How Can You Show Affection In A Relationship? 9 Best Date Ideas If Your Significant Other's Love Language Is Physical Touch
If you're in a happy, loving relationship, you could probably have fun doing just about anything with your partner, whether it's folding the laundry or playing mini golf. But even though every day might feel like a date, that doesn't mean you shouldn't also be making an active effort to keep the romance alive in your relationship by planning date nights for your partner that will make them feel loved and appreciated — which can be tricky, because not everyone expresses love in the same way. Fortunately, figuring out how to make your partner feel loved is as simple as learning which of the five love languages — Quality Time, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Words of Affirmation, and Physical Touch — they speak, then planning dates that coincide with their love language. So what does it mean for your dating life if your partner's love language of choice is physical touch?
"If someone’s love language is [physical] touch it means that they are fed by, need, and are brought joy and connection through touch," Patti Wood, nonverbal communication expert, tells Bustle. "They may feel depressed, stressed or unloved if they don’t receive enough touch and may not feel emotional intimacy with someone if that person does not fulfill their touch needs."
Armed with that knowledge, you can start finding little ways to show your partner you care while out on dates, like making sure to hold their hand while walking around or giving them a smooch when they say or do something sweet. "With dating, specifically with those whose love language is physical touch, I always encourage clients to sit side by side with their date or partner rather than sitting across from one another," Erica Arrechea, Professional Matchmaker at Cinqe Matchmaking, tells Bustle. "Sitting across from one another creates distance while sitting next to one another helps create more intimacy; it’s easier to touch their back, leg, hold hands, all romantic and physical acts of intimacy."
Just because your partner's love language is physical touch doesn't mean you have to be cuddled up 24/7: even the simplest, smallest forms of physical contact can make them feel loved by and connected to you. If you're looking for intimate date ideas that will allow you and your physical-touch-loving partner to connect, here are nine date night plans that will give you plenty of opportunities to get physical.
1. Share A Booth At A Diner
Date night doesn't necessarily mean you have to blow a week's pay at a fancy restaurant: instead, eat bacon and eggs at your local diner — and don't be ashamed to be that couple who sits next to each other in the booth.
"Sit side-by-side at the bar to eat dinner or side-by-side in a booth at a restaurant," Wood says. Without a table between you, it'll feel more intimate and provide more opportunities for little affectionate gestures, like resting your hand on your partner's leg or cuddling while you finish your milkshakes.
2. Go To An Amusement Park
You might not be able to do much cuddling when you're both strapped into a rollercoaster, but amusement parks are still a great date idea for anyone who likes physical affection — not only can you walk hand-in-hand all day, but the adrenaline rush you get from the rides is the perfect excuse to hug your partner.
"Fear allows us to reach out and touch to comfort," Wood says. So after you hop off a particularly wild ride, take a minute to embrace your partner before you set off in search of your next adventure.
3. Attend A Cooking Class
Whether you're culinary pros or novices, taking a cooking class together is a great way to spend date night with a partner who values physical touch.
"[Try a] cooking class with actual cooking side by side as you can reach out to show and help your cooking partner steps in the process," Wood says. Even if your partner doesn't need any help in the cooking department, you can still show your affection by hugging them around the waist as they cook (just make sure there are no knives or flames nearby before you approach).
4. Go For A Walk Or Hike
When you're in the mood for a low-maintenance date, try planning a route through your favorite park and taking an intimate stroll (or a hike, for all you ~active~ couples).
"[Go for] walks where you can walk side by side and hold hands, or hikes where you can offer a hand or touch to help," Wood says. Pro tip: if you want your walk to feel even more date-like, feel free to include pit stops for ice cream when planning your route.
5. Have A Picnic
Before it gets too chilly outside, plan an autumn picnic with plenty of snacks/booze: you can get cozy by cuddling up on a blanket and feeding each other chocolate-covered strawberries.
Want to (literally) heat things up? Build a campfire so the two of you will be warm enough to sit outside and cuddle all night long. "Sit around [a] campfire or fire pit — anywhere with a chill in the air so you can easily cuddle or hold hands."
6. Go To A Concert
Even though you're in a crowd of people, attending a concert with your partner can still be an intimate experience with plenty of opportunity for physical touch. "[Get] floor seats at an exciting concert where you are likely to stand and get pumped up by the music so [you] can touch or dance together to the music," Wood says.
Or, if low-key concerts are more your scene, book tickets at an outdoor venue: "[At an] outside concert, sitting on a blanket is a perfect cuddle opportunity," Wood says.
7. Take A Massage Class
What could be better for someone who loves physical touch than taking a massage class with their partner? After you get the basics down, you'll have the perfect excuse to rub one another... because practice makes perfect, after all.
"[Take] a massage class where you can practice on each other," Wood says. It's a win-win: your partner will feel appreciated, and you'll both learn how to give each other amazing massages — a skill that can't be overrated.
8. ...Or A Dance Class
If you're feeling up to a challenge, signing up for a dance class with your partner is both a super adventurous and super intimate date idea.
"Signing up for a couples dance class is a great date idea to build physical intimacy and trust with your partner," Arrechea says. "It’s a fun activity that’s based on touch and is perfect for those who are striving to build intimacy with the special person in their life."
9. Volunteer Together
You might be too busy to bear-hug, but there are plenty of moments for light and casual (but nonetheless intimacy-building) physical contact while doing something active like volunteering together.
"Plant trees for your local tree society or build houses for Habitat for Humanity or serve food at a shelter," Wood says "All opportunities to work together side by side offer touch time."
Ultimately, as long as you create intimate, affectionate moments and make an effort to incorporate that "touch time" into all your dates, your physical-touch-loving partner will enjoy any date night you plan — and best of all, they'll feel loved.