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Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you learn how to be more affectionate. Simply click here to connect with one via BetterHelp.com.
In this article, we will talk about some of the reasons why you are not an affectionate person.
Not everyone needs or projects the same levels of affection. Sometimes how affectionate a person is can just be a general part of their personality.
Other times, it may be the result of trauma or how a person was raised.
Still, the connection between affection and intimacy dramatically affects the nature and health of relationships. A mismatch in affection levels can cause problems because one or both partners may not feel like their needs are being met.
People who aren’t as affectionate may not realize the important role affection plays in mental and emotional health. Affection boosts the health of a relationship, but a simple touch from someone you feel close to can also help trigger chemical responses to alleviate stress.
6 Reasons Why You Have Difficulty Showing Affection
To better understand yourself, you need to better understand why you may not be an affectionate person. So, let’s look at some common reasons for that.
1. You’re more likely to be introverted.
Introverts and extroverts have some key differences in how they socialize and interact with the world. Those differences also influence the way they express and receive affection.
Unsurprisingly, introverts may have difficulty receiving and projecting affection because they tend to recharge by spending quality time alone. Public displays of affection or talking about their feelings may be excessively stressful or dramatically uncomfortable.
On the other hand, extroverts are more comfortable with public displays of affection, talking about their feelings, and projecting those emotions. These may feel a more natural part of their personality, so it’s more comfortable for them.
Of course, these are generalities. For example, an introvert can be okay with being affectionate, and an extrovert might not be okay with it.
2. Your personal boundaries get in the way.
How a person is raised will influence the way a person expresses and receives affection.
For example, a person raised in a household with little verbal or physical affection may feel uncomfortable with that kind of expression of affection. They’re just not used to it, so they don’t necessarily respond as well as someone who grew up in a loving household.
The wrong kind of expression of affection may also cause the person to feel self-conscious and withdraw.
However, that doesn’t mean the person is not affectionate. This type of difference in affections is covered pretty well in “The Five Love Languages” series by Gary Chapman. The idea is that people tend to express their affection in one of five ways or some combination thereof.
– Quality time.
– Physical touch.
– Receiving gifts.
– Acts of service.
– Words of affirmation.
The person who grows up in a particular household may find that they gravitate toward one expression of affection, not another. A good example is people who have difficulty verbalizing that they may love you but show that they love you by ensuring your gas tank is always topped off, making dinner regularly, or giving gifts.
That’s where the five love languages come in. They can better help you understand how two partners may communicate their love and affection if their personal boundaries differ. It may not be that the person is not affectionate. They may simply communicate it in a different way.
3. You are too comfortable in the relationship.
The longer a relationship goes on, the more comfortable the partners may become. Many people believe that the initial honeymoon feeling of a relationship will wear off after enough time. And, for many, that is true.
When you meet someone new and special, your brain produces many endorphins and feel-good chemicals related to lust and infatuation. That feeling of butterflies in the stomach is a product of the brain telling them they’re nervous because they find this new person so attractive and exciting.
Indeed, these processes don’t last forever. However, it’s also true that the excitement and brilliance of some of those feelings can be maintained through regular effort. A couple that’s been together for a long time may just fall into a routine of being around one another. They may stop courting, flirting, and otherwise showing the kind of interest that caused them to get together in the first place.
It may be less that the people involved aren’t affectionate and more that they’ve forgotten to keep dating their partner even after they’ve been together for a long time.
Dating one another is one of the easiest ways to keep some liveliness and that early magic alive in the relationship. That way, both partners can stay attuned to those expressions of affection that may get lost in the general bustle of life.
4. You are insecure about yourself and avoid vulnerability.
People who feel insecure about themselves are often not comfortable with expressions of vulnerability. And what is an expression of affection, if not a vulnerability?
When a person feels insecure, they may not feel worthy of the love or affection they receive. That makes any kind of expression of affection grossly uncomfortable to the point where the person may actively avoid it.
It isn’t necessarily that they aren’t an affectionate person. Instead, they are responding to feelings of discomfort that are influencing the way they give and receive that affection. It causes them anxiety which causes them to act in a way that prevents that anxiety.
This problem doesn’t typically have anything to do with this person’s partner. And it may not be entirely consistent. For example, some days, people may feel good and secure about themselves, therefore being more willing to give and receive affection. However, on other days they may not.
5. Mental illness and trauma.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that mental illness and trauma can profoundly affect how a person receives and gives affection. Both mental illness and trauma can dramatically affect a person’s affections because they can change the emotional state of the person experiencing them.
People dealing with depression may find themselves emotionally flat, withdrawn, and without the energy to meaningfully contribute affection. The depression may also cause them to feel unloved and unworthy, not because they are, but because that’s just how depression is sometimes. In this situation, it has nothing to do with the depressed person’s partner and everything to do with how their mental unwellness affects them.
Anxiety may cause a person to become easily overwhelmed by external stimuli or emotions. Actions like touch may cause the person to experience pain or discomfort from the way anxiety can overload the nervous system.
A significant contributor to a lack of affection is a child’s development in a home where there isn’t much affection. Growing up in this environment can easily cause a child to grow into an adult who shies away from affection because of their discomfort.
And, of course, trauma can have different effects on a person. They may shy away from affection due to what they’ve been through. Depending on how their trauma affects them, it may be a matter of physical or mental discomfort.
6. You’re just having a hard time right now.
The fact of the matter is that how our life is going often affects our personal relationships.
A person under a lot of stress may not be the most affectionate. Coming home exhausted from work makes it much harder to want to engage in intimacy and affection.
Stressful relationships outside of romantic relationships may also cause problems. It’s hard to be relaxed and vulnerable if there’s a conflict with one’s other family or in-laws.
Affection may be much easier for everyone once these stresses are resolved.
Final thoughts about why you are not an affectionate person.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with a person who is not affectionate. They may just be wired differently than a person who is. It may also be that the person is expressing their affection in a way that is not readily apparent or understandable without some further understanding. Again, the Five Love Languages framework is a great way to see if there is actual affection being expressed.
However, some issues with affection will also need to be addressed by a mental health professional. Trauma doesn’t resolve itself, and mental illness will cause serious problems in different areas of a person’s life. Self-esteem and self-image are two things that can be slowly, steadily built with focused effort.
Still, there’s nothing inherently wrong with you if you’re just a person who doesn’t do well with affection. Some people aren’t wired that way, which is entirely okay. You may need to just make a little extra effort to help better connect with your loved ones in a way that makes sense for you both.
If you’d like to explore your lack of affection with a therapist, a good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.
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