Why Isn't He Affectionate?

Updated on June 17, 2019
Tashaonthetown profile image

Natasha Pelati has published three books of poetry and writes on real-life experiences with the help of psychology.


Women love to be loved and held and we assume that every man that comes along will treat us like a princess and shower us with romance and undying love and affection. Why not?

However, men don't think about things the way that women do. Some will hold your hand in public, while others wouldn't dare to. There are also claustrophobic people who will avoid holding you all night because they feel trapped. It's not because of you, but because of their "space" issues.

For other men, it's because they were not brought up to be affectionate, so they do not understand women and what they need. Whatever the reason, it's important for you to understand what's behind your partner's behavior so you can both learn how to better meet the needs of the other person in the relationship.

In this article, I'll go over five of the main reasons why your boyfriend or husband might not be showing you affection.

Five Reasons He Might Not Be Affectionate

  1. He's comfortable in the relationship and has forgotten that he needs to continue showing you he cares about you even though you're already together.
  2. He grew up in an unaffectionate family and never learned how to express his feelings towards those that he loved.
  3. He's just not very affectionate and has never really expressed his feelings in relationships.
  4. There is an unresolved problem in your relationship that is putting distance between you two.
  5. He's seeing someone else.

1. He's Comfortable in the Relationship

In this scenario, your boyfriend was affectionate when you first met him, but it's started to fizzle out.

When people are comfortable in a relationship, they tend not to do things to impress their partners anymore since they've already "won" them.

As a relationship matures, men tend to become lax with their displays of emotion. You run out of things to say and the "spark" that you felt when you started dating is no longer there. As a result, some men stop showing affection.

It does not mean that you are not loved. I am sure that at times you also tend to get irritated or annoyed, but in general, being comfortable is a good sign. Try reigniting the spark by taking on new adventures or going out a little more in order to feel something again.

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2. Lack of Affection From Family

Some families are close and full of love where others tended not to show their love. A man from a family that was not affectionate might not know how to act that way now.

In this type of relationship, it could take forever and a day for you to show him how to be affectionate as it is often difficult for guys to open up and show emotion if they have a "cold" background.

Giving him love and affection might give him a reason to do the same, but it will take time as it is something he has not experienced before.

I also find that guys who did not have any sisters tend to be less affectionate. This is because boys growing up with sisters are more in tune with women's emotions as they got to experience the tears, love stories, and tales of broken hearts.

3. He Has Never Been Affectionate

If you started dating a guy that has never been very affectionate, then the chances of him being that way now are pretty slim. If you wanted someone who would be more open about how he feels about you, and he has told you that he isn't like that, then why would you be with him?

Some men just cannot show affection, either because of their childhood or because of past issues, and many of them have just not felt the need to be affectionate.

If you are expecting him to change, he won't!

Guys that haven't shown open with their feelings from the very beginning of your relationship are naturally not the hugging type, and if you want to stay in this relationship, then you will have to focus on other things that he does. Expecting him to suddenly become affectionate or waiting until the moment he changes will only make you feel lonely and unloved.

4. Unresolved Problems in Your Relationship

If you've been dating for a while and your normally affectionate boyfriend has suddenly stopped holding your hand, cuddling, or telling you sweet things, it could mean that your relationship is in need of a spark or that there's trouble.

Don't jump to conclusions and assume that he's seeing someone else, but do take a look at your relationship and see if there is something that has caused problems.

It might be as easy as changing things up and rediscovering each other, or it could mean that you have other problems that you need to talk about.

Communication is important and you should be able to let him know that you need affection and ask him why there isn't any.

5. He Is Seeing Someone Else

A relationship that has been filled with affection and is now without it could mean that there is trouble you need to address immediately.

When guys are not interested in kissing you or holding you or do not want to show affection for you in front of friends or in public (even though they had no problem with this before), it might mean that they are having issues of their own or that he is seeing someone else.

Think about whether he lacks intimacy and interest in the bedroom no matter what you try. Has he always been this way, or is it a recent development?

If he has no interest in you whatsoever, then you need to approach it in the right way and find out what's really going on before it's too late.

What If He's Affectionate With Others, but Not With You

A guy that has always been affectionate towards you and has suddenly stopped but shows other people that he cares about them is NOT INTO YOU!

Perhaps he feels that you did something wrong or maybe he's just not interested at all. It could be caused by being stuck in a rut, stress, or just a spark that is missing. In general, however, if he is a natural hugger and is giving affection to everyone but you, he is not in love with you or has fallen out of love with you. His interests are elsewhere and getting him back could be a major challenge as he is already probably too far gone.

If you've communicated with him and it still doesn't change, then it is perhaps time to move forward and find someone else.

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How to Get More Affection From Your Boyfriend

There are two basic ways that can help you get the emotional support you need in a relationship.

  1. Ask him about it. Bring it up in a non-confrontational way and tell him about the needs that you have in a relationship.
  2. Give him the kind of love that you would like to receive back, regardless of how you feel about his lack of affection. There's a chance he will reciprocate automatically.

If you've tried to get back the spark, shown him all the love that you can, and told him how you feel, and things still don't change, then waiting for affection is going to be a long and tiresome task.

Being in a loving relationship means that your partner knows you well and understands by now that you need affection, love, and adoration. If the positive attributes are just not enough, the only thing left to do is to understand that you deserve to be loved and adored, and there will be someone out there that is willing to put you on a pedestal and shower you with affection.

Having to try to get his attention all the time means that he really is not that interested. It's time to move on.

Basic Ways to Show Affection

If you're a husband or boyfriend and wondering what you can do to show more affection, here are some good places to start. It can be learned, but it does take time if it is something that you have never experienced.

  • Hug and kiss your wife or girlfriend every morning when you wake up
  • Kiss her before you leave for work
  • Ask her how she is doing and listen to what she has to say
  • Hold her hand when you are walking
  • Give her a hug while she is washing the dishes
  • In the bedroom, many women appreciate emotional intimacy. It's a crucial part of feeling connected and wanting to be close physically. In bed, let her know how much you admire her, give her a massage, or hold her before being intimate.
  • Never roll over and go to bed after an intimate moment! Give her a kiss or a hug, let her rest her head on your shoulder, and take some time to communicate with her.

Women need to feel loved and even if you do it once a day, it is important to show her that you do love her. All it takes is one kiss, one hug, or one question about her day.

What's Next?

Affection is necessary for you to be healthy, happy, and at peace in the relationship so that should you grow older and have kids of your own, you will be able to hug and hold them, giving them love that they can pass on one day too.

If it is an endless battle to get your boyfriend to show you affection, then consider surrendering and moving forward to find someone who can.

Hopefully, however, you will be able to talk through it and both of you can get what you want out of the relationship.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • My boyfriend isn't doing his share in the relationship, nor is he affectionate, but I, on the other hand, am a very affectionate person. I have brought it up about me needing more affection from him but he still doesn't do it. Even though he lets me hug him, he doesn't hug or talk to me first. I always have to do everything first, and I feel like he doesn't love me. Can you help?

    Some people are more affectionate than others and if you feel that you need more, then you need to tell your partner how you feel. He lets you hug him; that sounds like an obligation and it should be automatic for you to be able to give affection without feeling like you need some sort of permission. If you have already spoken to him and you still feel that it is a one-sided relationship, then perhaps its time to walk away because love is actually easy and free with the right person.

  • When I first met my boyfriend he was very affectionate. We then moved in together and things change. He only kisses me when he's leaving for work, he doesn't text me anymore, he doesn't hold me or anything like that anymore. Is he still interested in me?

    Often when couples move in together, the relationship is taken for granted and couples get stuck into a rut. Men already have you, so the chase is over. You need to keep things exciting and try to surprise him when he gets home or before he goes to work. Have a date night and if he still does not give you any affection, then he is not interested anymore. Most of the time, it's only because life is comfortable and the couple lose the spark after moving in.

  • My boyfriend does not kiss me or hug me. We stay in the same house, sleep in the same bed but he does not show any affection whatsoever. I spoke to him about this but he only changed for a week and he is now back to square one. There is no intimacy ,no kisses no hugs and no communication. I am the only one who is always trying to make things work. I need help?

    Hi how long have you lived together and how old are you both?

    Could he be gay?

    Sometimes living together takes away excitement and because you live together, there is no need for him to try because he already has you.

    Try have a date night at least once a week. If he is not hugging or kissing you, that rings alarm bells because hello and good bye with a partner ends with a hug or a kiss. Relationships should not be hard work and if you have to try at your age then you might want to ask yourself why you would settle for this now!

  • My boyfriend of 3 years won't touch me, not even with an open hand. He was affectionate in his last two relationships but with me he is not. He shows the baby and the dog affection and loves them but cannot even lie next to me. Why?

    He must have been affectionate at some stage because you have a baby together. Have you spoken to him about how you feel because communicating is so important?


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    • profile image


      6 days ago

      "Take charge but understand boundaries" - yeah right. So she wants you to be a mind reader. The benefit is far below the risk.

      "relook at the women you choose to date" - I do have a very good idea of what women are like. That's why I choose NOT to date.

      "Hugs should be ... invited" - but women never initiate, and you never know when you're invited. So the safest thing is not to look at, talk to, or touch them.

      As a woman, it appears you are incapable of understanding the risks men face. I guess that means you'll forever wonder why men are ignoring women these days.

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      6 months ago from South Africa

      Scandalisa thank you for sharing your experience. On and off in a relationship is not a relationship. We all have ups and downs but that is usually if one of you have had a bad day, a bit stressed or whatever, the point is that as a couple in a healthy relationship, you talk about it and move on from there.

      Your boyfriend has been with you since 2018. It is time to sit down and tell him that you want a serious commitment and if he is not into it then you need to call it a day.

    • Scandalisa profile image


      6 months ago

      I hate to hear there are others out there in the same situation as me but I’m also glad I’m not in this alone.

      I’ve been dating my boyfriend since October 2018 off and on but the last six months have been more on than off. He has most of his clothes at my house and lots of other belongings but has not officially moved in. I think he is afraid to commit and along with committing to a relationship he struggles with being affectionate.

      Just as so many other women in this thread I am the one to initiate everything first, the hugs, kisses, love making, and even the, “I love you’s”. He doesn’t even come to bed on some nights, he rather sleep on the couch, rather than our comfy king size bed.

      I’m so confused because he buys me everything (like has refurbished my whole house), makes me laugh, tells me he wants to be with me but his affection towards me says otherwise, however, we never discuss our future. I feel like our relationship is on a day-to-day basis, as he says it, “just let things be, don’t rush it,” what the hell does that even mean?

      Besides all of this I’ve only met his best friends and certain members of his family, but not the two most important people in his life, his mom and sis. I’ve asked him when is he going to take me to meet them, he replies, “soon.”

      I’ve discussed my feelings with him but i feel like I never get any where with him. The outcome is always the same and I’m tired of crying. Tired of crying because we only make love maybe 2-3 a month, I need him to love me affectionately, I need to be touched on, kissed on and he doesn’t get how much this hurts me because he doesn’t give it to me even after knowing how much it bothers me me and hurts me. I know it’s not me because I’ve never had this problem having a man wanting me.

      I know what I have to do but it’s so hard because I love him.

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      8 months ago from South Africa

      Hi John

      Showing affection is to be loving and not over bearing. Harassment is a serious allegation if it is not true.

      I think what women want is a guy that can take charge but understand boundaries and if it is that you are with a woman that has charges against you falsely, then perhaps you need to relook at the woman that you choose to date.

      Hugs should be light and invited and if it isn't then back away

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      It's not safe to show affection to a woman. She can decide on any whim that she didn't want it, and then your life is ruined with a harassment charge. And you can't ask her permission either, or it "kills the mood" (according to her). So there is no way affection can begin, because she'll never put her pride on the line by initiating herself. So affection is dead, and apparently, that's what they want. So men have no choice but to avoid women for their personal safety.

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      Me snd my boyfriend have been together for three years and been living together for almost a year he stopped being affectionate and he is 24/7 on his phone he even chat in bed untill morning hours

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      15 months ago from South Africa

      Hi Kelly

      Some people are just not public people and they have trouble displaying affection. If you only see each other in public then you just go in for the hug regardless. If you hug and kiss him it will become less awkward. Also if you live at home and he is your boyfriend, then surely nobody will mind if you are affectionate. I would tell him that you are going to just give him hugs and he is going to like it

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      Hi Natasha, I need some advice.

      My boyfriend and I have been together for over 5 years now, and every aspect is amazing, (communcation especially) however he isnt very affectionate. We've had conversations regarding my need for him to show me his feelings and tell me how he feels and hes willing to try, but hes just not coming out of his comfort zone, and so i feel uncomfortable giving him a hug myself or even a kiss in public because im so worried about how uncomfortable he will feel. Hes a completely different person when its just us two, so affectionate and expressive. What should I do? we dont get to spend much time alone due to our student lifestyles and also since we live with our families.

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      17 months ago from South Africa

      Hi Zara

      If you feel that you are not loved then you need to talk to your partner and tell him how you feel. Many guys are not into talking about emotions but if you want to save your relationship then try. You said he lets you hug him!!! That's a problem already, you should get back some kind

      Of loving even if he might not be a hugger. If the relationship is one sided then you need to ask yourself if this is where you see yourself in 10 years. Love is unconditional and it should not feel like hard work affection wise

    • profile image

      Zara Dawin 

      17 months ago

      Me and my boyfriend have been together for a while now and everything is going great with a few fights here and there but I've noticed that he doesn't do his fair share in the relationship, nor his he affectionate towards me, he lets me hug him and when ever I'm upset he hugs me, I haven't kissed him because I feel like he needs to do it,sense I do everything first such as, I talk to him first I hug him first, even when hes having a good day I've spoken to him about it, but I keep having to repeat myself, I feel like he doesnt love me

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      17 months ago from South Africa

      how long have you been with your partner, where is his ex wife? if it is a new relationship then perhaps he is not ready to let his children know about you yet, until he is sure of the relationship moving forward. if it does not work then his kids are in the middle which can be damaging to them. if he has told his children about you and they have no reason to dislike you, unless it is either a fresh divorce or death in the family, then you might need to consider moving on from this relationship

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      I love my partner but him being so simple and not affectionate at all is making me want to exit the relationship. He has a 17 year old who lives with us and a 20 year old who doesnt talk to me since she found out about our relationship. He tells me not to hug him or anything in front of his kids because than they argue with him. That makes me angry. When his daughter go's anywhere i cant come and that makes me feel sad and lonely. I dont see nothing wrong with expressing my feeling.

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      21 months ago from South Africa

      thank you John for your insight...I am guessing you are single!

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      He doesn't show affection because he's not your boyfriend, and he doesn't want you to think you're his girlfriend. Now please take the hint and go away.

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      22 months ago from South Africa

      I think that you have already tried once and it sounds like he is not really interested. I would end things and be on your own for a while. You are not desperate, so stand strong and walk away. Experience life as a single woman for a while until you can meet someone that you are comfortable with and can trust

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      I have been seeing this guy, second time trying to see where or what we stand. So anyways my boyfriend wont kiss, hug, hold hands, cuddle or anything! We wont even have sex until he feels like he wants to. What do you think? What do you think i should do? I really would like some help. Cause i have had a really bad past with dating lying, cheating. And i am so tried of being used and hurt. Please anyone have any advice please tell me what you think?

    • profile image


      23 months ago

      Really? "While washing the dishes?" Is this the 1700s?

    • profile image

      Jackie Brennan 

      2 years ago

      My boyfriend never cuddles with me and we really have sex we live togather we were on and off four awhile got back togather off last year off july i am wondering if it was a mistake

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I'm hoping I can get some advice. My boyfriend was pretty affectionate when we first got together. It's only been 6 months, and it stopped about 2 months ago. I talked to him about this, and he said that it was nice at the beginning because he has never gotten affection, but I guess it's not exciting to him anymore. I just don't know what to do, because he never touches me anymore. I feel alone, and not sure how he really feels about me.

    • profile image

      DD Cantrell 

      2 years ago

      My boyfriend is not physically affectionate most of the time. We have on going deep conversations all the time, we do things to please each other, but little hugging, no cuddling and he rushes thru sex like he wants to get it over with and gets offended when I say I am not satisfied.

      He's going thru a financial crisis and attributed it to that, I'm trying to be patient.

      Am I fooling myself or could being patient pay off?

      He's a really kind, classy and caring man.

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Thats great! Hugs and kisses are free and always welcome.

    • GreenPrince profile image

      Prince Edike 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      I love to hug my girl and kiss her every time. Sometimes she demand more.

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Hahaha they say if you hug a tree it will make you feel better!

      I also have some huggers and others not, im not a hugger but i do enjoy being on the receiving end

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      My husband is an engineer and just wired to be a non-hugger, and my daughter is the same way. I've resorted to hugging my cats and my mother.

    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      6 years ago from Wales

      A powerful hub and leaves much food for thought.

      Now looking forward to many more by you.


    • Tashaonthetown profile imageAUTHOR

      Natasha Pelati 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      I'm not a serial hugger but I do hug people at the appropriate times. Most of the time it is a handshake for people i don't know.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I hug someone when most necessary and a hand shake works well too. Some people don't show affection and that sounds cold to me.


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