I Dated Someone Who Wasn’t That Comfortable With PDA & It Sucked

Couples who can’t keep their hands off each other are pretty gag-worthy, sure, but I still prefer to be in a physically affectionate relationship. I once dated a girl who wasn’t into PDA at all and as someone who kinda lives for it (within reason, of course), it took a bit of getting used to.

What’s the big deal anyway? I totally get why extreme PDA makes some people uncomfortable. Like I said, sometimes seeing people all over each other when you’re out trying to get groceries can be annoying at best and incredibly uncomfortable at worst. Still, I’ve never seen anything wrong with couples being affectionate in public as long as it’s appropriate for the setting and people around.

I always felt I was better at communicating through touch than speaking. That was particularly true in this relationship, where I was so smitten so quickly. It felt like every time I opened my mouth, I was making a fool out of myself. I wanted to be holding her hand, touching her leg, kissing, hugging, or generally just showing her how much I liked her without having to find the right words.

I was in a closeted relationship before her and hiding my affection made me feel like it was happening all over again. It wasn’t rational, I know. I had the most supportive friends and so did she, but I still felt like I had a point to prove. It would still make my heart thud whenever we’d go out holding hands. Yes, I’d still feel a little twinge of nausea, but I preferred it so much more than no physical affection.

Touching her made me feel closer to her. There would be times where I wouldn’t be able to find the words and she wouldn’t either. When this happened, it felt so much easier to just hold her than try and muddle through it out loud. It would satisfy some needy urge in me to be able to just sit next to her and hold her hand.

It was a symptom of my own insecurity. I was clingy, I admit, but it was only because I was terrified that I’d blink and she’d be gone like my previous partners. This manifested through touch—and a few other unhealthy habits, but that’s for another time—and there were definitely times when it would get to her, which was completely fair. It just sucked that for me, it felt like another rejection of my affection.

I’m a tactile person and I need a partner who is too. I touch people all the time, and I don’t just mean my partners—I’m clingy with everyone I consider to be a friend and I’ve gotten pretty good at reading when my affection isn’t necessarily wanted. It’s just that when I’m dating someone, I find it that a bit harder to resist because if I’m into someone, why wouldn’t I want to be touching them all the time?

I’d fought my internalized homophobia really hard and I didn’t want to feel ashamed of who I loved. It had been a really difficult battle to find peace with my sexuality. It was horrible to have to constantly fight my own feelings, so when I found this relationship after my closeted one, I didn’t want to hold back at all—particularly not when my previous relationship had literally meant panicked kisses in empty classrooms and jumping away from each other at the slightest noise.

My parents are affectionate and it’s great. My parents have always been a couple that holds hands whenever we’d go out, give each other kisses whenever they want, and cuddles on the couch at night. I wanted a relationship as tactile as theirs because PDA is an awesome demonstration of love and care.

I just have a lot of feelings, OK? I’m a complete ball of emotions pretty much 90% of the time and if I can’t figure out what I’m feeling, what I want to say, or how I should say it, it’s so much easier to simply give someone a cuddle or a kiss. Granted, making out with her on a very crowded bus full of drunk students who proceeded to mildly taunt us when we first got together probably wasn’t the smartest move, but I still thought it was great!

I was proud of her and wanted people to know we were together. I was totally smitten with her and I saw absolutely no reason to try and hide that from people. It was completely terrifying—she was older and had very intimidating friends—but I was more than happy to deal with the staring and comments because it meant I got to hold her hand.

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