I Really Hate PDA And It Causes Problems In My Relationships

PDA to me is kind of like getting a tattoo — painful and unnecessary. And yet, all the guys I meet happen to love it. I’ve never been the touchy-feely type, which has led to me losing many good guys over the years. I can’t help that I really hate getting intimate in public, but I have to deal with a ton of problems in my relationships because of it.

  1. They don’t understand why I hate PDA. Public displays of affection make me feel exposed. It has nothing to do with the guy — I’m just very self-conscious and I never want a crowd of people watching me being kissed and grabbed by the ass on the street. It draws a ton of unnecessary attention and I don’t know how to deal with it. I need a guy who understands that I like keeping things low-key and respects that I get super embarrassed when he puts on a show for random strangers.
  2. They assume that my hate of PDA means I don’t care about them. One guy I dated wouldn’t let go of me. He’d stop every 10 feet, look me in the eye, pull me close and kiss me. Ugh. To me, affection is something intimate that you keep indoors. I don’t want people to see us making out and imagine us having sex. I’m not gonna lie — I always imagine strangers doing it even if I simply see them holding hands. Not wanting to be an object of random perverts’ fantasies doesn’t mean I don’t care about my boyfriend. It’s the opposite — I want only him to see my affection.
  3. They think I’m cold. I absolutely hate when a guy calls me a robot just because I don’t like PDA. I show plenty of emotion and express my feelings, but only when I feel comfortable. Showing PDA is like speaking in front of a massive crowd naked. It’s something straight out of a nightmare. I’ll hug and kiss him when we’re in the privacy of our own homes, but I refuse to do that in front of a thousand people at a pep rally.
  4. No, I’m not embarrassed to be seen with them. One guy dumped me because he thought I didn’t want to be seen with him on the street. He was right — I was embarrassed, but it wasn’t his fault. I want to be perceived as a strong, independent woman who’s an equal partner in the relationship. Holding hands to me is an expression of weakness and I can’t bear it.
  5. They think I’ve lost interest. Not showing PDA apparently means you’re bored of each other. One day, an ex asked me out of nowhere whether we should start seeing other people. It was because I didn’t respond well to PDA and to him, that was a problem. I was sad because I actually was crazy about him. He didn’t believe my explanation of why I hate affection in public and we broke up.
  6. I always have to assure them that I’m not cheating. Newsflash: hating PDA isn’t a sign of cheating. It’s true that by refusing to pet his hair at the park and give him a massage, I’m unconsciously sabotaging my relationship. This, however, in no way means that he should be accusing me of sleeping with someone else. Hating PDA is just as normal as loving it. I want my boyfriend to respect the way I am and to love me for it. I don’t want him to think that because I won’t stick my tongue in his mouth in public, I’m seeing someone else.
  7. I’m always paranoid that they’ll cheat on me. I like clubbing but I hate grinding on my boyfriend. I find it gross and it makes me feel uncomfortable. There are lots of girls who’d do it without batting an eye but I’m not one of them. I fear that when I turn down a guy’s invitation to a rave on Saturday night because of PDA I’d have to endure, he’s going to find someone else.
  8. Visits to their parents’ house terrify me. Yes, I love it when a guy introduces me to his parents because that shows we’re official. Well, except for one huge problem — I get super embarrassed when he kisses me in front of his mom. I want to make the best impression when meeting his parents and his PDA makes me blush and lose composure.
  9. They can’t show me off in front of their friends. Yes, the guys I date are the type who like to show off their girls in front of “the guys.” This is a major problem for me because when he tries to slap my ass at the bar in front of his buddies, I slap back. Everyone bursts out laughing and he feels like an idiot. I’m sorry, but we’re not in the ’50s and he can’t treat me as a trophy.
  10. Guys never tell me how they feel about me. One of my exes confessed years after we broke up that he was super into me and even loved me at the time. He never said so while we were dating. Turns out, it was because my rejection to his PDA made him feel like I was the type who would shut down any romantic gestures and would never say “I love you” to anyone. Hating PDA always creates a grey area of doubt in my relationships. We don’t know how we feel about each other and that’s a problem.
Dayana is a passionate traveler who's been navigating foreign lands and confusing relationships since she was 16. You can read more of her work on Matador Network and her blog, Dee Across The Sea.