Why Doesn't Your Partner Show You Affection?

Coldness and lack of emotional connection in a partner may be due to their own personal circumstances or the relationship itself. We discuss the reasons why you may feel that your partner isn't showing you affection and how to address the issue.
Why Doesn't Your Partner Show You Affection?

Last update: 09 May, 2022

For a relationship to be successful, not only must both partners love each other, but they must also communicate that love to each other. Or, at least, they must both perceive that they’re loved.

There are those who claim to adore their partner and feel extremely happy and satisfied with their relationship. However, in reality, their partner doesn’t feel the same. In fact, they don’t feel either supported or valued. Therefore, if you think that your partner isn’t showing you affection, it’s important that you take a closer look at what’s happening in your relationship.

This is a complex situation that’s influenced by many variables. As a matter of fact, it’s quite common to think that your love has ended, that you’ve done something wrong, or that your partner has found someone else. Nevertheless, it may be a communication problem or a personal situation that’s interfering with your relationship. Here are some of the reasons why it might be happening:

Why doesn’t your partner show you affection?

There are many reasons why you may feel that your partner isn’t showing you affection. Perhaps you’re missing more physical contact, a greater commitment, or a kinder and more empathic attitude from them.

In reality, we all have different expectations, hence our perceptions also vary. However, your feeling is probably due to one of the following reasons.

Sad woman thinking how to avoid infidelity
Behind a lack of affection is often ineffective communication.

1. Your language of love isn’t the same

This is a key point that you should always ask yourself before you start to think the worst. It’s the fact that we all have different ways of expressing affection. Therefore, perhaps your way doesn’t coincide with that of your partner.

For instance, there are those who continually both offer and need hugs and kisses, while others are more satisfied with their partner’s company and shared quality time. Along similar lines, for some people, gifts are synonymous with affection, while for others, it’s the small gestures and daily acts of kindness that their partner carries out.

If you feel like your partner isn’t showing affection to you, maybe they’re just doing it in a different language to yours. Thus, learning to identify and value your own way of showing love will be helpful to you.

2. Attachment and bonding styles

The form and degree to which you offer affection depend a great deal on your past experiences with your parents, friends, partners, and previous partners. Indeed, all your lived experiences shape you. Nevertheless, the bond of attachment that you establish in childhood and repeat and perpetuate in adult relationships is especially crucial.

If your partner exhibits an avoidant attachment style, they’ll probably have a hard time expressing their affection openly and may be withdrawn and cold at times. This is due to a fear of being vulnerable and emotionally dependent on another human being. That said, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you.

You may also experience difficulties if you yourself have an anxious attachment style. In this case, it’s likely that you need constant confirmation of your partner’s affection and that you tend to feel insecure at every slight change in their attitude. If this is the case, it may not be that they aren’t showing you affection, but your insecurity makes you feel that it’s never enough.

3. Objectives and expectations

Managing realistic and adjusted expectations in your relationship is essential to avoid suffering and frustration. If you feel that your partner doesn’t love you, it could be because neither of you made it clear from the start what you expected from your relationship. For instance, perhaps one of you is more involved than the other, is looking for more commitment, or needs to take certain steps in the relationship that the other doesn’t want to take.

This doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t love you, but rather that they’re following a different rhythm and have a different perception and projection of your relationship. Thus, clarifying your individual and common objectives is important to avoid misunderstandings.

4. Stress and personal circumstances

You’re only human and it’s inevitable that what happens to you in certain areas of your life will end up affecting those around you. For example, if you’re experiencing work stress, family problems, or difficulties of any kind on a personal level, your relationship with your partner will probably be affected.

This is especially true if your partner’s an uncommunicative person. That’s because, instead of sharing their concerns with you, they’ll choose to isolate themselves and close themselves off. This lack of communication can lead you to think that their change in mood is due to a lack of love or a problem in your relationship when, in fact, it isn’t the case.

5. Difficulties in the relationship

It can’t be ignored that, sometimes, when your partner doesn’t show you affection it’s because they really don’t feel that way anymore. Indeed, routine, daily obligations, and the passing years can often cause a relationship to deteriorate. In fact, they can make partners take the relationship for granted and stop cultivating it. Consequently, the flame of love goes out and complicity turns into emotional distance.

Obviously, in this kind of situation, displays of affection will be less. However, it could be the signal that indicates the relationship needs to be reworked, not necessarily that it should come to an end.

6. Lack of assertiveness

Finally, it’s possible that a lack of affection is the result of an unexpressed desire to end the relationship. Ending a relationship is never easy and some people, for fear of conflict, not wanting to harm the other, or not even finding the right moment to tell them, choose to adopt passive-aggressive attitudes such as coldness and progressive indifference. In effect, they hope that the other realizes what’s happening and will end the relationship for them.

Woman thinking
Trying to make your partner sense how you feel and what you want usually complicates coexistence.

Take charge

As you can see, the cases can be extremely varied and the causes diverse. For this reason, it’s not possible to offer a single valid explanation for all situations. However, whatever the underlying reason is, it’s important not to let it go.

Feeling unloved, undervalued, rejected, or misunderstood within a relationship is extremely painful, exhausting, and harmful. Therefore, it’s essential to establish open and honest communication with each other. Ask the uncomfortable questions and be willing to listen to the answers and make changes. Such changes will certainly occur when you both modify your attitudes, negotiate and reach agreements, or perhaps even end the relationship.

Needless to say, carrying out this process isn’t easy. Therefore, you might choose to seek professional help. This can be an excellent alternative in helping you to analyze the situation and subsequently be able to take the appropriate measures.

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  • Chapman, G., & Campbell, R. (2016). The 5 Love Languages. The secret to love that lasts. Moody Publishers.
  • Feeney, J., & Noller, P. (2001). Apego adulto. Bilbao: Desclée de Brouwer.