When you and your partner are first starting out, it's easy to get carried away with emotions. Once time has passed and you have been together for quite sometime, there are probably a few things that you can do to improve your long-term relationship. One of them being more affectionate with your partner.
Every time I chat with my friends, they tend to bring up how they wish their partner was more romantic and/or affectionate. They hate how their relationship has become a routine. They wish that their partners would take them out on dates more, surprise them with gifts, or tell them how much they mean to them. People often think that once you're in a relationship — especially a long-term one — you don't really need to show how much you love that person, because that person should already know. When the person you are with doesn't feel attractive anymore, things can go south really quickly. I spoke with Sari Cooper LCSW, a licensed therapist and an AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist, who gave her tips on how to get your partner to be more affectionate, if that's something that seems to be missing from your relationship.
1. Express Your Feelings And Concerns
When you're trying to explain to your partner that you need more affection, try not to criticize them. Instead, express what you want and why it means so much to you. Use "I" phrases rather than telling them they're doing something wrong. Otherwise, your partner may feel like they are being attacked, which could make them shut down and stop listening to you. Find a good time to chat to them about your relationship and what you want to improve. According to Dr. Cooper, "It’s always helpful to start with a question. 'What signals do I give that let's you know that I love you?'” By changing your language around, you are allowing your partner and yourself to have an open conversation amongst each other, which will only help improve both of your needs.
2. Identify Your Love Language
Sometimes people express love in different ways. Some partners love to show their love through gifts, while others believe quality time is most important. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages there are five ways to love a person: through quality time, affirming words, meaningful gifts, physical touch, or acts of service. By identifying what you and your partner's love language is, it will help each of you understand how to please each other. Each person is different, so it's possible that your partner is giving you affection, just not the type you need.
Don't be afraid to be a little playful with your significant other. By being cute with them, it will bring back happy memories of when you both first started to go out. Cutely touch their butt without them expecting it, tickle them in bed, or make them laugh by telling a fun joke. These little things will go a long way and will open the doors for your partner to be affectionate, too.
4. Don't Doubt Your Emotions
If you feel you need more attention in your relationship, then take charge and show your partner exactly how you want them to be more affectionate. If you want them to be more physically affectionate, tell them how you want them to touch you. If you want them to be more loving with their words, tell them that you love it when they say positive affirmations about you. Maybe your partner doesn't know how to show you how they care because you never told them exactly what you like. Dr. Cooper explains, "It’s important for couples to request what they are looking for and what’s important for them to feel intimate and close with their partner." By being assertive and confident in what you want will not only turn your partner on, but will clearly illustrate to them exactly what you want.
5. Be Understanding And Compassionate
If your partner isn't usually the affectionate type, give them time to warm up to the idea. It might be hard for you to understand why they are not romantic and it can be very easy to take it personally. But if you see them making an effort, even if it's just a little bit here and there, express to them how much that means to you and continue to be affectionate back. “You always have to give positive reinforcement when your partner is making shifts in their behavior. You will notice their positive behaviors when the shift doesn’t come naturally to them," Dr. Cooper explains. When your partner sees how understanding you are, they might be more open to being romantic.
6. Remember To Give And Be Affectionate Too
Romantic relationships are a two way street. If you're hoping that your partner will be more loving, you have to put in the time to give them attention too. “Have that discussion with them and find out what their top three ways of receiving love are," says Dr. Cooper. Once they start to see how good this makes them feel, they will probably reciprocate that feeling back to you. You don't just want to do this to receive affection for yourself, but you do want to make sure that this relationship is equal on both sides by showing how much you love them and not just expecting affection only from them.
When it comes to love, it can be hard to maintain if you don't have open communication. Being affectionate with your partner involves a lot of effort. Like with any relationship, you need to nurture it to maintain a healthy stable connection between the both of you. Hopefully with these tips, you too can feel like your relationship is growing in a positive way by showing how much you both care for each other.
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