Natasha Pelati has published three books of poetry and writes on real-life experiences with the help of psychology.
What Does It Mean When a Man Doesn't Show Affection?
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
- 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.
- He grew up in an unaffectionate family and never learned how to express his feelings towards those that he loved.
- He's just not very affectionate and has never really expressed his feelings in relationships.
- There is an unresolved problem in your relationship that is putting distance between you two.
- 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.
2. Lack of Affection From Family
Some families are close and full of love whereas others tend 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?
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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.
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.
- Ask him about it. Bring it up in a non-confrontational way and tell him about the needs that you have in a relationship.
- 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.
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
Question: 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?
Answer: 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.
Question: 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?
Answer: 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.
Question: 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?
Answer: 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!
Question: 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?
Answer: 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?
Question: What does it mean if my husband gives more attention to the dogs than he does to me?
Answer: You need to communicate with your husband and let him know that you need more attention and affection. Try giving him a hug and some affection and if he does not budge, communicate with him. Sometimes people just get stuck in a rut and forget about what's important
Question: I had to go away for 2 years and he was there for me the whole time, but I found out that he had some nasty girl at our home the whole time that I was gone. I'm trying to forgive him, I feel like we have lost connection. will we ever be the same?
Answer: Being away for two years is long time in a relationship. If he had someone there for the entire time, then he was rather quick to see you leave. I think that if you want to repair your relationship trust is a question mark here. Without trust, you cannot have a relationship and you need to ask yourself if you will be able to trust him again
Question: My boyfriend and I have been together for a year now. But it seems like the only time he seems to want me around is when he's "in the mood". Then he goes back to his own world. He doesn't really make me feel involved in the things that he does. When he goes somewhere and I ask if I can go he always says, "I dont care if you do or not." What should I do?
Answer: He is using you!!! Move on from him because he is not into you and there are guys out there that are respectful and loving and would want you around.
Question: I have been with my boyfriend for three years. He always has to be right and is always defensive and won't give me any hugs or kisses unless I do it first and then keep bugging him. He has had a terrible past and I get it but so do I and I don't let that stop me from trying everything I can to love him...he's always so depressing and I just want to know what to do...I love him... Is it possible that he lost interest in me? Is it my fault he doesn't want to hold me?
Answer: It sounds like you are dating a "know it all" and that is a character trait that will never change.
If you have to initiate affection then perhaps you need to talk to him about how you feel and see if there is a way forward together. Otherwise, it's time to move on sweety, find love that will adore you and give you love freely and unconditionally too.
Question: My boyfriend acts different towards me when he is around his friends. I try to give him hugs when they are around but he refuses to hug me. Why?
Answer: It sounds like your boyfriend has insecurities. Ask him why he doesn't hug you in front of his friends. You should feel adored and loved at all times even around friends. You should also not be too clingy and don't stick to him like glue, give him a bit of space to talk.
Question: My boyfriend is not affectionate in texting and he gets weird about it in person. He said that he has been living alone since he was 16 and he can't be around people for too long. He said right from the start that he hates talking on the phone and I do too. He does send me kiss smilies and he doesn't like arguments. He also calms me down but things are becoming worse because his answers are too short for me to get to know him better and to have deeper conversations. What can I do?
Answer: It sounds like he has a bit of anxiety and he does not like confrontation. Why does he need to calm you down?
You either have to let him know that you want more conversation or you need to move on because it sounds like you are trying to have a relationship with someone that you have not met and that never ends well. If it is someone you have met online, move on, if it's someone you have met and they are not really into the conversation then you need to ask yourself if you deserve better and the answer is always yes.
Question: My husband is 58 and I'm 51. He no longer wants to be intimate with me although I make the advances. He used to hug and cuddle me but now doesn't touch me either. For 5-6 years he has had a problem physically. He doesn't enjoy foreplay or being intimate. I've tried asking and talking but he ignores and stays silent. He doesn't welcome my affectionate gestures too. How can I re-establish intimacy with my husband?
Answer: Perhaps you need to spice things up and make it interesting. Try getting some movies to stimulate and if that doesn't work then you should perhaps see someone because maybe he has other problems that could be helped at a men's clinic
Question: if a man plans a life with you but doesn't want to commit what does that mean? He is always talking about women who are hot and looks at them in front of me but is still planning a life with me. I am so confused.
Answer: It's natural for a guy to look at beauty, it means he appreciates it but if he is staring with lust then he is disrespectful. Talking about hot women all of the time is also disrespectful to you. I think that you have to talk about what you want and let him know that you are not comfortable with his comments about other women continuously. Do you feel that this is a guy that is worthy of you and do you trust him? Spending a life with someone means mutual respect and trust. A partner should admire others but adore you and you should feel like the only one he will ever look at
Question: My boyfriend seems to show more affection to his brother than me. When I try to wake him up he gets annoyed but when it’s his brother he kinda just has a soft spot for him. When I first met him he wasn’t really a hugging and affectionate one but it’s just odd that he shows more affection to his brother than me. Should I be concerned?
Answer: Blood is thicker than water. Have you heard that saying?
Naturally, brothers will love each other and it does not mean that he loves you less. He probably doesn't see him often and with you, he spends more time, which might make him feel guilty but it doesn't mean he does love you.
Question: I am in a long-distance relationship and my boyfriend was so loving in the beginning. He couldn't stay a day without talking to me but now it's like we never talk. He always says he is busy or having problems that he won't share. He even shared a screenshot of himself flirting with a girl but says that he loves me even though I asked him if he wants to get out of the relationship. How can I establish better communication with my long-distance partner?
Answer: Long-distance relationships are very difficult to keep because a relationship needs communication and physical touch, even a hug is needed. If he is not sharing with you but posting selfies of him flirting with other girls, this is an insult to you and it is disrespectful. I think that you need to move forward and end this relationship because it seems like your boyfriend wants the best of both worlds and this is not fair to you. There are guys out there that will give you all of their hearts because you are worth it!
Question: I am in a long-distance relationship and at the start, he could not stand a day without talking to me, but now it's like we never talk. He says he is busy or having problems that he doesn't want to share. He shared a screenshot of another girl with me. I asked him if he wants to get out of the relationship and he said that he loves me and doesn't want that. I don't know what to do can you please help me?
Answer: Long distance relationships are very difficult and they rely on good communication. If your boyfriend can't share anything but a screen shot of a girl other than you, then you might want to let him go. Love is as light as a feather and it should be easy.
Question: I am in a long-distance relationship and at the start, he could not stay a day without talking to me but now its like we never talk. He says he is busy or has a problem that he doesn't want to share. He even shared a screen shot of him flirting with another girl with me. I asked him if he wants to get out of the relationship and he said he loves me and does not want that. I don't know what to do. Can you please help me?
Answer: Long distance relationships rarely work out and if he is sending you screen shots of him flirting with other girls, then I think it's rude and disrespectful. If he is flirting with other people then you need to walk away. Love should feel free, light as a feather and when it is heavy and full of issues that you cannot fix, you walk away.