Affectionate is a word that means “having or showing affection” or “fondly tender.” It can be shown in many ways, such as kisses, hugs, and words of affirmation. Some people are naturally affectionate, while others have a harder time expressing their feelings.
Those who struggle to show affection may be afraid of being judged by their peers or loved ones. They may also feel the pressure to be macho and not show their emotions for fear of appearing weak. These types of behaviors can negatively affect a relationship. However, when a person shows affection in healthy ways, it can help the relationship thrive.
In fact, one study found that couples who showed more positive behaviors during a conflict had a healthier pattern of cortisol response than those who only displayed negative behavior.3
If you’re unsure how to express your affection, it could be helpful to learn your loved one’s love language. There are five known love languages—words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts, quality time, and acts of service. It’s likely that your loved one enjoys receiving affection in one or more of these ways.
You can discover their love language by asking them how they prefer to be shown affection. Then, you can use that knowledge to show them your affection in meaningful ways. For example, if they love to receive words of affirmation, you can say things like, “I love that you always remember my birthday.” You can also show your affection by sending them flowers or taking them on a romantic getaway.