Search icon

Dating a Non-Affectionate Person: Signs and How to Deal with Them

You’ll know pretty early on if you’re dating a non-affectionate person, and it can be hard to decide if it’s worth sticking around. 

You might be really into him, and he’s telling you that he wants to progress the relationship but he’s doing absolutely nothing to prove it; it’s definitely a hard situation. 

There are many ways to deal with dating a non-affectionate person but, most importantly, it’s about deciding if you want to. You have to put yourself first, and if you know that in a few months’ time it’s not going to be enough for you then it may be easier to end things before it gets to that point. 

However, if you really like this guy and feel as though even without affection you could have a great relationship together, then let’s take a look at how to deal with this situation. 

But first, are you dating a non-affectionate person or is there something else that’s causing you to question his behavior?

Reasons Why Someone Might Be Non-Affectionate

There can be many reasons why the guy you’re dating isn’t overly affectionate, and most of them have absolutely nothing to do with you

He might have no concept of what a healthy relationship is, he could be struggling with mental health, or you might even just have a difference in personalities.

He could also struggle with physical intimacy from something that has happened in his past, he could be going through a big life change, or it could just be who he is as a person.

The point is, you never truly know why somebody acts a certain way. 

Maybe even your non-affectionate partner has no concept of how he’s lacking in that department because you haven’t had a conversation about it and he simply isn’t aware of how to behave in a ‘normal’ relationship. 

I say normal, but no relationship is ‘normal’. Every single relationship is different, every single person is different and more importantly, not everybody communicates the same as you. This can be difficult to combat in the early stages of dating if your partner lacks affection and you don’t know how to approach the situation. 

According to Kory Floyd, “when compared to non-affectionate people, self-report studies have indicated that highly affectionate people are less susceptible to depression and stress”, suggesting that although mental health and stress can cause a lack of affection, in turn it can be a cause of the behavior itself. 

It’s a tough one.

It’s also something that’s not exactly going to change overnight. So, if you’re willing to work on your relationship it’s important to learn how to communicate in order to get to the bottom of the problem. Only then can you begin to solve it.

How Does a Lack of Affection During the Dating Phase Affect Women?

I have to be completely honest here, it can be painful, especially when you don’t entirely understand the dynamic of what you’re experiencing. 

At first, you might think it’s not a big deal that you never hold hands, or you might think that it takes time to develop physical affection but typically dating a non-affectionate person can cause long-term low self-esteem

It’s just important to be aware that this is something that you need to work through, and avoid trying to find reasons for why he’s not affectionate with you, because that’s when you start to view yourself negatively and the relationship can become toxic.

With that said, it’s something that you can definitely work on together, and again, it’s all about how you learn to communicate and understand one another.

If you’re ever looking for specific advice on how to deal with something emotionally, Relationship Hero is a great place to get you the help you need. There are many different coaches who each specialize in different areas, offering you a wide range of support.

What’s Considered Non-Affectionate?

So, you think you’re dating a non-affectionate man but you’re not too sure what’s considered non-affectionate. 

Well, each person has a different meaning of affection depending on their love language and how they express love to the right person. 

Generally speaking, non-affectionate partners struggle to convey their feelings in relationships, and their body language tends to match their lack of verbal affection.

5 Signs You’re Dating a Non-Affectionate Person

1. No PDA

no pda

Public displays of affection is one of the most common things to expect when in a new relationship. 

You’re excited to be dating, you’re overwhelmed with emotions and you’re probably pretty horny, right? This usually means that in the early days you can’t keep your hands off each other, in public as well as privately. 

Use this tool to check whether he actually is who he says he is
Whether you're married or have just started seeing someone, infidelity rates are on the rise and have increased over 40% in the last 20 years, so you have all the right to be worried.

Perhaps you want to know if he's texting other women behind your back? Or whether he has active Tinder or dating profile? Or worse yet, whether he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool will do just that and pull up any hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more to hopefully help put your doubts to rest.

At the end of the day, to consider yourselves a couple there has to be some kind of romance involved, so he won’t be completely unaffectionate with you otherwise it would be impossible to develop the relationship.

So, your first big indicator that he’s a non-affectionate person is a lack of any public displays of affection. 

I’m not just talking about not holding hands, other gestures too such as constant physical eye contact, body language, and physical contact in general. If you don’t feel loved when you’re out in public, and it would make no difference if you were out with a friend or the guy you’re dating then he’s probably lacking affection and it could cause problems later in the relationship.

2. You feel lonely in your relationship 

A tell tale sign that he’s a non-affectionate person is if you’re feeling lonely in your relationship. 

You may be spending lots of time together, but not quality time, causing you to feel underwhelmed. This is really problematic in any relationship but especially in the early stages.

It’s usually caused by a lack of romance or even just a lack of acknowledgment. If he’s not affectionate, you’re likely to feel as though he’s not paying attention to you, causing you to feel lonely. 

It’s always important to consider your partner's feelings and what might be the cause of this isolation or divide between the two of you.

3. Small amount of affection shown privately 

Like I said, if there was no affection at all it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll have developed a relationship in the first place. 

I mean, he has to give you something to go off! 

Some people don’t like PDA but are happy to give plenty of affection privately. This wouldn’t be the case with a non-affectionate person. Instead, it’s likely that there’ll be zero PDA, and a very minimum amount of affection shown when it’s just the two of you.

4. They don’t talk about their feelings 

they don't talk about their feelings

A lack of verbal affection. 

If you have a non-affectionate partner, absolutely every aspect of romance will be minimal,and that includes how he verbalizes his feelings

A lot of people struggle to verbalize their emotions anyway. I mean, it can be pretty daunting to lay it all out like that, but for somebody who struggles to give affection it’s basically a no-go. 

Instead, any affection he does show you will most likely be through his body language orsmall amounts of physical affection.

For this reason, it can be slightly difficult to open up a conversation about it, but believe me, it’s necessary. Remember, you’re not asking him to change, you're asking for a bit of understanding and compromise

5. They’re reserved in nature 

One of the very best ways to tell if somebody is a non-affectionate person is to see how they behave with other people. 

At the end of the day, if you’re the girl he’s dating, he’s not exactly going to be reserved with you but overly affectionate with his friends and family. It’s all about character judgment, and it’s necessary to analyze before taking anything personally. 

What I mean to say is, if you’re worried the guy you’re dating isn’t being affectionate towards you, before confronting him or starting to think negatively about yourself, you need to establish if he acts the same way with other people that he cares about. 

If so, you can then rationalize that he’s simply a non-affectionate person and it’s going to take some time for him to open up in the relationship. 

From there, you can work together on improving your relationship and how you display affection to one another. 

10 Ways to Deal with Dating a Non-Affectionate Person

You might not be the most affectionate person yourself, and if that’s the case I suppose it’ll be easier for the two of you to become in sync with how you show love and affection in your own way.

However, if there’s a big difference in your personalities in relation to the way you love others, then this is something that you definitely have to work through together. 

It’s crucial that you work together, otherwise it’s always going to feel as though one of you is making more effort than the other. Communication, compromise and understanding is exactly what you’ll need to develop a successful relationship with one another.

1. Be understanding 

be understanding

If from the beginning you refuse to understand the reasons behind his lack of affection, or the fact that it can feel difficult for him to show affection and step out of his comfort zone, then it’s never going to work between the two of you.

Likewise, he needs to show that he understands why he needs to give a little more in order to make your relationship strong. 

When you care about somebody, you’re willing to go through a bit of a tough patch in order to make things better in the long run. 

Take the time to put yourselves in each other's shoes, and think about how you can be more understanding without changing too much for the sake of your relationship. 

2. Find what their love language is

It can be difficult to spot, but as soon as you realize what it is you’ll be on the right track. 

Someone’s love language refers to how they express love. For some, their love language is quality time, for others it may be surprising your partner with gifts and treats. 

In most relationships, each partner tends to have different love languages, and that’s kind of special, don’t you think? Two totally different ways of showing your utmost affection towards your significant other. 

Trying to discover the love language of a non-affectionate partner can be difficult. You have to spend time working out when he feels the most loving, and how he displays this to you. It could be something as small as cuddling on the couch during a movie date night, it could be pulling an all-nighter and talking about a bunch of sweet nothings.

It could be anything really. If you’re able to figure it out, then you’ll be able to easily acknowledge when he’s feeling loving. It’s also worth trying to figure out your own love language if you haven’t already, as this might be something that he’s completely unaware of himself. 

3. Establish boundaries and limits early on

If you’ve established early on that you both need to work on things in order to have a successful relationship, then it’s pretty important to lay down some boundaries

You’re clearly not completely satisfied with the amount of affection or physical intimacy that you’re receiving, and you want things to change in order to make it work.

But if you know that in case nothing changes then there’s no hope for the relationship to work, then you have to make that pretty clear early on. 

You have to be honest about the way that you’re feeling, and the future that you see for yourselves.

4. Stay patient 

This growth isn’t going to happen overnight. It can sometimes take people a really long time to learn how to be comfortable around others, let alone how to start showing affection.

For example, it might be difficult for him to show public affection, like holding hands. If this is something you’ve spoken about, and the next time you’re out together he spends just a few minutes holding your hand then take that as a small win rather than getting upset that he pulled away. 

Stay patient, trust that you’re both working at the relationship and take one step at a time. 

5. Talk about growth together 

In order to work on your communication, don’t just address the problem and then see how it goes.Continue to talkabout your growth throughout. 

The same way you’d celebrate reaching your goals or succeeding in anything in life, celebrate your relationship. 

Keep the communication up and talk about how you both feel regarding the changes made to your relationship. 

6. Don’t push him too hard 

don't push him too hard

It’s important to respect his boundaries, the way you want him to respect yours. It’s normal to feel bad when things aren’t progressing as fast as you’d like, but that doesn’t mean you can push him. 

He has to go at his own pace otherwise it won’t work between the two of you. 

7. Don’t use it against him 

This is so important. 

If you’ve taken the time to talk about the problem and to talk about how you’re going to resolve things, then you absolutely can’t use it against him in an argument as this will only set you both back.

8. Don’t take the little things for granted 

With a non-affectionate person, absolutely don’t take the little things for granted. 

If one morning he spends just a few minutes in your arms before he gets out of bed, cherish it. 

If you know he’s stepping out of his comfort zone and he’s working hard to make things work with you, show him how much youappreciate it and remind yourself of it whenever you feel down orinsecure about the lack of affection in general. 

9. Don’t change who you are

He likes you as you are. That’s why he chose you to develop a relationship with. 

None of you need to change who you are, you just need to compromise a little when it comes to being physically affectionate. 

You might take a step back, thinking that you’re giving him some breathing space but actually this might cause him to think you’re no longer into him. 

If you have doubts that something isn’t working as you planned, then open up a conversation about it and about how you can approach it differently for a better outcome, try not to take matters into your own hands because it won’t always be the right thing to do. 

10. Don’t let it reflect on you personally

Hopefully after working on it, your partner will feel more comfortable showing affection, but throughout this journey it’s important that you never allow it to reflect on you personally. 

The last thing you want to do is to start thinking negatively about why he’s not affectionate with you. This is what's going to contribute to low self-esteem and it’s not at all healthy. 

Even if you don’t manage to make it work, it has nothing to do with you


How do non-affectionate people show love?

Everybody has a different way of showing love. Generally, non-affectionate people rely on subtle hints to show their love rather than to verbalize their feelings or make grand gestures. 

It can be hard to gauge when a non-affectionate person is actually trying to show you affection; for them the smaller things can often feel difficult. 

You can usually tell by somebody’s body language or by how happy they are if they’re trying to express their love for you. 

Can a relationship survive without affection?

Yes and no. 

Without affection, absolutely not, a relationship requires love and affection to work. However, it can survive without the ‘ideal’ of affection. 

What I mean is, if you can find your own way to show your love to one another, then although somebody on the outside might not deem this as affectionate, it doesn’t matter; it’s about what it means to the two of you. 

Can affection be recovered?

Absolutely it can. But it might take time. 

Restoring affection won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take patience and a lot of effort. But, it can be worth it in the long run. 

You might be lacking affection for lots of different reasons, so it’s hard to tell how difficult your journey of restoring it will be. Generally speaking, anything can be recovered with time and patience. 

What does it mean when a man doesn’t show affection in public?

For some, PDA is just not their thing. I wouldn’t be too worried if the guy you’re dating isn’t showing affection publicly, what matters the most is how he acts when it’s just the two of you. 

Of course, PDA can be nice, but it’s not necessary for a successful relationship. If you are wishing your partner would show a little more affection when with friends and family then you could always open up the conversation and see his view on it. 

Why might somebody not be affectionate?

There are lots of reasons why somebody might lack affection. It could have to do with something in their history, their attachment to people, their mental health, or just who they are as a person. You can never really tell. But you can most certainly ask. 

Why does my boyfriend stop being affectionate after sex?

This is totally normal and something that isn’t spoken about enough. We’re taught unrealistic ideals of sex, and this impacts how we feel when we’re the ones experiencing it in the bedroom. 

After a man reaches climax, sometimes it can be really draining, causing him to close off a bit. For others, it may increase affection, it really does just depend on the person. 

Men and women generally behave differently after sex, as we experience different hormones that change our behavior. It’s nothing to worry about, unless you feel like he completely disregards you after finishing. Then, have a conversation and talk about your needs as well as try to understand his.


Dating a non-affectionate person can be challenging, but we can’t help who we fall for, and if the person is worth it, the two of you will make it work and find a good rhythm that suits you both.

All relationships require compromise, communication and understanding. Dating a non-affectionate person requires this on a much deeper level. 

You have to be honest about how you simply feel, how you can both work at being more considerate of the other and how you both respond to different types of affection. 

We all want to feel loved by our partners, and we want to feel the chemistry. Believe me, it’s there somewhere, otherwise none of you would bother trying at all. It’s just about working it out together and finding your flow as a couple.

If you’ve ever dated a non-affectionate man and have any advice to contribute then please feel free to comment. As always, share with a friend in need.

Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.


Join Our Newsletter

Receive weekly tips & tricks to improve your love life.
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.