Receiving affection from your partner in public can feel like the most calming, yet exhilarating thing in the world. There's nothing quite like when they put their arm around you in line at the grocery store, or squeeze your thigh under the table at dinner. But even though PDA has the potential to make you feel closer to your partner, not everyone is comfortable with showing affection. If your partner never wants to hold hands in public, and PDA is essential for you to feel secure in your relationship, experts say the issue might warrant a conversation. After all, you'll never know what your partner might be thinking if you don't bring it up, and if you crave physical touch, you deserve to ask for it.
While holding hands might not seem like a huge deal, it can actually be a healthy habit to form in your relationship. "Holding hands isn't just a great way to bond with your partner and feel close, but it's contagious in a good way, as others will enjoy seeing you happy, and might feel the desire to hold their partner's hand as well," online dating expert Julie Spira tells Elite Daily.
"Holding hands in public is an affectionate way of showing both your partner and others that you're proud to be seen together as a couple," Spira says. "However, some people create a great divide between how they show their affection publicly versus privately," she adds, so it's also not uncommon to have a partner who would rather keep your physical interactions between the two of you, and no one else.
Still, that doesn't mean it isn't frustrating to be with someone who doesn't like to hold hands, or just flat-out refuses to in public, when it would really mean a lot to you. It can sting, and if it makes you feel rejected, don't be afraid to speak up. But before you do, look closely at what they do do for you when it comes to intimacy. "Pay attention to other ways that your partner demonstrates their love," Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, tells Elite Daily. "Do they do things for you without you asking? Do they buy you gifts? Physical touch may not be their go-to mode of expression, but if it's yours and this is a real need, you can have a conversation with them about it and see if they would be open to reaching a compromise."
If you decide to talk to your partner about your desire for more public affection, try to be as honest as possible. "Let your partner know how this affects you emotionally, and what it does to your self-esteem," life and love mentor Susan Winter tells Elite Daily. "Without clarification, it looks like they love you in private but not in public. It's hurtful to be hidden." It's crucial to explain how their rejection makes you feel, Winter says, so that maybe your partner will have a clearer understanding of what you need and how they can adjust their behavior. There's a chance they may not know how much it really means to you.
But at the same time, it's important to listen to what your partner says about why they don't particularly enjoy holding hands in public. Once there's an understanding, you can work toward finding a solution. "When you understand each other — and yourself — you are better able to come up with a solution that works for you," Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, licensed clinical psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of the new book Training Your Love Intuition, tells Elite Daily. "For example, you might agree to express physical closeness only at home or just with some friends and family."
It's important that you and your partner both feel fulfilled in your relationship, so if hand holding means a lot to you, don't be afraid to speak up. You deserve to feel the type of affection that you want from your partner, so go on and get yours.