Showing affection isn’t always easy. For some of us, affection and overt displays of love don’t come naturally, perhaps due to our personalities or the environment we grew up in. However, displays of affection are crucial in the vast majority of relationships. If you’ve been finding it tricky, don’t worry. It’s really the little things that go a long way when it comes to the question of how to show affection, and they’re very easy to do.
To help you get creative and let your special someone know you think the world of them, here are a few simple ways to show more love and affection in your relationship.
How to show affection in your relationship 101
1. Give them your full attention.
Give your partner your undivided attention when he or she is talking to you, just like you did when you were first dating. Don’t multi-task when communicating.
2. Anticipate their needs.
Try to predict what your partner wants before they even know they need or want something. This stems from understanding the underlying values of your partner.
3. Know their love language.
Do they like acts of kindness, physical touch, gifts, or acts of service? Learn this about your partner and love them this way to build a strong relationship, says Dr. Lori Whatley, a licensed marriage and family therapist.
4. Let them know you’re listening.
When your partner is speaking, listen for details and learn to validate your partner by repeating back to them what they say. Communication is a key factor to the satisfaction of a relationship, says Whatley.
5. Touch them.
Tell them daily you love them by touching them lovingly; it helps build affection. Plus, people feel more secure in a relationship when there is frequent romantic touch.
6. Always make time.
Make time for your partner, especially when you’re busy. “Return their texts or phone calls and let them know they’re a priority, ” say s Whately. “Being present and available to your partner is necessary for the relationship to flourish.”
7. Make eye contact.
When we look at our partner and make eye contact when they’re speaking to us it let’s them know we’re present with them. “We feel loved, seen, and validated when someone is present in the current moment with us,” says Dr. Dori Gatter, a psychotherapist and relationship expert.
8. Give them a hug.
“When you hug your partner make sure to be chest to chest and stomach to stomach as our hearts and stomachs are where a large part of our nervous system lives,” explains Gatter. “Hugging this way and pressing our heart and stomachs helps to calm down our nervous systems.”
9. Tell them why they’re amazing.
Verbalize and communicate why you love them. Saying “I love you” is great. What we love more is to knowing why someone loves us. What makes us different or special that us the one someone picked? “Verbalizing and communicating why you love your partner has a much deeper and meaningful impact,” says Gatter.
10. Get a little closer.
“Lean in and hold their hand when they speak. This shows them you truly value what they’re saying and that you’re completely involved in their lives and intertwined in their feelings,” says Margaux Cassuto, a relationship expert and matchmaker.
11. Pay attention to the little things.
Catch the small things they say (and don’t say) and act on it. For example, remembering they like a hard-to-find wine and surprising them with it for no reason at all.
12. Cheer them on.
Be their biggest fan and supporter both privately and in front of friends. “Supporting your partner and allowing them to hear you compliment them feels like a true act of love,” says Cassuto.
13. Ask them what they want.
Ask your partner how they feel most loved and what type of affection they appreciate. “Too often, we assume that what we crave and desire is the same for our partners,”says relationship and sex therapist, Eliza G. Boquin, MA, LMFT. . “Finding out what your partner prefers takes the guesswork out of it and you’re more likely to get the response you’re hoping for.”
14. Accept what they have to offer.
So often, we think that loving is all about giving. When one partner does the giving and one partner does the receiving, it creates a relational imbalance. “Make sure to accept and appreciate everything they give you,” says Dr. Mark Borg, Jr., co-author of RELATIONSHIP SANITY: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Relationships.
15. Don’t forget physical love.
Hug, kiss, and touch more. In the car, hold hands or place your hand on his or her thigh. Come up from behind and surprise them with an embrace or a kiss on the cheek or neck. Spoon on the couch while watching your favorite show. Use every opportunity to touch a little more to really show how much you love them.