Intimacy is essential for every healthy relationship. Nevertheless, it’s nothing uncommon to see couples who struggle with lack of affection in their romances.
If this is something you’re dealing with, you know how it feels to crave physical intimacy from the person sleeping next to you. Ironic, isn’t it? Well, it’s also devastating and can be disastrous.
So, why does lack of affection even appear in seemingly loving relationships? How does it affect you, and most importantly, what can be done about it?
What Is Hidden Behind Lack Of Affection And Intimacy In A Relationship?
When did cuddling, kisses, and hugs disappear from your romance? When did you and your SO stop sleeping together? Most importantly: why did it happen?
Sometimes, you’re loved in a language that you can’t understand
Let’s get one thing straight: different people need different levels of affection to function. It all actually depends on your love language.
I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. Well, one of these five love languages is physical touch. These are the people who prefer to use nonverbal communication to express their feelings instead of literally saying “I love you”.
They won’t tell you they care for you right away. They won’t write you love poems or throw you a romantic surprise every now and then.
But, they will use every opportunity they get to touch their loved one, to hold their hand when talking, to hug them, or to kiss them while passing by.
These people have the urge to constantly be near the person they love. This closeness gives them safety, comfort, and satisfaction.
There is no problem when you find a partner who has the same urge for kissing, cuddling, and intercourse. But, what happens when two people who show love in completely different ways end up together?
What if your partner is an introvert? What if showing physical affection means stepping out of his comfort zone?
What if your assumption that they don’t love you is misinformation? So, before accusing your partner of indifference, take this possibility into consideration.
For starters, observe their behavior closely. Do they express love for you via other languages?
Maybe, they prefer complimenting you or buying you gifts. Maybe, they enjoy spending quality time with you or express their unconditional love by doing you small, everyday favors.
If this is the case, there is no doubt: you and your partner don’t speak the same love language. Even though this realization alone won’t magically solve your problem, you know what you’re dealing with.
Besides, it’s a start, isn’t it?
The worst type of distance is the emotional one
People who are on similar wavelengths have no trouble keeping a long-distance relationship alive despite all the miles between them. But, what about those who sit next to each other, but have never been more distant?
That’s exactly what’s going on with you and your significant other. They’re physically present in your life, but the truth is that you can’t seem to genuinely feel their presence.
It’s like the bond you two once had vanished. Someone or something cut the cords, and now, there you are: two strangers who keep waking up next to each other.
Well, the lack of physical touch you’re currently struggling with is nothing but a direct consequence of this emotional distance. You two have drifted away from one another over the years.
This is something many couples face at a certain point in their relationship. You don’t know when and how it happened, but you admit that you feel emotionally disconnected from your partner.
It’s like neither of you is mentally or emotionally present in the relationship. Your thoughts and heart wander elsewhere, as far away as possible from your significant other.
When this happens, the mere attempt of physical intimacy sickens you or at least makes you uncomfortable.
Your SO’s touch used to provide relief after a long day, and now you have a hard time falling asleep next to them, let alone something more.
For some couples, sadly, this is the end of their romantic relationship. They have stopped loving each other, and this is nothing but a sign that it’s time to part ways.
On the other hand, some see it as nothing more than a crisis. They decide to fight it off and put all of their efforts into restoring the lost intimacy.
Which approach is the right one, you must wonder. Is a relationship worth saving once it reaches this point?
Well, nobody can give you the answer to this question – the choice is always yours.
RELATED: 10 Signs He Is Not Putting Enough Effort Into Your Relationship
Even the strongest feelings expire when ignored and taken for granted
Another reason hidden behind this situation in your relationship is the rut you and your boyfriend or girlfriend fell into.
You two have been together for ages, and somehow, along the way, both of you stopped nurturing the relationship. It’s like you forgot it needs to be watered and fed as if it were a human being.
Your love still hasn’t vanished, but it definitely is on the path of destruction. For years, nobody has ever done anything to keep it alive, and now you have to deal with the ruins of what once was great love.
Sounds familiar, right? Well, this is a quite common situation with long-term couples in committed relationships.
The bottom line here is that you started taking each other for granted. The courtship phase is long gone; there is no more dating and no more winning each other over.
So, you stopped. You stopped paying compliments, paying attention, and providing affection.
You got used to this person’s presence and you’re sure they’re not going anywhere, no matter what happens. You’ve lost the desire for someone who is always at your arm’s reach.
The passion is gone, the butterflies in your belly are asleep, but the skin hunger is there.
You and your spouse are no longer lovers or romantic partners. You might be friends or co-parents, but most of all, you are roommates. You don’t live together – you coexist next to each other.
How do you fix it?
What happened to all those fireworks from the beginning of your romance? Well, you two shut them off with joint forces.
Nevertheless, I’m not here to judge you. Trust me: it happens to the best as well.
But, now that you’re aware of the problem, it’s time to get into action. Revive the spark in your romance and see it go back to its golden era.
Has all of this been an issue from the very start? Is it possible that this is not happening for the first time? Were you so blinded by love that you failed to notice it?
Is it possible that you pretended it didn’t bother you back then? But now, you’ve reached a pointwhere you’ve had enough?
In that case, you’re dealing with an emotionally unavailable partner with intimacy issues. Or, maybe they’re just self-centered to the point where they consciously refuse to love anyone but themselves.
To get one thing straight, they’ve been like this forever, and they’ll probably keep their behavioral patterns for as long as they breathe.
But, you probably thought you could change them with time. You were convinced you had what it took to open their heart to love.
You ignored all the red flags and you thought you’d make them fall in love with you. It’s not like you failed to see that they were incapable of loving – you just kept your hopes up that things would turn out differently.
You dreamt about tearing down their walls. You craved them letting you in one day and becoming softer.
Nevertheless, that never happened, did it? They became even more emotionally unavailable once they realized that you were there and that you had no intention of leaving them.
How do you fix it?
If this is something you can relate to, you don’t have many options left. Whatever happens, you have to forget about your love changing them. If that could have happened, it would have until now. When I realized that he doesn’t love me (my ex), I decided to move on immediately.
Therefore, you can either embrace the situation or leave the situation. You can either sentence yourself to a loveless life next to them or continue on your own.
You can either remain in this one-sided relationship or you can move on in hopes of finding the one you deserve.
I won’t lie to you: in both cases, you’ll break your own heart, but only one option will turn your entire life into a dark tunnel without the light at the end of it.
How someone is responding to you may have nothing to do with you
When something is off in our romance, we tend to blame ourselves.
If you’re touch-deprived, you’ll immediately see this as the end of the world. Has the love between you and your partner disappeared?
Did your relationship reach its expiration date? Are they unfaithful? Are they having an emotional affair? Are you no longer attractive?
But, have you ever wondered if maybe your partner isn’t affectionate due to some other problem completely unrelated to your relationship? Is it possible that something outside of your romance is going wrong?
Adult life does this to people. We’re all busy, running between errands and responsibilities.
Maybe, your SO is dealing with some mental health issues; maybe they’re depressed or are just going through a stressful period. Either way, it’s more than obvious that they’re bothered with something.
Therefore, showing you affection simply isn’t the primary thing on their mind right now.
How do you fix it?
Even though this reason seems quite benign, it’s still not the best news in the world. You see, if your partner is going through a rough patch, but you know nothing about it, you still have a problem.
This time, we’re not talking about touch-deprivation only. It’s clear that you two have some communication issues.
That’s why you have to start working on the cause before dealing with the consequences. Talk to your SO, regain their trust, and make them realize they can tell you everything.
Don’t judge them, but carefully listen to whatever they have to say. Don’t pressure them either unless you want to scare them off.
You two should recreate the safe environment in the relationship. The moment you achieve this difficult goal, your communication will improve and physical affection will make its great comeback.
See also: 13 Things To Remember When Dating A Non Affectionate Person
How Can Lack Of Affection From A Husband Or Wife Affect You?
You’re a social being, and whether you’re aware of that or not, you need human touch as you need air to breathe. You especially need it from your partner – the person you see as your soulmate.
So, what happens when you’re deprived of physical contact with them? Well, it has to leave some consequences on you, doesn’t it?
If stress burned calories, you’d be a supermodel
Skin hunger and lack of human contact in general lead to stress – there is no doubt about that. Lonely people are more frequently frustrated and discontent with their lives.
So, you can just imagine what being lonely while physically next to your loved one can do to you. It makes you angry, unhappy, and miserable.
You feel like arguing with everyone who crosses your path, you have zero tolerance to any kind of disagreement, and you could literally bite everyone who uses the wrong tone on you, let alone something else.
The worst part is that, in most cases, it takes you awhile to understand what’s going on with you. You see that something is off, but you have a hard time figuring the cause of all of this stress.
So, instead of working on the cause, this amount of stress stresses you even more, and before you know it, you’re trapped in an endless, vicious cycle that you see no way out of.
Your mood shifts dozens of times during the day, your relationships with friends and family get into crises, and you end up in some kind of social isolation because if the truth is told, you’re not good company for anyone.
Your entire life starts breaking apart. What is the most disastrous is the fact that the relationship you have with yourself seems to be on a rocky edge as well.
The truth is that you have been having a hard time putting up with yourself lately. This entire situation has taken a serious toll on your mental health.
You become more and more anxious, and it’s like you fail to see that you’re in desperate need of something so simple as your loved one’s affection. Of course, you’re not getting any, so your condition worsens.
Please remember one thing: nothing and nobody is worthy of your mental health. Put yourself as a priority and put an effort into making yourself happy if you can’t fix your relationship.
You’re no longer comfortable in your own skin
Lack of physical contact in a romantic relationship brings numerous self-esteem problems. It’s actually pretty logical.
The person you share your life with doesn’t kiss you, doesn’t hold you in their arms, doesn’t hug you, and ultimately, doesn’t sleep with you. So, who could blame you for concluding that they find you repulsive?
You’re convinced that your partner no longer sees you as attractive. The first thing you do is start looking for flaws in your body.
Have you gained weight? Or, maybe did you lose one pound too many? Should you do something different with your hair? Would hitting the gym help? Or, maybe changing your perfume?
You start comparing yourself to all other men and women – especially to those near your SO. You picture your partner admiring everyone’s looks and then realizing that you are the worst choice they could have ever made.
Not only that: you also compare yourself to the person you were at the beginning of your romance. After all, this is who your spouse fell in love with, so the way to their heart is to go back to being your younger self.
The biggest problem here is that these self-esteem issues stick with you even if your relationship breaks apart. They become a heavy burden that you carry in all of your future romances.
You build issues that follow you around for a long period. Once you start feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, your body image changes forever.
It takes you a long time to understand that you’re gorgeous just the way you are, and it takes you a long time to accept your imperfections.
But, it takes you the longest time to realize that your physical appearance had nothing to do with touch deprivation. When you’re in a healthy relationship, your loved one will love you back no matter how you look – that’s the whole point.
Loneliness is not a lack of company – it’s a lack of purpose
University of Arizona Professor, Kory Floyd, says: “Touch, in particular, is so important, not only to relationships, human connection, and human attachment, but also to our health and well-being, both physically and mentally.”
Therefore, it’s no surprise that lack of intimacy and touch deprivation cause a shortage of oxytocin, the love hormone.
Consequently, depression starts to crawl into your world. Even though you’re not physically and technically alone, you’re very much lonely.
You have a romantic partner, but most of the time, you feel like you’re single. You feel unloved and unwanted, which can’t be pleasing for anyone.
It’s not that your relationship is the only thing falling apart here – your entire life is. You think that all of your efforts are in vain and like you have lost all purpose in this world.
What can you do about it?
Well, you haven’t! Even if the person next to you has stopped loving you, you must never stop loving yourself.
I know that you’re lonely. Yes, it sucks. But, hey, you still have yourself, and who can be more important than that?
How Do You Save An Affection-Deprived Relationship?
The best news is that not everything is lost. A touch-deprived relationship can be saved, and here is exactly how to do it.
If love isn’t given freely to you, it isn’t worth having
The number one mistake people make in affection-deprived relationships is begging for attention. They start chasing love in desperate attempts to catch it.
There is nothing unusual about this. You get scared that you’re losing the person you love, and you want to hold them next to you as tightly as possible.
But, is the love you chase even worth having? According to all relationship advice, it definitely isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should sit arms crossed and not move a finger. Don’t let pride ruin your love.
Nevertheless, don’t forget about your dignity either. It’s one thing to ask your partner to talk about your problem, but begging them down on your knees is something completely different.
Look, you can’t force anyone to be affectionate the same way you can’t force anyone to love you.
You can do your best to find a compromise regarding this issue, and you can be open about what’s bothering you and hope for the best. Everything else is pretty much outside of your reach.
There is no point in returning the favor
Another thing you shouldn’t be doing is getting even. I know that you want to boost your ego by giving your partner a taste of their own medicine, but trust me: it’s not the way to go. Besides being immature, it won’t get you anywhere.
You know exactly what I’m talking about. Your SO was depriving you of physical affection for awhile, so now that they are trying to get closer to you, you’re not letting them in.
You avoid their cuddles, kisses, and hugs despite the skin hunger that’s overwhelming you.
You’re actually punishing them for their behavior. This is your revenge – you don’t plan on running to them every time they remember to show affection.
Even though I get your point of view, the better choice is to let them slide this time. If you don’t, then the abyss between you two will only become deeper.
To Wrap Up:
Lack of affection in a relationship is a big deal – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to understand that the lack of physical contact is actually, in most cases, just a consequence of a deeper problem.
But, the good news is that things don’t have to always remain like this. This problem can be solved and your relationship can be saved.
There is only one condition: both you and your partner have to join forces to fix things.
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