When two people touch, it releases the chemical oxytocin which is sometimes known as the “cuddle” or “love” hormone.
When we first start dating someone we usually want to touch them all the time, but what about after the honeymoon period? There are many couples who simply never touch each other. When you get out of the habit of caressing your partner, it can be almost embarrassing to suddenly start touching again. You feel as though you are invading their personal space and your partner can feel that you are over-stepping the mark.
Physical touch is not only good for the “toucher” – it can also improve the function of the immune system of the “touchee” and is known to reduce diseases, especially those associated with the heart.
Of course, here at The Group Hug we absolutely love hugging. Everyone loves a hug, right? When we hug, the levels of that oxytocin rise and as this is associated with happiness and lowering levels of stress, we should therefore be hugging more often. Oxytocin reduces blood pressure and the levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine.
Touching someone is a natural response. A person may touch you to get attention or to emphasise what they are saying. Equally, they may give you a cuddle when you are sad or upset or when you are happy and celebrating. Sometimes someone will touch you to show their dominance in a situation.
How do you restore touch in the relationship?
If you have fallen out of touch with touching you may feel awkward, but there are simple things you can do to get back on track with this side of your relationship
You may feel that your partner is a stranger, but persevere,
- Try and sit closer on the sofa; tell your partner that you would really like to sit next to them this evening, if it’s possible. We admit that it’s not easy if they sit in an armchair-for-one and in this case, express your feelings, say that you have been missing them; ask if you can try something different tonight.
- Try touching your partners arm while you are talking or place your hand on theirs while you chat.
- Most people like a shoulder massage, suggest to your partner that they look like they need help to relax.
- If you can, and when you feel that things are moving in the right direction, tell your partner that you would really like to kiss them goodbye as they go off to work or kiss them when they arrive home, kiss them goodnight – let them know that you like to touch them. The oxytocin which is released through touch plays a role in social bonding, sexual reproduction , childbirth and the period after childbirth, so it sure plays an important role in relationship management.
Above all, communication is key and you need to tell your partner that you miss the touchy feely stuff. You might be surprised to find that they do too. Open and honest dialogue can help to resolve all relationship issues.
When communication feels comfortable, this is when you can move into the next stage. If one partner is avoiding physical touch, they need to gain control of their mind and start to think about the issue in a positive way. It may be that they need a therapist or coach to achieve this goal, so take a look in The Hug Directory to see who may be able to help.
Hugging is a great place to start and it’s important to discuss with your partner what kind of hug they enjoy, as there are many types of hugs.
- short hug
- long hug
- gentle hug
- firm hug
- nuzzling into the neck hug
- shoulder hug
Practice hugging. It may seem ridiculous at first, so laugh about it. The hilarity is part of the re-connection to your partner. This simple and light-hearted approach to physical touch will help to establish that all important connection.
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