7 reasons your partner isn't showing you affection that have nothing to with you

WAYHOME studio/ShutterstockNot every individual is comfortable giving and receiving high levels of affection.
  • Sometimes your partner may be giving you less affection than you’d like.
  • In these cases, your partner may just require and prefer to give different levels of affection than you.
  • In some cases, your partner could be trying to deal with effects that come with anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It can be difficult when the levels of affection you receive from your partner change and although you might wonder if there’s a deeper issue in your relationship, sometimes a dip in levels of affection could be caused by something unrelated to you and your relationship.

In some cases, the issues that you’re facing in your relationship could simply be caused because of something that your partner is dealing with and you’re not aware of it. Or, you could be well aware of the issue, but not aware of the impact that it’s causing.

Here are some reasons your partner could be showing less affection than usual.


Your partner could be dealing with anxiety.

iStockYour partner may be worried that their ways of expressing affection could be judged.

Anxiety can cause many social issues for those dealing with it, but one thing that is not talked about as much is the impact that it could cause on personal relationships. Dr. Eric Goodman,clinical psychologist, speaker, and author of “Social Courage: Coping and thriving with the reality of social anxiety,” told INSIDER that anxiety absolutely has the ability to decrease the level of affection your partner shows you and it has nothing to do with anything you’re doing.

“The very nature of anxiety is to make people hyper-focus on either an internal threat or external threat,” he said. “When anxiety is acting up, it becomes a challenge to focus on anything other than the perceived threat even when the situation you are in is something you’d normally enjoy. Affection just may not be on their radar. And, it is hard to desire affection when danger feels like it is closing in on you.

He added that if you’re in a relationship with someone with an anxiety disorder, there could be the added phobic component that can interfere with affection. “For example, someone with social anxiety disorder might feel highly self-conscious about showing affection, especially in public. They might worry about being judged for not ‘performing’ affection right, like ‘What if I kiss too awkwardly, what would they think of me then?'”


They could also be dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

iStockThey could be trying to manage intrusive thoughts.

Much like the above, Dr. Goodman revealed that if your partner is suffering from OCD, it could cause the way they express affection to shift or change.

“Someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder might feel held back from expressing affection because of concern they will either obtain or transmit some type of contaminant – either becoming seriously ill or making their partner seriously ill,” he told INSIDER. “Others with OCD might have obsessive thoughts that they might harm their partner and therefore they behave in a standoffish way in order to protect them.”

He added that some might be suffering from “relationship OCD” in which an individual’s overwhelmed with intrusive thoughts about whether their partner is right for them, which could trigger substantial worry and thus less affection.


Read More:
5 myths about OCD that you need to stop believing


You and your partner might have different need levels when it comes to affection.

iStockYour needs for affection might not be the same.

Regardless of how much you and your partner have in common, there are still a few things that can set the two of you apart. And clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly told INSIDER that how much you need or desire affection could be one of those things.

“In general, every person has a certain ‘need level’ with displays of affection,” she said. “When both partners have the same level of need (e.g., low, medium, high), there is often little issue on this point. However, when the needs are not well-matched, discord will result. One partner might feel very slighted by the other partner’s attitude and level of need, yet it may have very little (if anything) to do with the partner.”

She told INSIDER that sometimes it could have something to do with how the individual grew up. “For example, one partner may have grown up in a family that was unaffectionate; this person may have learned to eschew affection,” she added.


They take issue with displaying affection in certain settings.

iStockSome individuals may only like showing affection in private settings.

If you are a person who doesn’t mind a little PDA, being with someone who isn’t that into it can make you feel as if they don’t want to show you affection at all, but that isn’t always the case.

“Some individuals are very comfortable with public and private displays of affection, whereas individuals on the other end of the spectrum may not be at all comfortable with public or private displays of affection,” said Dr. Manly. “Some may be ok with private displays of affection yet feel very uncomfortable with public displays. Again, when the partners are not well-matched in this arena, one partner may feel ignored or cast aside, whereas the other partner may simply be restrained as a result of personal discomfort.”


They could be handling a difficult life change or transition.

iStockYour partner could be handling a difficult situation that you’re not aware of.

There could be many reasons why your partner is not showing you the affection you desire, and according to therapist, dating and relationship coach and former matchmaker Lauren Korshak, one major reason could be that they are suffering from a crisis.

“Your partner may have had some life changes or difficult transitions in their life, or may simply be facing the challenges of ageing,” she told INSIDER. “In times of transition, it is natural for people to become more inwardly focused as they take inventory of their life choices and their values. This often also may look like distancing or withdrawing some affection.”


They may not feel well physically, psychologically, or emotionally.

iStockThey could be feeling tense because of a recent diagnosis.

Whether it’s a life-threatening illness or a serious case of the sniffles, being sick can take a lot of you and cause you to not want to interact with anyone – even if that’s your partner.

“Similar to the stress trigger, when people don’t feel well physically, psychologically, or emotionally, they may not feel they have much to give affection-wise,” said Korshak. “The word disease alludes to the feeling one has when one is unwell – not being at ease, and feeling tense. When someone is tense and unwell, they may feel the need to conserve their energy and strength and may withdraw some of their affection.”


Your partner could be struggling with depression.

ShutterstockDepression can manifest itself in many ways.

According to Korshak, if your partner is suffering from depression, it could cause them to withdraw and abstain from being as affectionate as usual.

“As with other forms of mental, emotional, and physical illness, depression can cause people to isolate and withdraw from social interactions,” said Korshak. “This is not to be taken personally if your partner is struggling with depression. Look for other signs and symptoms of this in your partner such as lethargy, loss of interest in passions, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, and see if they are willing to receive help from a therapist.”

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