How did your current relationship or past relationships typically begin? With a lot of talking? Flirting? Laughing? During my epic middle school years, the way I knew I was in “a relationship,” and not just friends with a boy, was quite simple. If I sat beside a guy in church (or elsewhere) and he held my hand, that meant he was my boyfriend.
When I was twelve, I was sitting in church with a boy I liked and I began dropping crazy hints. I put my hand next to my leg on the pew, then I put it on my knee when I crossed my legs. I even stretched my arm out a few times (subtle, I know), just so he was aware that my hand was free for the holding. If memory serves me, I think he chuckled to himself, or at least smirked, and eventually took my hand. We laughed about it later.
At that point in my life, physical affection determined (in my mind) how someone felt about me. If a boy said he liked me, but he wouldn’t hold my hand or hug me in public, I seriously questioned his feelings for me. On the flip side, a guy could have been a complete user, but I would’ve felt my heart flutter within me whenever he touched my shoulder, held my hand, or kissed me. Thank goodness God kept me safe during those years and thank goodness my Mom had the eyes of a hawk and kept a close eye on my suitors and their intentions.
As I grew older, physical affection continued to be important to me. At my core, I’m an affectionate person, but I wasted a lot of time being snuggly when I could’ve been communicating with and getting to know the guys in my life on a deeper level. At the time, I could not imagine life without a ton of hugs. My parents hugged me all the time, so I’m not sure where this hug-deficit came from, but I was pretty much a hug monster.
I can vividly remember my mom and I having a long “discussion” about why I was not allowed to hug all over my boyfriend. We spent HOURS discussing this and I would not give in… neither would she. To me it seemed completely pointless to have a boyfriend I couldn’t hug. What would my world come to without lots and lots of boyfriend hugs? ~insert terrified face here~
When I look back at some of my teenage romances, I realize why I spent more time concerned with physical affection than with deep, meaningful conversation. For one, I didn’t spend much time learning and growing because I was so consumed with boys. If I had tried to have a deep conversation, I’m not sure if I would’ve had much material in my intellectual reserves. Besides, I was far too young to be worrying about romance anyway, so it’s no surprise that many of my relationships lacked substance. Separating myself from the hugs and kisses would have made me face the fact that we had nothing else between us! It’s scary to realize that you and your honey pie have nothing going for you but your love for hugs, kisses, and cuddles
So, I’ll ask you the same question I should’ve asked myself back then: “If you focus on physical affection because there is nothing else holding your relationship together, what will keep your relationship together when the physical affection stage passes?” Good relationships don’t lose all physical affection, but lasting relationships move past the “touch me or I’ll just die” stage and into the “daily life, cooperation, companionship” stage.
If you choose hugging and kissing over talking, really think through why that is. Dissect your relationship and determine if there is more between you than just a physical attraction. Physical attraction is great; you will want to be physically attracted to your future spouse. However, if that is all you have, your relationship will eventually crumble. Regardless of what the movies portray, no solid relationship was ever built solely on hugs and kisses… and not even on sex.
Never marry someone if all you have in common is physical attraction. In case you didn’t catch that (I’m pretending I’m writing this to me fifteen years ago ~smile~), never propose to someone, or accept a proposal from someone, if all you have in common is an undeniable, intense magnetism. You may be attracted to him or her now, but once you are married and have to work together as a team, you may find that you can’t stand each other. Believe me, your physical attraction for your spouse will be completely overshadowed by rage when you are angry! ~smile~
Do We Like to Talk and Just Hang Out?
If you had to spend an entire day with your sweetheart without touching him or her, would you still have an amazing time? Would you be happy just to be in his or her company? Would you laugh together? Would there be meaningful conversation? Would you breathe a deep breath of satisfaction when you went to bed because you spent the day with someone truly special?
If you can’t imagine spending a “touch free” day with your boyfriend or girlfriend, take a step back and consider what you both have in common. What are your common goals? Where are you heading in life? Do you have solid commonalities to build on from here? If not you should take some time apart and seriously consider going your separate ways. The longer you stay with someone you think you’ll never marry, the harder it will be to break up later… and the more likely you two will become sexually intimate, especially if your relationship completely revolves around physical touch.
It may not easy to walk away, but down the road when you are with the love of your life you’ll be glad you didn’t linger in a relationship that wasn’t heading anywhere.
Can you picture spending an entire day with your sweetheart without showing or receiving physical affection?