Merriam-Webster dictionary defines affection as “a feeling of liking or caring for someone or something.” In other words, it’s not all about sex. In fact, the best signs of affection aren’t always the standard signs. There are subtle ways you can grow your bond with your partner that are more intimate than anything between the sheets ever could be.
Remember the little details when it counts. Whether you find yourself in a new relationship or you married your soulmate years ago, he’ll love that you remember the little details of your conversations. Just as you expect him to listen to your stories about the office or your favorite books, you should be actively listening when he speaks. He mentioned a new movie he’s dying to see? Surprise him with movie tickets. It really is about the little things.
Compliment him and let them know you appreciate him. Positive affirmations are key in any relationship. Sometimes when you’re in a long-term relationship, you end up guilty of taking your partner for granted. You’ve been together awhile and you just assume he knows all the things you love about him. Men, just like women, love when you remind them that you adore their smile or you love their jokes. Positive affirmations include letting him know you appreciate him when he helps out and supporting him when he needs it.
Make him a priority. Now, I’m not suggesting that you make the man you’ve dated for two weeks a priority over your sick best friend, but if you’ve been together or awhile, he should be one of the priorities in your life. You should make time for a date night once a week instead of hitting the bar every weekend with your girls. This includes making his feelings a priority.
Hold his hand in public. A little PDA goes a long way. You don’t need to mack on each other or grope each other in public—we can’t stand those people with their tongues down each other’s throats at the supermarket; there’s a time and place for that. Instead, try a little hand-holding while shopping or going for a walk. This shows him that you feel pride in being with him and shows others that you have someone.
Try a new experience together. On your next date together, try something new to you both. You can try a new activity or just mix up your usual cuisine. A study showed that married couples who go on new adventures together are happier in their relationships. This is because when we try something new, our brains flood with happy, feel-good chemicals. You know, the same chemicals that took over our brains when we initially fell in love with our significant other. Plus, this gives you an excuse to go out together if your recent date nights have consisted of Netflix and pajamas.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. It can’t be said enough—communication is super important to any relationship. Opening up to each other builds intimacy and trust. It’s OK to be vulnerable if you’re in love. This vulnerability allows your guy open up to you too and helps him understand what makes you the person you are today. Take the time to talk about your past, even the embarrassing memories or the scary memories. Open up about your dreams and your ambitions. It’ll work wonders.
Keep eye contact when you’re talking. Expanding on the idea of communicating and sharing, eye contact is a big thing. Have you ever told your most personal stories to someone who didn’t look at you? It makes you uncomfortable and you don’t believe the person heard a word you said. Even if you multitask well, you give the impression that he’s not important enough to give all your attention. Not to mention, the right kind of eye contact shows your connection with him without words.
Give your time to him. Giving your guy your time goes along with making him a priority. If he’s feeling stressed after a bad day, call him when you arrive home from work. If you drop him an “I miss you” text or take five minutes out of a busy day to call him, he’s going to notice you made time for him. Make date nights, schedule your vacations together, or watch the Super Bowl with him even if you hate the teams on the field. He’s going to know you’re in for the long haul and that you care.
Recognize and respect that every couple is different. Every couple expresses love differently. It’s about finding what fits both of your personalities and your special connection. If you’re an avid kisser, that’s cool too, but taking the time to show him you care outside of the standards of affection and physical touch tells him you acknowledge his needs too and tells him you love him.