It's likely that you and your partner won't have the same approach to expressing affection for one another. If you happen to be the more affectionate one, it can be frustrating not to receive the same amount of affection from your partner. Changing your expectations and communicating your needs can help you deal with your partner.
Communicate your needs and concerns to your partner. Individuals differ in their communication styles, and your partner may not necessarily realize that your needs aren't being met. Tell your partner what isn't working for you. While you can't expect your mate to fulfill all of your requirements, it is possible things can change with time and by simply asking for more acts of affection. However, be clear about what you need. Don't assume that just asking for more affection will provide you with the kind you genuinely need.
Reinforce the affection your partner does provide. At its most basic level, positive reinforcement, according to Athabasca University, increases the likelihood that your partner will perform the desired behavior again. Positive reinforcement is easy to accomplish. Compliment a behavior by your partner that you want to occur again. You can focus on your partner's acts of affection and point out which behaviors make you feel closer to him. If your partner isn't very affectionate toward you, it can also help to make gentle suggestions that you later reinforce.
Increase opportunities for both of you to share affection. Whether it be snuggling on the couch or sitting together in the movie theater with arms entwined, doing things that support your feelings for one another also encourages affection. You may need to be the initiator in this case by suggesting activities. But this might also be all your partner needs to increase his own approach to being more affectionate. Be sure that your acts of affection aren't overshadowing his, and allow the affection between you to just happen.
Engage with your closest supports. Family members such as a sibling or parent or close friends can also provide you with a type of affection. If your partner is, by nature, less affectionate, it may be easier for you to simply accept what family and friends have to offer and seek other ways to get the affection and support you need. This does not imply, however, that you go outside of your relationship. Instead, it preserves your relationship and allows both parties involved to remain at their comfort level when it comes to displaying affection.
- Association for Consumer Research: The Role of Love, Affection, and Intimacy in Family Decision Research
- Betty Hardwick Center: Building Self-Esteem with Love, Affection and Attention
- Sociology of the Family: Chapter 5: Love and Intimacy
- Better Health Channel: Relationships and Communication
- Athabasca University: Positive Reinforcement Tutorial
Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.
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