6 reasons why you’re not an affectionate person, according to psychology

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Do you find displays of affection all a bit awkward?

Do you hate it when people go in for a hug when you’d be happier just saying hello/goodbye, perhaps with a handshake or wave?

Yeah, me too.

But that’s okay. We’re just not very affectionate people.

Not everyone needs the same levels of affection.

Sometimes, how affectionate a person is can just be a part of their personality. Other times, it may be the result of trauma or how a person was raised.

Still, there’s no denying that being an unaffectionate person can affect our romantic relationships in a negative way. That is, assuming there is a mismatch in the levels of affection each partner enjoys.

But why aren’t you affectionate?

If you really need to know the cause, see if it might be one of the points on this list.

Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you learn how to be more affectionate. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.

6 Reasons Why You Have Difficulty Showing Affection

1. You’re more likely to be introverted.

I’m an introvert. How about you?

You don’t need telling this, but introverts and extroverts differ greatly in how they socialize and interact with the world.

Those differences also influence the way they express and receive affection.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, many introverts have difficulty receiving and showing affection because they tend to recharge by spending quality time alone.

Things like public displays of affection or talking about their feelings may be stressful or uncomfortable, particularly with people they do not know very well or like very much.

So they avoid those things if they can.

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.

And, yes, I am generalizing. Some introverts will be okay with being affectionate, and some extroverts might not be okay with it.

2. Your personal boundaries get in the way.

I grew up in a home where physical affection wasn’t all that common. So I’m not used to it and I don’t respond to it the same way someone whose family were highly affectionate would.

Perhaps this is true of you too.

How you were raised will influence the way you express and receive affection.

Or perhaps you show care and affection in different ways to your partner or others. And so, when you’re on the receiving end of the wrong kind of affection, it may cause you to feel self-conscious and withdraw.

That doesn’t mean you’re not affectionate at all. Perhaps you just speak another language. Another Love Language (of which there are 5).

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.

Depending on the examples you were set and behaviors you modeled when you were younger, you may find that you gravitate toward one expression of affection, not another.

Let’s say you have difficulty telling someone you love them. That doesn’t mean you don’t love them at all.

But perhaps you show that you love them by ensuring their gas tank is always full, making dinner regularly, or giving gifts.

That’s where the five love languages come in. They can help you understand how you and your partner communicate your love and affection if your personal boundaries differ.

It may not be that you are not affectionate. You 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 they’d be right.

When you meet someone new and special, your brain shoves a load of endorphins and feel-good chemicals your way to make you feel lusty and infatuated.

That feeling of butterflies in the stomach is your brain’s way of telling you to be nervous because you find this new person so attractive and exciting.

But, for 99.999% of people/couples, these chemical processes don’t last forever.

However, it’s also true that you can maintain some of that excitement with a bit of 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.

Does this sound familiar?

It may be less that you aren’t an affectionate person and more that you’ve forgotten to keep dating your partner even after you’ve been together for a long time.

So go on some dates, put some effort in – you both deserve it. Because dating one another is one of the easiest ways to keep that early magic alive in your relationship.

That way, you can both 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.

Would you describe yourself as insecure in some ways?

If so, it might explain some of your aversion to displays of affection.

You see, an expression of affection is a show of vulnerability, and people who feel insecure about themselves are often not comfortable being vulnerable with others.

If you feel insecure, you may not feel worthy of the love or affection you receive. So any kind of expression of affection becomes grossly uncomfortable to the point where you actively avoid it.

It isn’t necessarily that you aren’t an affectionate person. Instead, you are responding to feelings of discomfort that are influencing the way you give and receive that affection.

Affection causes you to feel anxious which causes you to act in a way that prevents that anxiety.

It probably doesn’t have anything to do with your partner. And it may not be entirely consistent.

For example, some days, you may feel good and secure about yourself and be up for giving and receiving affection. However, on other days you 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.

So if any of this rings true for you, it probably goes a long way to explaining why you are not a touchy feely person.

6. You’re just having a hard time right now.

Are you having a hard time of things right now? Has this been going on a while?

Truth is, how your life is going will affect your personal relationships.

If you’re under a lot of stress, you may not be the most affectionate person.

Let’s face it, engaging in intimacy or affection is not high on your priority list when you come home exhausted from work, for example.

Likewise, stressful relationships outside of your romantic relationship may also cause problems. It’s hard to be relaxed and vulnerable if you’re dealing with some massive argument with your family or friends.

See if affection becomes easier for you once these stresses are resolved.

Final thoughts about why you are not an affectionate person.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with not being affectionate. You may just be wired differently than other people.

It may also be that you are expressing your affection in a way that is not apparent to others.

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 your life if left unaddressed.

Still, there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re just a person who doesn’t do well with affection. 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, BetterHelp.com is a website where you can 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.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.

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About The Author

Jack Nollan is a person who has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years now. Jack is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspective from the side of the mental health consumer. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.