Love is a choice, not a feeling. But there are feelings that come with loving and being in love with someone, and they should be embraced, not suppressed. We might as well be robots if we’re going to do that.
A healthy relationship consists of the emotional, spiritual and physical connection, and you cannot have one without the others. They’re kind of like a full package.
Having said that, I understand that there are many people out there, both men and women alike, who have a hard time expressing their feelings.
Maybe you were raised in a family where any sign of emotion was frowned upon or maybe you’re a guy and not used to doing that because of your biology.
Whatever the reason may be, it is legitimate and there are small things you can do to become more open and gradually become more affectionate and expressive towards your S.O.
#1. Start by showing your gratitude/appreciation.
The simplest and perhaps the easiest way to become more expressive is to verbally and physically show how much you appreciate your S.O.
I still get all of the tingles and the butterflies in my stomach whenever my boyfriend says, “Thank you,” or shows some sort of appreciation for something I said or did for him.
Not only will this help you become more emotionally expressive and open, but it will also keep you from taking your S.O. for granted.
#2. Share your thoughts and desires with each other.
Okay, so maybe you’re not comfortable being wishy-washy or sharing the deepest part of your heart just yet. That’s okay! It’s different for every couple; it comes easier to some over others.
If you’re in the latter, a more comfortable and personal approach to being more expressive may be to share your own desires and dreams with your S.O. and then ask and actively listen to them while they share theirs.
A lot of emotions can be shown and expressed when we’re talking about things we’re passionate about or things that we desire for ourselves.
#3. Learn your S.O.’s love language and practice it.
Every person feels loved in different ways. In other words, they have their own love languages. It’s possible to share the same love language as your S.O. but it’s rare that it’ll be an exact match.
Take the love language test to find out what your top two love languages are, and then learn about them by reading the book, “The 5 Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman. He goes into detail on practical ways to practice that particular love language.
My boyfriend and I have similar but different top love languages. His is physical touch and mine is quality time (his 2nd top love language), and we do our best to practice that on a daily basis.
#4. Say “I love you,” at least once a day.
If you and your S.O. are at a point in the relationship where there is actual genuine love present, strive and commit to share the phrase, “I love you,” on a daily basis.
It’s not practical for me to say that you need to do it an x amount of times because then it’s really out of obligation. But I think saying it at least once a day will really strengthen the love that’s there.
There’s nothing more satisfying and content than seeing my boyfriend give me a smile after I tell him that I love him, because that phrase is not an empty one to us.
#5. Start slowly with physical affection.
Physical affection is the last thing on the list because I believe that being physically affectionate too soon can cause confusion and unhealthy habits more than clarity and an expression of love.
If you’re not used to being physically affectionate because your parents weren’t like that or if you’re not a touchy feely kind of person, start with small touches such as holding hands, a pat on the back and a hug.
Whether you’re married, engaged or in a dating relationship, boundaries are always important, so be sure to discuss with your S.O. and set them before it becomes harder to keep and pursue.