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How to Be More Affectionate in a Relationship & Show Them You Care

Not everyone finds it easy to open up and show love. But, by learning how to be more affectionate in a relationship, you can show your true feelings.

how to be more affectionate in a relationship

Learning how to be more affectionate in a relationship can mean quite a few things. Yes, you are showing your fondness for someone, but there are numerous ways to do that. Everything from holding hands to buying gifts and even taking the garbage out can help you to be more affectionate.

Instead of thinking of affection as a way for you to change who you are as a person, think of it as a way to be even more you. A way to open yourself up.

If you aren’t touchy-feely, you don’t have to be. Being affectionate in a relationship comes in all different shapes and sizes.

[Read: Words of affirmation – How to use them and 20 examples to say it right]

Showing affection to someone starts with showing affection to yourself

This may sound cheesy, but how are you supposed to share love and affection with your partner if you can’t show it to yourself? If you don’t care for yourself, you won’t be able to be more affectionate in a relationship anyway.

Take a look at how you treat yourself. Do you do the bare minimum? Or do you invest in yourself and in your future? Do you sell yourself short or believe in yourself and your capabilities? If you aren’t more affectionate with yourself, it will be hard to do so for others.

Being able to love yourself is not always easy. We all have our doubts and issues, but being able to overpower those most of the time is what makes you capable of being the most affectionate you. [Read: 34 ways to fall in love with yourself be a much better person in every way]

Why do some people find it so hard to be affectionate in a relationship?

You may wonder why you are struggling so much with understanding how to be more affectionate in a relationship. Well, being affectionate is showing the other person that you care. It sounds simple, but for many of us, it is far from that.

Showing someone you care means letting down your walls and barriers and letting them in. Showing how much you care opens you up to potentially getting hurt. But that is the whole point of a relationship. Isn’t it?

There is always a risk of heartache when you open your heart and love someone, but what you get by taking that chance is so much better.

Think of it this way, if you never show affection in a relationship, you won’t be shown affection in return, and that would be a very lonely way to live.

To be very honest, showing affection to someone won’t be so scary when you realize how special they would feel just knowing that they are loved by you. [Read: Ways you can open up more and be vulnerable to those you love]

How to be more affectionate in a relationship

Once you face any inner demons that are holding you back from showing more affection to the one you love, you can start to actually work on the affection part.

1. How does your partner show affection?

If you are looking for ways to be more affectionate in a relationship, that may be because your partner is great at it while you may be lacking. Or perhaps your partner told you that you’re not so great and expressing your affections.

So look at what your partner does to show you how much you are appreciated.

Do they write you love notes? Make you dinner? Or maybe they kiss you before you go off to work every day.

We’re not saying you should copy the way they show affection, but their behavior can give you some ideas of what sort of things would make them happy and feel loved.

We give what we hope to receive, so the easiest way to be affectionate in a relationship is by starting to reciprocate what your partner does for you. [Read: 25 steps to emotionally connect with someone and feel closer]

2. Get to know your partner’s love language

Everyone gives and receives affection differently. You may appreciate physical touch, but maybe your partner needs you to be vocal with your feelings. Once you figure out what sort of action means the most to your partner, you can alter your behavior accordingly.

Usually, there are five ways: acts of kindness, giving gifts, physical touch, quality time, and words of assurance. [Read: The 5 love languages and how to show someone you love them in the way they desire]

3. Ask your partner what they need

If you can’t pick up on what your partner is looking for from you, simply ask what they need from you to know how much you care. Your partner will appreciate the effort and that you want to show affection in the way that suits them the most.

The act of asking your partner what they need is in and of itself more affectionate. [Read: How to open up to someone and form a deeper connection]

4. Make small gestures

Showing affection does not have to be a grand gesture. It can be as simple as treating them to their favorite dessert or driving out of the way to get that weird snack they love.

Affection is more than a cuddle here and an “I love you” there. Even offering to do the dishes when it is your partner’s turn shows your affection for them. Let’s be honest, who would do the dishes for someone they don’t care about? [Read: 25 sweetest everyday gestures that can make you more affectionate]

5. Say “thank you”

And mean it. This may not seem like a term of endearment or a way to show affection, but it really, really is.

Do you remember as a child when your mom would make dinner and no one ever said thank you, and she would say, “No one around here appreciates me?” Well, this is the same idea but in the arms of a romantic relationship.

Showing someone affection doesn’t just start with you. You have to reciprocate the things they do and make it clear you appreciate it, and something as simple as a thank you can make all the difference.

Did your partner stay up all night to help you study? Or maybe they waited for the cable person to come? Say thank you, it means a lot. [Read: How to be grateful – 20 authentic ways to appreciate and express it]

6. The power of touch

Here is the one you’ve been waiting for. On the surface, you may consider affection to be the same as intimacy, but in reality, that is only one facet of being affectionate. Everything from holding hands to cuddling on the sofa shows affection.

When you are fond of someone, you want to be near them. Touching the person you care about has been proven to increase the happy chemicals in your brain, known as endorphins.

That is why a hug from your partner at the end of a long day feels so good. Make it your mission to touch your partner more, and not just sexually! [Read: 16 non-sexual touches to help you feel connected and loved]

7. Communicate

For some reason, people often get scared of the word communication. And that is probably because communication doesn’t just mean sharing the good stuff, but the hard stuff too. You might wonder how you can be more affectionate in a relationship by having the hard conversations, but that is the whole point.

Opening up to your partner about the hard stuff shows trust and affection. When you depend on your partner for advice or just to listen, you are showing them how much you value having them in your life. [Read: 16 steps to better communication and a better love life]

8. Make time for them

As we said earlier, learning how to be more affectionate in a relationship is not one simple act. It is not one gesture but it is your overall behavior in the relationship.

Say you’re at work and will be home late, texting your partner that you are thinking of them and can’t wait to see them as soon as you can is showing affection.

But when you are super busy for two weeks and have a superficial gift delivered to them instead of making time for them, you are being less affectionate.

Spending time together and making time to do that is a vital way to be more affectionate. It means you are putting your relationship before work, hobbies, or anything else.

9. Pay attention

One way you know the person you’re with really appreciates you is when they listen. Having someone actually pay attention to you and your story about seeing a rabbit in your neighbor’s yard when they could be diving into the expansive Internet from the palm of their hand is flattering and meaningful.

Giving someone your full attention shows more affection than you realize. Have you ever hung out with someone who was on their phone the whole time? It is rude and can make you feel like they have someplace better they would rather be.

A great way to learn how to be more affectionate in a relationship is to be more involved and attentive. [Read: Learn how to be a better listener in your relationship]

10. Make a plan

By nature, some people just aren’t that affectionate. It may be the way they were raised, their past relationships, or a combination of both of those plus more. But everyone IS capable of being more affectionate in a relationship. It just comes easier to some.

So, if you’re one of the people that tend to struggle to open up and show your affection, you can go to therapy and try to work through your issues with displaying your affection. We would highly recommend that, but you can also plan out when you are going to show your affection.

It can take a while to add small gestures and sweet comments into your everyday life. Instead, plan a date night once a week. Or give your partner one genuine compliment every day. Or even set an alarm on your phone to remind you to send a sweet text to your partner.

It may not seem spontaneous or romantic, but it is a stepping stone until affection comes naturally. [Read: 300+ most romantic and sweetest texts that’ll make any girl’s heart melt]

11. A little help goes a long way

You may want your partner to be more affectionate, but sometimes they need a helping hand. So, why not make the first move?

Make your partner breakfast in bed, pack their lunch, or hold their hand when out on the town. It’ll show them you’re interested in working on things and gives them ideas on how they can be affectionate back.

12. Remember to be intimate

Everyone nowadays is so busy with work and family, they push intimacy to the side. But this is something you should focus on, if you want to know how to be more affectionate in a relationship.

Even if you need to schedule time for intimacy, do it. Sex and intimacy are crucial parts of a relationship. Without them, your bond will start to loosen and weaken and you’ll find it harder to overcome difficult times you face together. [Read: 15 easy and fun relationship games for couples to instantly feel more connected]

13. Don’t be afraid to be a little flirty

When you’re in a relationship, sometimes you forget what it’s like to flirt with someone. Just because you’re together doesn’t mean you can’t flirt with each other.

Flirting is not only fun, but it increases sexual tension and chemistry, taking you back to the beginning of the relationship. [Read: 20 sexy ways to flirt with your girlfriend and make her feel desired]

14. Make sure you make time for one another

Some people aren’t into physical affection, but as we said earlier, there are other forms of affection. Regardless, you should be making time for your partner. Whether it’s a date night or going for a daily walk, it’ll give you time to reconnect.

Schedule a night per week when you focus on one another entirely. Head out to watch a movie and go for a meal. Stay home and have a pamper evening together.

It doesn’t matter what you do together. The point is that you’re spending time together, reconnecting, and showing affection toward one another.

14. Reciprocate

When your partner is trying to be affectionate, reciprocate by doing something back. If they give you a back rub one day, then reciprocate by giving them a foot rub the next day. This won’t make them feel like it’s a one-way street.

This is also an easy way to learn how to be more affectionate in a relationship because you’re using your partner’s actions as a guide. [Read: How to fix a one-sided relationship before it ends in failure]

15. Accept and acknowledge their affection

Unless it’s making you uncomfortable, of course. But when your partner is being more affectionate, don’t reject them. This will only make them refrain from showing affection towards you. In other words, your plan will backfire in a big way.

16. Never underestimate the power of cuddles

Everyone needs to cuddle. Whether it’s in front of Netflix or not, just get into bed and start cuddling with your partner. Cuddling can not only get things going, but it’s a way to bond with your partner.

It’s also a great way to get those endorphins flowing too and shows that you care and love your partner. Just a quick silent hug may be all it takes to show your partner that your heart is totally squishy for them! [Read: Do guys like to cuddle? 15 secrets you probably don’t know]

17. Be their biggest fan

If you’re in a relationship, your partner should be your biggest fan and vice versa. Being supportive of your partner is one of the biggest acts of affection. Don’t knock down an idea they have or squash their dreams. Push them forward.

Encourage them when they mention an idea they might want to pursue. Hold their hand when they’re nervous. Tell them how amazing you think they are.

By being their biggest cheerleader, you’ll build them up and they’ll feel amazing. As you can see, learning how to be more affectionate in a relationship isn’t just about cuddles and touches, it’s about other things too. [Read: 33 very real dirty, cute and funny relationship goals every single couple must focus on]

18. Check in with them regularly

You may have started to be more affectionate, but it’s now been a couple of months. So, how is the relationship now? Is there something still missing? Or areas you can improve on?

Remember, relationships are constant work. You should always be checking in with your partner and seeing if their needs are being met, and vice versa.

Being affectionate doesn’t come easily to everyone. If that’s your situation, don’t worry. The main thing is that you’re open to trying to be more affectionate with your partner and you’re taking baby steps to get there.

With a little time and confidence, you’ll be able to show your partner how much they mean to you without feeling awkward or worried. 

[Read: 25 ways to emotionally connect with someone and instantly feel closer]

Knowing how to be more affectionate in a relationship can be confusing. But realizing it is as simple as wanting to make sure your partner knows they are appreciated in whatever way you know how, makes it more clear.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...