Are You Dating A Non Affectionate Person (13 Tips For Dating One)

Last updated on October 24, 2022 by April Maccario

Every relationship will hit a rough patch once in a while, but what happens when it feels like your partner is cold toward you? 

No woman would really be okay with a man who cannot express affection publicly even when he’s shown privately that he’s capable of it. 

In fact, you might easily suspect your man of cheating on you because he doesn’t have any interest in cuddling while watching TV. Although women are highly emotional beings who require physical affection as a love expression, they are also logical beings. 

As a woman, you’re able to sense beyond what someone says and see through their unspoken feelings. As such, before you jump to the conclusion that he’s a cheat, you’ll probably consider other reasons for his lack of basic affection.

On the other hand, it’s possible for a man to be non-affectionate and cannot express love. Such men who completely dislike physical contact are a no-no, especially since they tend to be narcissistic too. 

One night, you might discover that your partner is actually naturally non-affectionate, and there’s nothing wrong with you, especially if you’ve been blaming yourself for his actions. 

Have you noticed that your partner is averse to handholding in public, or that he pulls away from you immediately after sex? You might be in love with a non-affectionate man. 

It can be confusing and frustrating trying to deal with such a situation by yourself. And while highly trained coaches can give you specific advice for handling this kind of situation, the tips in this article can help you partially handle the issue before seeking professionals who will give you tailor-made advice. 

13 Tips For Dating A Non Affectionate Person 

1. Understand that you might not want the same things

When you’re with a non-affectionate guy, and you’ve decided that he’s the one you want to be with, the first thing to understand is that you might not want the same things. Of course, you need to share some common interests, but he’ll think differently from you in other cases. 

To gain a unique insight into the man you’re dating, you need to patiently observe him. His lack of expressive affection doesn’t make him less of a loving boyfriend. You can be sure that he has emotional needs, and other ways of expressing his affection – you just need to find them.

2. If he claims to love you, it’s most likely true

If your non-affectionate boyfriend says he loves you, he probably does. The fact that he’s not showing affection the way you expected doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. Pay attention to his actions more than his words.

Pestering him to show you more affection through your ways will make him feel like you’re asking for too much affection. This can rattle him and make him pull back from you

3. Don’t force the issue of PDA

don't force the issue of PDA

If you love to express yourself anywhere but your boyfriend isn’t a fan of public displays of affection, both of you need to work around your expectations. For him, publicly touching your legs is all the PDA he’s capable of, and you can’t force him to do more than that.

You can express your displeasure at his disinterest in showing more affection without acting as the relationship hero by trying to change him. The most likely outcome of trying to make him like something he’s not comfortable with is losing him.

4. Holding hands or hugging might be all the affection he shows

When your boyfriend doesn’t initiate affection publicly, you can feel crushed, especially if you’re big on physical intimacy. Instead of acting up when he doesn’t show affection in your own way, accepting his mode of expression is one of the ways to grow closer to him. 

For example, during the next movie date night, enjoy the handholding, and side hugs he gives you rather than complain about how other couples are making out in the movie theater.

5. He came from a non-affectionate background

If your partner lacked quality intimacy while growing up, it is no wonder that he finds it really hard to be affectionate as an adult. When a child experiences emotional starvation, he tends to shrink into himself, and he might even suffer low self-esteem.

This kind of man would have also probably had a previous romance that turned out badly, and this personal experience can make him shy away from physical expressions of love.

6. Pour your feelings into the sex

Good communication isn’t limited to talking, it’s also evident in the way you make love to your partner. With a non-affectionate partner, sexual intimacy might be one of the few channels through which your partner’s feelings are obvious. 

His show of affection might be occasional but this kind of man will put all his efforts into making you feel loved. He’ll probably be all-nighter when it comes to sex, but the downside to being an attentive and satisfying lover is that he might not initiate sex or other physical gestures often.

7. Avoid constant shows of unpredictability

To be genuinely helpful to someone who finds it difficult to be physically affectionate, you need to be constant in your words and actions. Being overly spontaneous can spook a man who depends on stability to function properly.

Acting in just the way he is familiar with can ensure stability in the relationship. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to be spontaneous, but excessive erratic behaviors can make a non-affectionate man avoid you.

8. Discover his love language

discover his love language

One of the reasons you started dating him is because you wanted to feel loved. He also wants to feel loved, but in a different way. As such, talk to your partner if you feel ignored through his lack of physical connection.

Beyond talking, study his body language to know what fascinates or repels him. This can also help you learn his love language which can be acts of service instead of physical touch.

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9. Show him that he can trust you

It’s not enough to tell someone, especially a romantic partner, to trust you. You actually need to show him that he can trust you with his emotions and secrets. If he has had bitter relationship experiences, it will be hard for him to trust you. If he is naturally non-affectionate, it becomes even harder to know what’s going through his head. Since trust is a mutual thing in relationships, you need to give as much effort as you expect from him.

10. Avoid unrealistic expectations concerning him

To make a relationship with a non-affectionate person work, you need to forget your unrealistic expectations and set new ones. For example, it is silly to expect someone who’s been non-affectionate for a long time, probably all his life, to change overnight. Rather than trying to change him through constant arguments, talk to him and see how both of you can compromise to meet in the middle.

11. Stay true to the boundaries in the relationship

When two people with different personalities date, it’s necessary to set some boundaries to protect each other and sustain the relationship. For instance, if your partner dislikes more attention in public, don’t draw attention to him more than necessary. Also, don’t pretend to forget the boundaries he’s set just to see how he’ll react. This kind of test never ends well.

12. A seemingly non-affectionate partner can be the most trusted ally

Even though he doesn’t usually have the desire to hug or kiss you at every turn, your non-affectionate partner might be the most reliable person in your life. Don’t try to draw him out of his comfort zone to merely suit your more adventurous personality, and breaking up with him because you have different ideas of what fun is can be a big mistake.

You might realize too late that he’s more dedicated to you than some of your family members. Down the line, you’ll even accept that you prefer his occasional hug to his total absence in your life.

13. He probably doesn’t feel anything for you

he-probably doesn't feel anything for you

The option no one likes to consider is that of total disinterest from someone you care about. It can be a bitter pill to swallow, but it could actually be that the guy is not interested in you. If you hold on to him for too long to prove to yourself that you can change him, he might leave you for another woman. 

Then, you’ll be terribly hurt watching him do to her the same things he refused to do with you. For example, you might discover that he was a physical affectionate camel with only you, and he doesn’t mind kissing or hugging the new girl publicly for more than just a few minutes.

The right person will not make you feel lonely in a relationship. Instead, he’ll want to share everything with you whether he struggles with expressing affection or not. As such, you’re better off without this man.


How do you deal with a non-affectionate partner?

Dating a non-affectionate when you’re naturally expressive can be a hassle. However, it doesn’t mean that your partner is a completely cold person. After all, if he doesn’t show that he cares for you at all, you wouldn’t be with him. As such, if he expresses his affection through other gestures, your relationship should be just fine.

You might need to be patient with him, especially if the romance is still fresh. With time, you’ll get to understand how he expresses his feelings for you.

Can a relationship survive without affection?

No relationship can survive without some show of affection. Dating a non-affectionate person who has no alternative way of showing his care for you can only lead to heartbreak. His inability to express affection goes beyond his refusal to hug you publicly. It’s more about how he treats you privately.

Does he also avoid physical touch except during sex? If he doesn’t have a health abnormality that prevents him from making constant physical contact, then he’s probably with you for the sex alone.

What does it mean when there is no affection in a relationship?

When there’s no sign of affection in your relationship, it means that the love you once shared with your partner is dead or was never there in the first place. This is not one of the difficult love situations that people try hard to change.

Once you don’t feel or see any affectionate actions from your partner, it’s time to exit the relationship. You might try your best to make it work because he has other redeeming qualities that make him a suitable partner. However, what is romance without small and big affectionate actions?

What does a lack of affection do to a woman?

When a man isn’t willing to hold hands with his woman, she can take it as a sign of disinterest or that he’s cheating on her. It’s even worse if the man had been physically expressive in the past but suddenly stops. The lack of affection will make the woman feel unloved, unattractive, and unwanted. She can easily surmise that he’s stopped loving her before he ends the romance.

Why are some guys not affectionate?

Most men are not comfortable expressing their feelings outside the bedroom because they were raised to be emotionally strong. It usually takes such men a long time to accept that being affectionate or showing their feelings doesn’t make them weak. When dating a non-affectionate person who thinks like this, patience is required to get through to him.

 In Conclusion 

Non-affectionate partners can be the toughest to love, especially when you’re expecting the bubbly kinda romance where your man will smother you in love and sweet nothings. However, difficulty with showing care isn’t the same thing as total inability to show affection. 

By following some of the tips above, you can enjoy your relationship, even when your partner isn’t crazy about physical intimacy.

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Do you hate it how everything seems to always revolve round him while you just seem to be an afterthought sometimes?
We hear this all the time from women that contact us asking for help with their relationship.

It almost makes you wonder whether he actually likes you or whether he's just stringing you along.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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