No matter how much we care for someone, intimacy does not always come naturally. It can take a lot to know how to show affection.
As much as we love and care for our partners, it is not always easy to know how to show affection. The same way that some people would describe themselves as touchy-feely, others have a tough time with intimacy.
Essentially, affection is your fondness of someone. You may know you care for your partner, but without showing it, how will they know?
Relationships work when both partners are open and honest, even about the stuff you think would be obvious. You can never assume that your partner knows how you’re feeling. Showing your affection is vital. [Read: 25 sweetest romantic gestures for everyday life]
Do you know how to show affection in a relationship?
Affection can be shown through both small touches and epic gestures. In fact, you may be showing more affection than you think.
Affection is shown when you make your partner’s coffee for them or do the dishes without being asked. It is shown when you kiss them goodbye before work or cuddle up on the sofa after a long day.
Sure, affection is seen when you go out of your way to plan a romantic candlelit dinner and spread rose petals on the floor too. But, show affection in a way that feels right to you and in a way your partner will receive it.
If giving a gift is how you show affection that is great, but your partner may see that as a cop-out. Your partner may prefer to show affection through spending time together or through physical touch.
So, just like everything else in your relationship, showing affection is something you should talk about and discuss. Understand how your partner best receives that affection and how you do too. [Read: 20 questions to ask your lover to learn everything you need to know]
How to show affection in a relationship
When you figure out how to show affection in a relationship, it is all about the partnership. If you showed affection to your ex through acts of service like helping them move or building them a bookshelf, that may not correspond to your current relationship.
If your partner showed affection to their ex through only intimacy and physical touch, you would want them to show affection to you how you best feel it, not how they are used to showing it. [Read: 16 non-sexual touches that’ll make anyone feel connected and loved]
Yes, this can make us uncomfortable at first. Showing affection in new ways gets us out of our comfort zone. But that is what relationships are all about.
Showing affection is necessary to keep your relationship strong and healthy. Never assume that your partner knows how you’re feeling and vice versa. Making that known through signs of affection is how you remain close and connected.
Apart from talking to your partner and figuring out how you can best show affection to them, there are quite a few things both big and small to show affection in a relationship.
#1 Know their love language. Not only should you show affection by knowing what your partner best responds to, but just the process of learning their love language and wanting to show affection is in itself showing affection.
Love languages are the ways in which we show and receive love. These can be words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, gifts, and quality time. If you are unsure about this, there are quick quizzes you can take online to get more insight into your relationship. [Read: How to talk to your lover about your relationship]
#2 Pay attention. You may think you are paying attention to your relationship, but often times we fall flat. Just because we sit with our partner and eat a meal, it does not mean we are fully present.
With phones, work, and the internet, we are so easily distracted. Take time in your relationship to be 100% present. Turn off your phones and just be together. Talk about the important stuff and really pay attention and interact.
#3 Support them. Couples succeed when they have their time together and time apart. But, even their separate endeavors like work, should be supported. Whether you are privy to your partner’s field or not, listen and be a sounding board for them.
Cheer them on and congratulate them when they accomplish something. This can go for work promotions, completing a marathon, or finishing a painting. [Read: How to show someone you love them with more than mere words]
#4 Take the time. We all have busy lives, but relationships thrive off of effort. One of the best ways to show affection in a relationship is to take the time. Whether this means planning a date night once a week or an hour every day away from everything, do what feels right to you.
We often get comfortable in our relationships and stop putting in the effort. But that is how you lose affection. If you put the effort in and make time for each other you create a space of affection.
#5 Talk. I do not mean talking about kids or work or when the garbage gets picked up. Really take the time to talk. You can always learn more about each other.
Remember when you first started dating, how you could talk for hours? You had so much to share. Just because you and your partner know a lot about each other doesn’t mean there isn’t more to discuss. [Read: 25 topics all happy couples talk about often]
#6 Appreciate them. Say thank you. It really is that easy sometimes. When you are busy or overwhelmed, it can be hard to show affection in the bigger ways. But telling your partner how much you appreciate them making dinner or just being there for you is so important.
We get used to them being around and do our laundry or pick up groceries that we overlook these things. By simply saying thank you and acknowledging all they do for you, you show affection. [Read: How to show your appreciation to someone you love]
#7 Touch. Touch is so important in any romantic relationship. It can be hard to show affection without it. It may not come naturally to you based on your past relationships or your family.
But actively reminding yourself of these small touches can make a big difference. Just resting your hand on your partner’s leg at dinner, wrapping your arm around their back, or rubbing their shoulder’s after a long day says a lot more than you might think. [Read: Skin hunger and why humans crave for this]
#8 Cuddle. Cuddling is an overlooked part of showing affection in relationships that have lost their affection. Moments where healthy couples cuddle, they will not.
Next time you’re watching a movie or TV, just lean on your partner’s shoulder. It means more than you think. Look back at the early days of your relationship. The first time you cuddled meant a lot, and it still means just as much, even if you are used to it.
#9 Kiss. Try not to go a day without a kiss. Something as simple as a kiss before work or before going to sleep can reignite that spark. It reminds you both of your closeness.
It is hard to kiss someone you don’t have affection for, so that kiss shows the affection you do have. [Read: How to be more affectionate in a relationship and show them you care]
#10 Write notes. In this age of non-stop texting, handwritten notes mean a lot. You do not need to write a love letter or a poem. Something as simple as leaving a Post-it on the fridge saying that you are thinking of them or can’t wait to see them after work is shows affection.
When you think about how to show affection in a relationship, it is not that complicated. Listen to your partner to show affection through almost everything you do.