Showing affection can bridge or divide your relationship. Usually, people consider affection a positive experience. Nevertheless, the purpose behind your affection may determine if your mate accepts it well.
From the time you are born, affection offers you a physical sense of safety. It feeds your natural need to connect. This hunger for touch does not culminate in infancy. According to our therapist in Winter Park, if you avoid human contact, this may be due to learned behavior in youth or the quality of connection in adult romantic relationships.
In general, adults continue to require touch to satisfy their need for protection, security, and connection in ways that verbal expression cannot. Still, you might find yourself defensive when your partner reaches for you. Or, you might feel that your partner moves away from you when your reach for them.
Below are four areas that can produce unhealthy affectionate exchanges:
If you use affection to progress toward sexual relations, affection can feel unsafe to your partner. If you have less sexual desire than your partner, you may engage less in sex and eventually turn away from all contact, including affection. This generally occurs because you feel pressured to perform sexually with each kiss, hug, or cuddle.
This involves showing affection only when you desire something else. Affection evolves into a form of manipulation employed for personal gain. You may offer affection or pull it back in like the flip of a switch. Affection can feel disconnected and confusing for your partner because they pick up on your absence of authentic affection.
Here, you revoke affection as an instrument of punishment. You may need help to verbalize your displeasure on a subject. Instead, you might retreat for hours, days, weeks, or months. This passive-aggressive demeanor may create feelings of loneliness, isolation, or abandonment for your partner.
As a couple, you become tangled in your affection. You seem incapable of moving beyond affection into sexual relations. You hide in your affection because it feels secure and safe. As a result, you endanger your intimacy because you minimize risk-taking and openness, essential ingredients to more elevated levels of closeness and sensual energy.
Here are examples of healthy affection:
You offer and accept affection generously with one another. You trust your loving exchanges. You feel how it reinforces your relationship. Because of this trust, affection can end with sex or not. Here, you concentrate more on affection as a caring exchange instead of a means to an outcome. Overall, affection allows you to feel cared for, secure, and loved.
Cultivating your affectionate touch fortifies the bond between you. Affection shows warmth and tenderness. Affection affirms that you appreciate and love your mate.
Consider the function affection plays in your connection. If you want to use affectionate relations as a bridge to each other, have genuine conversations about its function. Then, concentrate on your intentions when you reach for each other. Remember, affection is not just a bridge to each other but also an instrument of association between emotional and sexual manifestations. Finally, seek to cultivate health in all of these spaces for optimal relationship fulfillment.
Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.