today around him and assess your level of positivity: Are you still optimistic, energetic and invested in your hobbies and passions?
If not, think about the reasons why you have changed, and try to regain part of your old self, pre-boyfriend. Spend time with the girlfriends, get back into dance classes, cook that meal you have always wanted to make and become that fun-loving person.
If he is simply shy and you wish to encourage more affection, take the lead. He may be holding back out of respect for your standards, so you need to define them for him verbally or by showing him: Grab his hand while going out for a walk, link your arm in his at the movie theater and sit close to him on the couch.
However, if he shows discomfort at your advances, take things slowly. Wait for him to progress at his own speed.
If the above methods fail to work, you may have relationship issues that need addressing, such as his intimacy issues or past relationship baggage. Have a rational conversation expressing your concerns about the lack of affection. Keep this talk devoid of guilt trips and emotional outbursts. Ask him if he knows any potential reasons for the disconnect between the two of you, and try working out any relationship issues that arise from the discussion.
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- Warning: If he is still not affectionate, re-think the relationship. Should he fail to give you the time, attention and affection you need to be happy, you may be better off with a person who can satisfy those needs.
Since 2008 Catherine Capozzi has been writing business, finance and economics-related articles from her home in the sunny state of Arizona. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in economics from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which has given her a love of spreadsheets and corporate life.