Are you one of those touchy-feely people who wants to hug everyone, cuddle all the time, and generally enjoy as much physical human contact as possible? Or are you a bit more standoffish, waiting until you’ve really gotten deep into a relationship to have that physical closeness? Even then, you may struggle, or you may find a happy medium, but the truth is, based on cultural as much as personal differences, it can be difficult to navigate a relationship, especially in terms of touch and physical closeness.

Part of the problem is that everyone is different. You can’t even base your estimations of what’s appropriate for one person based off their previous experiences. For example, two people who grew up in homes where they didn’t have a lot of physical contact may be polar opposites – one avoiding it out of habit and the other craving it because they missed it in their formative years. So, how do you know at what point in a relationship you should enter into physical contact, and how do you gauge the degree of contact that won’t scare someone away?

Test the Waters

physical embraceIf you enjoy being close to someone, you might, out of habit, jump into the fray headfirst, draping yourself on your new interest early on and wanting to hold hands all the time. That’s probably not the best approach. Try smaller gestures – a touch on the shoulder or a squeeze of the hand – first. See what his or her reaction is to the contact. Do they jerk away? Do they wear an uncomfortable expression? Do things start to feel awkward? If so, you may be moving too fast for their liking. On the other hand, if you get a smile or a positive reaction, try something a little more intimate until you reach a level that works for both of you.

Talk About It

Yes, you should seriously discuss these things with your partner. Face it. We all hate to have those serious conversations. It seems awkward and over the top, sometimes even melodramatic. But if we really want to continue ‘just having a good time’, we have to make sure our partners are comfortable with what we want and that we’re getting what we need. If you need physical touch to be happy, you have to express that to your other half, especially if he or she isn’t so keen on it. Communication leads to understanding and compromise, and the three together create a good, healthy relationship.

If you don’t address the issue, you’ll both be unhappy, and it will lead to one failed relationship after another. I, for one, find it easier to tackle the topic early. That way, I don’t end up with a broken heart if we can’t find solid ground on this together. Always know that, despite what some societies teach by example, there is nothing wrong with wanting that affection, just like there’s nothing wrong with being a little shier and greedier with it. You simply have to make the effort to find what makes you happy and to work with your partner to assure you both have each other’s best interests at heart.

 

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