How can I get my partner to be more affectionate?

ama ask me anything boundaries effective communication limiting beliefs perspective relationship tips May 24, 2023

Dear Dr. Julie: How do I inspire my partner to be more affectionate, loving and communicative with me? Also, I would like him to be more adventurous and be willing to do more things with me.

--Not Feeling the Love

Dear Not Feeling the Love: There are a couple of things to consider here. The first is that he doesn't realize how much it means to you to be affectionate and communicative. I always like to start here because it minimizes your interpretation of why he is the way he is. If you talk with him about it, do so at a time when things are good between the two of you and neither of you are stressing about other things.

The second thing to consider is that this "just isn't him." He may not be a person who likes affection or feels the need to be communicative (beyond basic logistics). We might say it isn't his love language or we might guess that his personality just isn't structured that way or we might consider how he was raised and maybe he believes that being affectionate isn't "masculine."

Both of these issues also apply to being more adventurous and doing more things with you. Start with talking to him about it in a calm manner when the two of you are good with each other. 

Whatever you determine, I'd encourage YOU to be more affectionate with him. Hold hands, snuggle up to him on the couch, and express in words how much he means to you. He's likely to warm up to the affection and even appreciate it, even if he doesn't initiate it. 

Don't hold onto an expectation that he is going to initiate affection to show that he loves you if this "just isn't him." We have ways we express love and caring. Look for how he naturally shows it to you, not how you want him to. Accepting his Love Language is part of how to love people.

For more information on Love Languages, check out this blog post.

Do you have a question for Dr. Julie? Submit your question here. If your question is answered, it will appear in Dr. Julie's weekly newsletter and her blog.

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