Thoughts on ‘No Hugs’ and physical affection…

In a recent letter to Dear Abby, a 28-year-old woman had written that from the moment she’d met her boyfriend of two years, she’d known he was the one for her.  The problem? He didn’t give her enough affection. He never said I love you unless she said it first and didn’t like to hug or cuddle. The boyfriend’s explanation was that he hadn’t grown up with displays of affection. Now No Hugs No Cuddles in Philly was beginning to have doubts about their future.

Ya think? On its face, the answer (at least to me) is simple: they’re not married, there are no children involved and if she’s not getting her basic emotional needs met, then it’s time to cut bait and move on.

Now, I don’t know this woman and the sum total of my information comes from the Dear Abby column, but the deeper implied and inferred issues in this relationship fascinate me.

Some people are naturally physically demonstrative; others feel uncomfortable with physical displays of affection. Neither is right or wrong, it just is. But when two polar opposites get together, it can create friction that can undermine the relationship from the start. As the saying goes, opposites attract, but likes endure.

I inferred from No Hugs’ letter that her boyfriend had been physically undemonstrative from the beginning of their relationship, which raises a question why this young woman immediately would have fancied herself smitten by someone who hadn’t met her needs from the start.

It makes me wonder if perhaps she is one of those people who falls in love before he or she has gotten to know the object of their affection or if she’s the sort who continually falls for the wrong sort of man or who unconsciously seeks out drama in her relationships. Instant chemistry, attraction and liking exists, but I believe that you cannot truly love a person until you know who that person really is. I don’t believe it’s possible to love a stranger.

I wonder if the boyfriend’s explanation that he did not grow up in a physically demonstrative home is merely an excuse for the real truth that he is just not that into her.

I find it also possible that his level of demonstativeness is “normal,” but that she requires an excessive amount of physical and verbal reassurance.

Here’s a link to the letter. I’d be curious to hear what you think and what advice you would have given No Hugs.

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2 Responses to Thoughts on ‘No Hugs’ and physical affection…

  1. Jade Cary says:

    I think that maybe she thought she could change him, that if SHE loved HIM enough, he’d come around. With age comes wisdom, as they say.

    I remember a long time ago a couple who were acquaintances of some good friends of ours divorced, and HE eventually started bringing another woman around. This new woman eventually became wife #2. The trouble in the first marriage had been the same issue: he was not affectionate enough. I asked our mutual friend what was different about this obvious new happy union, now complete with kids. She simply said, “SHE takes the lead. If she wants to hold his hand, she does. If she wants to be held, she sits in his lap.” I thought, huh. So this new woman was secure enough to make sure she got her needs met, and voila! It worked.

    Now that I’m older and more secure, I make sure my needs are met, but the funny thing is, he always HAD met them. I just didn’t see it as clearly as I do now.

    Fascinating post, C.


  2. Cara Bristol says:

    You raise an interesting point…that one needs to ASK for what one wants. If he’s not getting the message, tell him.

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