Partners who don’t show an abundance of affection to their significant others (or children, friends, and family members) are typically Thinking (T) types on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. These partners view the world from a logical (and often impersonal) perspective and relationships are no exception. Not surprisingly, it can be difficult for their caring, warm, and more sensitive Feeling (F) counterparts to understand lovers who rarely show emotion, let alone affection.
It can be tricky to navigate the meaning of the subtle signs that these partners leave like bread crumbs on your dates, but once you understand how this type of partner shows affection, you will find an abundance of love in those crumbs.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Holding hands is out of the question. Holding hands is not practical. It slows people down, throws people off balance, and forces couples to walk in cadence. If you try to grab your non-affectionate partner’s hand while walking, expect your grasp to be broken within 10 seconds.
2. They are as cuddly as a cactus. On the rare occasions that these partners want to cuddle, their embrace is perfectly warm, loving, and peaceful. For the other 9 out of 10 times you try to cuddle with this partner, it’s chaos and not worth the fight- they are too warm, they are uncomfortable, they can’t see the TV. Try putting a hand on their knee for physical affection.
3. They are a physical affection camel. That one night of snuggling will have to last you several weeks until your next movie date night. This partner only has so many ‘movie date night snuggles’ in them and they just reached their quota for the month.
4. A hand on your leg means a lot. You may not get a full cuddling session for several weeks, but you will get small moments of affection, like a surprise hug or a kiss on your forehead. These small signs of affection have big feelings behind them. Appreciating these little moments will help you understand your partner’s feelings towards you.
5. They don’t need to talk about their feelings. Even on your wedding day, you and your partner still won’t have a long, heartfelt discussion about your feelings towards each other. You will likely have the same 5 minute, straight forward conversation about your practical future together that you had when you got engaged.
6. There will still be passion in your relationship. Dating someone who is pragmatic doesn’t mean that all the passion is going to be leaked out of your relationship. Partners who don’t show affection often will make up for this emotional void by showing their love through gestures- like bringing home flowers, or cleaning the house on their day off, or cooking a candlelit dinner.
7. Public displays of affection are out of the question. As you sit in the café, watching couples kiss and sit on the same side of the booth, whispering sweet nothings to each other, you and your partner are sitting on opposite sides of the booth-where you can have a discussion face to face (like adults) and not make the waitress uncomfortable.
8. Tenderness is only shown privately. You will likely need to repeat to your friends over and over again “he really is different when we are alone.” And like most mythological tales, your friends just won’t believe your tale of the formidable boyfriend who is a soft, cuddly bear at home.
9. Sometimes, you have to sneak in your affection. There are ways to get extra moments of tenderness when you really need it. Try giving your partner a backrub or scratching their arm while you’re sitting on the couch. They’ll be suckered by your pampering and will let you crawl into their nook.
10. If you want to snuggle, make them come to you. Give this partner the space to show affection in their own way. If you force your love on them or try to force them to show you love, then your partner is going to feel overwhelmed and stifled.
11. They still have feelings of love and affection, they just don’t need to show it all the time. Stoic men and pragmatic females feel feelings too, they just show it in different, more simplistic ways. The trick is to appreciate these moments (and the meaning behind them) when they happen.
12. When they say “I love you”, they mean it. The best part about dating this type of partner is that they don’t waste time trivially saying “I love you.” They say it when they mean it. And there is nothing more powerful than hearing those three words and knowing that your partner means it with all their heart.