Opinion: PDAs Aren’t A Sign Of Love But Unhappiness

Have you ever been sitting minding your own business, only to look up and be met with a couple enjoying quite a makeout sesh right in front of you? Whether it’s sitting on laps, nuzzling up to each other or sticking their tongues down each other’s throats, nothing makes me want to hurl more than being faced with expressions of love. Couples who canoodle in front of me probably think that my look of disgust is filled with jealously but nothing could be further from the truth—here’s why public displays of affection are a sign of a seriously unhappy relationship.

  1. I used to indulge in PDA… when I was 15. When I first got a boyfriend, I could. not. wait. to show him off to the world. There was this one spot outside the school gates where anyone who was anyone would make out in the morning, and I was desperate to join their ranks. As lame as it seems to me as a grown woman, PDA was the most exciting part of having a boyfriend for my teenage self.
  2. I would strategically plan PDAs so I would be seen by people I wanted to impress. Having done pretty well for myself in the boyfriend stakes (the guy was a looker), naturally I wanted everyone to know that we were an item. Not unlike a chihuahua, I’d lead my beau for long, romantic walks up and down the high street, hoping to be seen by as many people as possible. Kissing in public was a status symbol and nothing to do with enjoying it.
  3. PDAs make a statement about your relationship. Just as manspreading tells you a whole lot about the guy opposite you on the subway, PDAs say something about your relationship. For the couple, I imagine it says something like, “Oh my, we’re so in love we didn’t even manage to get from Walmart to the car park without a quick smooch!” Problem is, to the general public, the message you’re sending is more, “We’re inconsiderate and clingy and you’re going to watch us make out in the veg aisle whether you like it or not.”
  4. You can be affectionate AF in public but have a totally different relationship in private. People who PDA aren’t constantly all over each other in private as well, if anything, the total opposite. If you have to make sure everyone witnesses your relationship for it to mean anything, clearly you have something to prove. Satisfied couples don’t feel the need to flaunt their happiness in others’ faces.
  5. What do you think is going to happen if you let go of your boyfriend’s hand for five minutes? A cute little handhold on a walk is inoffensive even for killjoys like me, but over the dinner table? When you’re already sitting side by side? Give it a rest! What do ladies think is going to happen to their guy if they let him go? Will he zoom off to the next available single woman? Be inundated with flocks of girls who can’t tell that the woman who’s been standing beside him for most of the night is his girlfriend? PDAs reveal our insecurities far more than standing at opposite ends of the room ever would.
  6. I’m all for talking openly about sex but I don’t need to see it. Don’t get me wrong, I love love. I love being in a relationship, I love hearing my friends’ dating gossip, and I’m all for being open about relationships. Still, there’s a huge gulf between talking and doing, and while I could listen to my friends describe their new man’s tongue action for hours on end, the last thing I want to see is a live replay. Save it for the two of you, and it will be a lot more special.
  7. I get enough affection behind closed doors, I don’t need to beg for it in public. When you can access romantic, proper kisses when you’re in private, there’s no way you’d settle for the crummy PDA version. One eye closed and the other checking my nan isn’t about to walk past, it’s hardly the tummy-flipping experience you’d expect. If you’re having to resort to PDAs to get your dose of affection, ask yourself what’s going wrong in private.
  8. PDAs are a sign that you don’t respect who you’re with. Whether you want to kiss the pants off your BF in public or would rather wait until behind closed doors, taking the plunge in a public place is a fast way to tell your guests you’d rather they left. Since romance is something shared between a couple, PDAs are just a more physical way of going on and on about in-jokes or topics of conversation that half the table can’t access. Unless you want your mates to climb on your boyfriend’s lap and join in, stop kissing him in the middle of a conversation.
  9. My boyfriend and I barely touch each other in public. Okay, I could hardly say anything else after this rant, but it’s true that I just don’t feel the need to get physical in a public space. Intimacy is something we share in private, and conversation and a knowing glance will do me for when we’re out and about. We can have a perfectly, ahem, satisfying relationship, without needing to display it to the rest of the world.
  10. If you choose to read into our relationship, more the fool you. People have commented on the absence of PDA in my relationships before, and it’s rarely to say how much they admire it. Still, knowing as I do that my relationship is a lot better than fine, I really couldn’t care if other people aren’t seeing that in public. The relationship that others see is only one side of a couple, and judging them on it is a waste of time. For as long as I’m content in my relationship, I’m quite happy keeping the secret to myself.
Isobel is a freelance blogger and writer for hire specialising in content for millennials who haven't quite got it together yet (i.e. herself). When not glued to her laptop, she enjoys eating cheese, doing yoga and spending time with family and friends.