Affection is the physical expression of feelings. Affection is usually associated with love and lasting relationships because when expressed consistently, it brings people together. Studies have shown that children who receive a lot of physical affection during their childhood grow up to be less stressed adults. Other studies have shown that partners who share a lot of physical affection are more satisfied with their relationship.
Method 1 of 3: Increase affection through touch
Step 1. Know how to recognize any discomfort
Some people, due to their personalities, family history, or intimate issues, are uncomfortable with touch. It will then be difficult for them to initiate or appreciate a physical mark of affection, such as a caress, a hug, a hug, or simply holding hands.
- Deal with your fear of physical contact or intimacy. Accept your fear and determine where it is coming from. You might find it helpful to realize that your fear is probably unrelated to your current partner or your current situation. Try to get past your block.
- Talk to your partner, tell them you are feeling unwell, and explain why. Ask him to be patient. Physical signs of affection may come to you more easily once you get to know the person better and address the root of your discomfort with physical intimacy. In addition, by working on communication within your relationship, you will develop a more loving and stronger relationship.
- Talk to a professional. A professional can help you deal with the negative emotions associated with your fears and overcome your reluctance to show physical affection. If you don't want to see a professional, you can write down how you feel in a journal or express your feelings in another way.
- Make a habit of showing your physical affection. Take your partner's hand, touch their shoulder or hug them as often as possible. Over time, showing your affection physically will become easier and more natural for you.
Step 2. Plan time for cuddling with your children or partner
Touch helps relieve pain and stress and can help people cope with difficult times and strengthen their relationship. Set aside time each day to hug your family to promote good physical and psychological health. Romantic evenings, evening stories, and even watching TV can all come with hugs.
Step 3. Give your hand
Whether with your partner or with your children, holding hands is a quick and painless step that can really strengthen a relationship. In fact, this is probably one of the easiest ways to quickly increase the physical affection you show to another person. Whether you are walking to the bus stop, wandering the supermarket shelves, or sitting on your couch, reach out to that person who matters to you and take their hand.
Step 4. Include physical touch in your list of health goals
Physical contact with your children and your partner will allow your brain to produce oxytocin, the hugging hormone, which helps lower blood pressure. Physical contact will also help your body reduce its production of the stress hormone cortisol. Physical contact activates the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain that handles feelings of satisfaction and may even boost your immune system.
Step 5. List healthy ways to physically show affection
The physical affection will be each touch intended to boost the feelings of affection or love, in the donor or in the recipient. Write down your list so you can come back to it later. Then, set a goal to apply each point on your list, several times during the week.
- To show your affection, you could for example: kiss your partner, massage him, caress him, cuddle him, hold his hand. There might also be methods specific to you or your relationship that could show your love as well.
- While it may take 21 days to develop a new habit, how long it takes will actually depend on each person. Come back to this list for several months, in order to definitely get into the habit of physically expressing your affection to your loved ones.
Step 6. Give small, loving pats
To share moments of laughter with your partner, try loving naps. You could squeeze him gently, give him a shoulder or knee, a little slap to play, push him gently, or gently ram your fist into his ribs. Make sure it doesn't bother your partner and never hit them hard, hurt or bruise them.
Step 7. Hug your feet
You can hug your partner's legs with yours, kick them under the table, put your feet on their knees or vice versa. This will bring you physically closer to each other and help you stay aware of your partner's presence if you are sitting face to face. Remember that any physical contact intended to show affection is a form of physical affection.
Step 8. Try a massage
Along with other forms of physical affection, massage can help strengthen your relationship. In addition, massages have many health benefits: they help fight stress, promote good blood circulation and the passage of nutrients through the body, and help relieve pain. For all of these reasons, a back massage, foot massage, or full body massage are great ways to show physical affection. Your partner will appreciate the gesture and likely return the favor.
Method 2 of 3: Work on verbal affection
Step 1. Verbally affirm your feelings
Affirming your feelings through words, such as saying “I love you” or “I care about you”, is an important way to strengthen a relationship, and it will benefit you both physically and mentally. Don't let emails and texts replace your oral expressions of affection. If you are far from those you love, give them a call: the exchange will be more personal, even if it will take more time.
- Verbal expressions of affection are the words you say to affirm your feelings of love and affection and to make your partner feel loved. These words could be unique to you and your partner, as long as you know what you are saying reinforces your affection for each other and triggers the emotions you seek.
- If you must communicate through electronic devices, end your messages with "I think of you" or "I miss you", instead of a more traditional phrase.
Step 2. Know how to handle a long distance relationship
Realize that long-distance relationships require more verbal affection. Since you won't be able to physically touch yourself and develop your bond in this way, you will need to tell your partner how you feel about them more often. This is important for maintaining your bond and strengthening your feelings of security, comfort, and trust. If possible, use Skype or Google Hangout so you can look each other in the eye and read each other's body language as you speak.
Step 3. Compliment someone who matters to you every day
Compliments are a way to show verbal affection and help build self-esteem, show them that they care about you, and make them feel good. Plus, compliments motivate people to be successful because they think they can. However, always make sure that your compliments are sincere or your words pass as mere flattery.
- Look for things that you admire, that you like about this person, or things that they are good at, and compliment them on that. It could be how she looks, a feature of her face that you like a lot (like her eyes or lips), a trait of her personality, her accomplishments, how you feel about her. presence or know-how that you admire.
- Be honest and don't pass up opportunities to compliment the people you care about. Tell your wife that she has beautiful eyes when you look at her or say “you complete me”, if that is true. Tell your husband “you look great in that shirt” when he's getting ready for work or “you're a really good cook” when he's making breakfast for you. Tell your child “you are so smart” when he presents his report card to you or “you are very good at sports” after his workout.
Step 4. Greet your partner or children when they get home
Stop what you are doing and interact with your partner and children, so that they will notice that you are giving them your undivided attention. They should know that they are more important to you than anything else and that you missed them. Match verbal expressions of affection with physical affection, kissing your children on the cheek or on the forehead. Kiss your partner on the mouth or on the cheek.
Step 5. Give your partner and children nicknames
A nice little name will be the sign of a special bond. The nickname you choose will usually reflect a characteristic, habit, or event related to that person. It could also be a diminutive of his real name.
Here are some common little nicknames: my angel, cowboy, doll, baby, sweetheart, sweetie, my love, my heart
Step 6. Take the time to say thank you
Think about all that this person does for you and all of the ways they improve your life. Look her in the eye and express your gratitude to her in a few sentences. You will need to make her understand how much you love her and how much you appreciate everything she does for you.
Step 7. Don't settle for "I love you"
Don't think that "I love you" is the only way to express your affection. If you don't say it often, make a habit of telling your partner regularly that you love them. Phrases such as "you are awesome" or "I am so lucky to have you in my life" are also good ways to show your affection. There's also probably something special about your relationship, like a shared interest in cars. You can develop these short sentences and talk about this aspect of your relationship to make your statement that much deeper. If you like cars, you could use your favorite vehicle to explain to your partner how you feel about them: “you are my 1968 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi”.
Method 3 of 3: Develop habits that promote affection
Step 1. Automatically return the affection offered to you
Respond to affectionate gestures, compliments, "I love you", a kiss, or a slap on the hand. Ignore your tendency to hesitate at the moment. If you are not used to reacting like this, you may need a little practice. Soon, these marks of affection will be second nature.
Step 2. Don't let a parent be the “loving parent”
In decades past, it was not culturally important for dads to be affectionate with their children. However, times have changed. Both parents will need to make the effort to show affection to their children, even if it is unnatural for one of them.
Step 3. Look people in the eye
When you're hugging, holding the hand of a loved one, or giving them a compliment, looking that person in the eye will help draw you closer to them and show them that you are genuine. Studies have shown that eyeing someone you love (even a pet) can promote oxytocin production. You and the other person will feel so good and your efforts will be worth it.
Step 4. Set Goals
According to specialists in motivation strategies, good habits can be established by visualizing the way you would like things to be, for example being a more loving parent. Then set yourself microquotas: “I will spend 20 minutes each day talking directly with my children”. Always break up big goals into smaller goals, so they're less intimidating and you can celebrate your successes more often.
Step 5. Don't be afraid to consult a professional
If you have no desire to show affection or are unable to express it, consider talking to a therapist or counselor, either alone or with your partner. Relationships take work. Don't necessarily associate couples therapy or personal therapy with weakness. If you love your partner and want your relationship to function, nothing should hold you back from doing everything in your power to strengthen your relationship.