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Ever read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? If you’re in a serious relationship or plan to marry soon, you definitely should. It offers so much insight into the different ways we express love so that you have a better understanding of how to meet the needs of your partner. One of the languages is physical touch.

The 5 Love Languages web site classifies this language as more than sex, but rather, “holding hands, kissing, embracing, back rubs, or an arm around the shoulder.”

As a woman or man, if your language is physical touch, these actions mean quite a bit when it comes to how you feel loved. But what do you do if your partner is somewhat affectionate behind closed doors, but refuses to be tender with you in public? Is it enough to be a deal breaker?

A young woman online shared a story about a guy she started dating recently who she likes. She is now wondering if he really likes her. She’s into physical touch, and while he makes his best attempts to be affectionate in private, he shirks public displays of affection.

While out doing some window shopping together recently, the woman said she attempted to grab the guy’s hand, only for him to pull away. In a playful mood, knowing that it made him a little uncomfortable (which she found funny), she kept trying to grab his hand, and even tried to plant a kiss on his cheek. Irritated by her persistence, the guy eventually pushed her hand away and told her explicitly to “stop it.” Her feelings were hurt, and she was left feeling spurned. She couldn’t help but wonder if he’s not really into her or if he’s just one of those guys who isn’t into PDA. And while she could understand the idea that he might not be very comfortable with it, physical touch is very important to her. Therefore, she’s wondering if it’s worth it to move forward with him if they don’t speak the same language. Love language, that is.

Other people might say that a guy not publicly showing you affection is an unconscious sign of him not liking you as much as you thought. But really, I’m wondering if it’s just a form of shyness. If he were pushing her away behind closed doors in the same way he seems to do publicly, then that would be a pretty clear (like, billboard clear) sign that he’s not really interested. But if he makes an effort when they spend quality time alone, and just can’t seem to get over the discomfort of possibly being watched or making other people uncomfortable by being so lovey-dovey out in the open, it may not be something she needs to take personally. Still, a conversation about why he’s so uneasy holding her hand or kissing her in public, and then relaying why even small displays of affection mean a lot to her, could likely go a long way to make things work. That way she could better gauge how he’s feeling (especially about her), as there is definitely a difference between being a little uncomfortable and being flat-out uninterested…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say you? If a person is uncomfortable being affectionate out in the open, but you’re all about physical touch and playfulness, does it mean they’re not into you? Should you move on if such signs of affection are important to you? 


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