How I learned to enjoy affection from people I care for
I am not a touchy person. I am not sure when it started. It could have started because my parents were never really affectionate, especially my mom. It could have been because I was molested in preschool. No matter, it got worse as I got older. It did not matter if it was a friend, family member, potential lover, girl or guy. It always felt weird to hug, hold hands, bump shoulders, etc. The tension I would feel was much worse with guys.
When I would come into physical contact with someone, it felt like an uncomfortable fuzzy shock that ran in those areas that were touched. I would tense up, but somehow the other person did not notice.
I would get very nervous when going on dates because guys would want to hold my hand, touch my leg, hug or kiss. I would let those guys know I am not very touchy and they would push that boundary. It usually lead to me sleeping over within the first couple of dates. This would make me sick to my stomach and not like myself because I gave in to please someone else.
When I would talk to others especially my mom about it, she would tell me I was being over dramatic and that guys should be able to touch me since we were on a date. Affection is normal during dates. With being told that, I believed them so I would push myself out of my comfort zone to try to help this weird fear of mine. The more I did it, the worse the shock to my body and tension got. I was always having a constant mental battle between the thoughts of “I do not want to be touched” and “I need to let loose and let this go”.
After December 2020, I hit a point where I jumped when someone touched me. This started happening after I went on a date and the guy kept pressuring me to go further with him. I guess there was an anger in me from that day forward because I stopped dating, I stopped talking to many guys even guy friends, and I became less touchy with both family and friends.
I did not think much of my “no touchy” issue until I started dating again. I will not expose his actual name so we will call him Bubs. I met bubs in 2020 through a close friend of mine. We hung out in a group setting so we were both uncomfortable and awkward. We hung out again in April 2021, but this time it was just me and him. We had an awesome conversation but due to the situation from December 2020 I was not open to anything.
We did not talk for a while again until July 4th, 2021. My close friend invited me to a party and apparently Bubs was there. I did drink a little more than I expected and everyone expected me to sleep with him. That did not happen. Bubs and I talked, did some subtle flirting and talked more. He stayed up with me until I sobered up to drive home. He did not pressure me to be touchy, kiss, not stay the night. He did not even ask. I did hug him at the end of the night and of course it felt weird but I was not as nervous because of his approach.
Since that night, Bubs and I talked. We hung out a couple more times but it was just him and I. I would get very nervous because of my “no touchy” fear, but he never touched that button. He took things slow and was okay with it. He did want to hold my hand, but never wanted me uncomfortable so he never asked.
I started feeling really bad because of my fear. I wanted to hold his arm when we walked but I was terrified to do anything. I wanted to cuddle up against him during the movie we saw together, but I was still terrified. I did not know this was this bad. He never pushed me, never pressured me. I felt like I was starting to feel safe.
I did deny this feeling of safety until I went out with a group of friends one night. One of those friends brought her husband and he got more touchy and handsy with me than I would like. I felt so uncomfortable and irritated, the first person I thought to run to was Bubs. I could not deny anything since then.
We did go on a couple more dates and I was still terrified to make any moves. I eventually hit a breaking point. The next time Bubs and I hung out I told him how I have been feeling. I told him, “I just want to know that touching is okay and that it will be safe”. He then hugged me from behind and held me.
As our relationship continued, I felt more and more comfortable. I learned that I enjoyed being affectionate. I started feeling more comfortable hugging my friends, hugging my family and kissing my mom’s head.
As I was writing this and thinking back on the memories, it amazes me how much I have changed in such a short amount of time. All I needed to heal was a man and even a couple of friends who were patient with me as I slowly opened up. It is amazing how certain situations and people can be so healing and help us build more peace into our lives.