According to the best-selling book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts there are five different ways in which people like to give and receive affection towards their loved ones. Problems arise in relationships when we don’t realize that people have these different ways of giving love. One person may feel unloved if their partner doesn’t tell them explicitly about their feelings every day while another could never hear “I love you” but be totally blissful as long as they spend hours together watching Netflix every week. If you or your partner’s love language is touch, here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Public displays of affection. Remember that verbally saying “I love you” is only one kind of person’s preferred method of demonstrating love. If your partner primarily shows love through touch — they demonstrate this every time you’re sitting somewhere together and they reach over and rub your shoulder, or put their arm around you and gently caress your scalp. These little touches convey your partner’s reality: you are the person they care about and touching you — and making you feel good — is one of the most important things in their life.
2. Taking the time to hug you before they leave for work, even if they are running late. They don’t want to start their day or say goodbye without a quick fix of your warmth.
3. Massage. Anyone whose love language is ‘touch’ will be very into giving and receiving massages. It’s not just the laying of hands on each other — it’s all the good stuff massage does to your body. From working out knots in your muscles to promoting deep relaxation and soothing anxiety, a good rub down is one of the healthiest things you can habitually do as a couple.
4. They won’t withhold physical touch just because they are mad at you. Especially for older/more mature partners, they can’t stand the thought of you feeling unloved in the way that they like to demonstrate love, even if you’re at a temporary impasse in your disagreement.
5. They initiate physical contact. All the time. If you’re ever feeling insecure in your relationship ground yourself by making sure you aren’t holding them up to the standard of what you would do based on the ways you prefer to communicate love. Pay attention to their touches and let those make you feel secure again.
6. When you’re apart, they talk about how they’d like to touch you. Sometimes this can get mistaken for lust and one partner will wish the other person missed them in a more intellectual (or more wholesome) capacity. But this is that capacity, it’s just manifesting itself through the desire for physical closeness with the person they intellectually/wholesomely desire.
7. They’ll try to hold your hand whenever you’re walking somewhere together. They love this refresher of “yes, we’re partners, we are in this together” that hand-holding gives.
8. When you’re stressed out or having a bad day, they try to spoil you through touch. They’ll rub your shoulders or give you a scalp massage. They’ll give you a long, firm hug. They’ll even rub your feet if you’ve been running around too much.
9. They’ll want a lot of sex. Slightly moreso than other love languages, sex is extremely important for touchers. They want to be physically close to you, they want to physically express how they feel about you — and they rely on you doing the same.
10. Especially foreplay. The worst kind of sex for someone who loves touch is quickie jackhammer sex. Take time to kiss and caress their body in a variety of places. Keep your hands on them as much as possible. If you’re a verbal person, write “I love you” with your finger across their back when you’re done. Whatever you do, make sure the act is one bookshelfed on both ends by loving physical intimacy.
11. They’ll touch you underneath your clothes — in a non-dirty way. Pay special attention to this and think about what it means. When their hands slip under the collar of your shirt when you embrace it’s because they are coveting skin to skin contact. Your bodies can’t deliver that sweet oxytocin rush when you touch over clothes. What they really crave is the closeness that their skin on your skin brings.