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Expressing Affection

Guilty Pleasure

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2008
Messages
1,114
The in-law thread on the family forum got me thinking about this topic because some posters described their families' dynamic and seemed to define affection by the amount of hugs and "I love you's." I thought about this and decided that I would disagree with this sort of equation because I don't think that a lack of words or hugs means there is a lack of love or devotion. This is just one of many ways to show affection, but perhaps the most visible?

How do you express affection? Do you think that a family dynamic is "cold" if "I love you" and hugs aren't common?
 

MonkeyPie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
6,059
This is awful, but my mom and dad show their love best by feeding us. And it's something ingrained in us all now. No food = worry, unhappiness, and not enough LOVE. I probably over-feed my husband and child lol.

My parents never said "I love you" until I was grown, I don't know why. They aren't huggers, either. I always knew they loved me, but it wasn't spoken. So now I tell Micah and DH that I love them all the time, because I don't want to be that way. I also shower them in hugs and kisses.
 

dreamer_dachsie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
24,364
Nah, warmth and love comes from how to respond to your loves ones needs, how you listen to them, how you take their feelings and needs into account when you interact with them. Whether you hug a lot or not, whether you say I love you or not a lot is irrelevant.

I would say physical and verbal expressions of love and feeling loves by one's family are totally unrelated! You can say I love you all the time and have family/kids who feel like you don't really love them and understand them. I absolutely know people like this. And you can rarely say I love you or hug and have family that knows without a doubt that you love them and would do anything for them.
 

D&T

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 27, 2008
Messages
12,504
Dreamer, your so right! My DH's family is way too clingy huggy touchy feely for me (we didn't grow up hugging and saying I love you but I felt my parents did a great job at meeting our needs) and although they say they loved one another and very huggy ALL THE TIME everytime they see each other even when they only live two miles down the street, they are clueless when it comes to each other's needs :nono:
 

packrat

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
10,615
My parents weren't affectionate to each other..rarely saw them hug or kiss or say I love you to each other. Dad wasn't overly affectionate towards us..but I think part of that is he's a guy and that's his generation. Grampa and Gramma weren't affectionate to Dad and my Uncle and were pretty open about disliking each other-tho we were little and didn't understand that until we got older-we just thought they were being funny. They were "kinda" huggy/kissy with us, a little. My Gramma Joyce was VERY affectionate towards us. My Grampa Doc and Gramma were pretty huggy/kissy with us too..Grampa not so much w/my brother b/c boys are supposed to be "tough"..Husbands dad is a waste of space and his mom..well, I don't think there was a lot of affection there..if there was it came w/a price.

So, JD and I smother the kids non stop all day every day w/kisses and hugs, lots of back rubbing, head smoothing, that kind of thing. They play and then take a break to come for a quick snuggle and run back to whatever they were doing. We say I love you several times a day to them. JD's very hands on with them, it's not just Mommy they snuggle with. JD and I are very open with each other too, lots of smooching and hugging, I love you's a few times a day.

I rarely hug my parents or say I love you..tho when something bad happens I'm a mommy's girl/daddy's girl and cry on them to get the back rub/head smooth thing you do to kids. Dad doesn't show emotions like love/sadness..I've seen him cry one time in my life and that was when I moved to Arizona a long time ago.
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
Dreamer_D|1308328464|2948433 said:
Nah, warmth and love comes from how to respond to your loves ones needs, how you listen to them, how you take their feelings and needs into account when you interact with them. Whether you hug a lot or not, whether you say I love you or not a lot is irrelevant.

I would say physical and verbal expressions of love and feeling loves by one's family are totally unrelated! You can say I love you all the time and have family/kids who feel like you don't really love them and understand them. I absolutely know people like this. And you can rarely say I love you or hug and have family that knows without a doubt that you love them and would do anything for them.
This is what I think as well. Words of affection simply aren't that important to me...I mean, I appreciate them, but I don't feel fulfilled by words alone. And I'm not very verbally affection at all. I like the idea of the 5 love languages for this, even if it's a little cheesy. I think it's important to figure out what your loved one needs to feel loved and appreciated. If that's words, then great. If that's hugs/physical affection, then great. For me, I feel the most loved when someone is spending quality time with me and I feel prioritized about everything else. That's probably why I love going out to dinner sometimes and just chatting.
 

JewelFreak

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
Love is apparent by how you are, not so much what you say. Telling family you love them is great. Unless you act as if you do, it's empty noise. My parents showed us they loved us in a million ways. By asking our thoughts on things, listening to our opinions, laughing with us, expecting each of us to do his best in his own individual way, expressing disappointment when we didn't. They always listened to our problems & tried to help us solve them, rather than doing it for us. Our friends were welcomed into our home even when our parents wouldn't have chosen them for us (fortunately nobody really icky). They gave us ethics & morals, a realization that we could make our own ways in the world, that whatever hard work it took was worth it, and an education. And told us they would always, always be there for us, no matter what.

We got goodnight kisses when tucked in as kids. But hugging & kissing after that age weren't a habit, nor were "I love yous." They weren't necessary, either; the feeling showed in so many more important ways. "I'm proud of you" was spoken often when deserved -- and not for simply showing up.

I am so incredibly lucky to have had parents who did the very best they possibly could do. They didn't need to say it. We knew it was true without words.

--- Laurie
 

Jennifer W

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
1,958
MonkeyPie|1308328225|2948429 said:
This is awful, but my mom and dad show their love best by feeding us. And it's something ingrained in us all now. No food = worry, unhappiness, and not enough LOVE. I probably over-feed my husband and child lol.

My parents never said "I love you" until I was grown, I don't know why. They aren't huggers, either. I always knew they loved me, but it wasn't spoken. So now I tell Micah and DH that I love them all the time, because I don't want to be that way. I also shower them in hugs and kisses.

DItto the food - I learned that from my grandmother, I think. She definitely expressed her love for us by feeding us, and many of the dishes she made took a lot of time and effort. The last time I saw her, she had just turned 90 - she made a three course meal for J and I to celebrate our engagement. It helps that she was the best cook in the world (ever). :))

I tend to do the same - I make all (and I mean all) our food from scratch and I'm happiest when I'm cooking, partly because it feels like I'm doing something for my family to express affection and to make where we live feel like a home (I'm abysmal at housekeeping, no home maker's task is so simple that I can't mess it up, so it's cooking or nothing...) :bigsmile:

ETA I'm also big on physical affection - hugs, kisses, snuggling etc but ONLY with my husband and child. I loathe to be touched by anyone else.
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
I am a hugger with both men and women after getting to know them and i give compliments and positive re-enforcement in conversation with most people.There are things i learned from my mother.I learned the traditional business style of meeting and greeting people from my mother and father(firm hand shake and look people in the eye and be professional)Our family is warm and affectionate when together, as well with friends,but we live in different states so family reunions are once a year,so we text and call and send gifts and cards.
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
I agree with what seems to be the consensus that verbal and physical expressions of love don't always translate into actually feeling loved and cared for by your family.

DH and I always joke that my family does a lot of telling us how they feel, but they rarely *act* like it. (It's not very funny, actually.) My parents are very warm and touchy-feely. We end every conversation with "I love you, bye. Mwah." They're big on hugs and kisses and all that mushy stuff. However, despite growing up in a very emotive family, I am not one to outwardly express my emotions. My family jokes that I have no emotions, which isn't true, I just don't like to display them for all the world to see, and I don't particular like hearing about other people's emotions and feelings unless we are very close.

I am uncomfortable around people who seem to think that everyone likes physical contact with others. I do not like being hugged by anyone other than my DH and close family members. I also dislike shoulder taps and those sorts of things. It's always strange to me that some really touchy-feely people seem to think it's okay to go around touching everyone else. (Anyone see the Seinfeld where he tells his neighbor he doesn't like he kiss hello and then be becomes ostracized? I'm totally on Team Jerry in that situation.)

One thing I've learned is that some people who do like to talk about their emotions, and to show them physically, have a difficult time accepting that *I* don't. They seem to think that I'm just repressed, and I really *want* to show how I feel but for some reason I just can't do it, and it's their mission to break me out of my hard shell. This is untrue. I'm very happy as I am, and I share my emotions with only certain people in my life. I imagine this might make things difficult for private people who marry into emotive families. Good thing for my DH that my family is used to it already! He has even fewer emotions than I do. :cheeky:
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
I understand that saying I love you and giving hugs doesn't necessarily constitute love. However, I was not loved on as a child and that has stuck with me. So, like Packrat, we smother our children with affection and I love yous. If you got the affection as a child, I think you're more likely to think it's not that big of a deal. If you are denied the affection, it becomes an obsessive compulsion to always touch your child when they walk by and say I love you several times a day.

In all honesty, I doubted that my parents loved me quite often as a child. I was going to run away at one point. Had everything ready, note written, and finally realized that they wouldn't even care. So, the worst thing to do to them would be to stay. As I got older, I realized that they had different levels of love for each of their children and that first and foremost, they loved themselves. I never want my children to feel that way.
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
4,699
Haven|1308334112|2948499 said:
I agree with what seems to be the consensus that verbal and physical expressions of love don't always translate into actually feeling loved and cared for by your family.

DH and I always joke that my family does a lot of telling us how they feel, but they rarely *act* like it. (It's not very funny, actually.) My parents are very warm and touchy-feely. We end every conversation with "I love you, bye. Mwah." They're big on hugs and kisses and all that mushy stuff. However, despite growing up in a very emotive family, I am not one to outwardly express my emotions. My family jokes that I have no emotions, which isn't true, I just don't like to display them for all the world to see, and I don't particular like hearing about other people's emotions and feelings unless we are very close.

I am uncomfortable around people who seem to think that everyone likes physical contact with others. I do not like being hugged by anyone other than my DH and close family members. I also dislike shoulder taps and those sorts of things. It's always strange to me that some really touchy-feely people seem to think it's okay to go around touching everyone else. (Anyone see the Seinfeld where he tells his neighbor he doesn't like he kiss hello and then be becomes ostracized? I'm totally on Team Jerry in that situation.)

One thing I've learned is that some people who do like to talk about their emotions, and to show them physically, have a difficult time accepting that *I* don't. They seem to think that I'm just repressed, and I really *want* to show how I feel but for some reason I just can't do it, and it's their mission to break me out of my hard shell. This is untrue. I'm very happy as I am, and I share my emotions with only certain people in my life. I imagine this might make things difficult for private people who marry into emotive families. Good thing for my DH that my family is used to it already! He has even fewer emotions than I do. :cheeky:

this is me... all of it!! being touched by strangers make my skin crawl.
 

jaysonsmom

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Messages
3,458
packrat|1308329216|2948443 said:
My parents weren't affectionate to each other..rarely saw them hug or kiss or say I love you to each other. Dad wasn't overly affectionate towards us..but I think part of that is he's a guy and that's his generation. Grampa and Gramma weren't affectionate to Dad and my Uncle and were pretty open about disliking each other-tho we were little and didn't understand that until we got older-we just thought they were being funny. They were "kinda" huggy/kissy with us, a little. My Gramma Joyce was VERY affectionate towards us. My Grampa Doc and Gramma were pretty huggy/kissy with us too..Grampa not so much w/my brother b/c boys are supposed to be "tough"..Husbands dad is a waste of space and his mom..well, I don't think there was a lot of affection there..if there was it came w/a price.

So, JD and I smother the kids non stop all day every day w/kisses and hugs, lots of back rubbing, head smoothing, that kind of thing. They play and then take a break to come for a quick snuggle and run back to whatever they were doing. We say I love you several times a day to them. JD's very hands on with them, it's not just Mommy they snuggle with. JD and I are very open with each other too, lots of smooching and hugging, I love you's a few times a day.

I rarely hug my parents or say I love you..tho when something bad happens I'm a mommy's girl/daddy's girl and cry on them to get the back rub/head smooth thing you do to kids. Dad doesn't show emotions like love/sadness..I've seen him cry one time in my life and that was when I moved to Arizona a long time ago.
My parents were like Packrat's not physically or verbally affectionate, but I knew they loved us in other ways. I have never lacked anything, mom was an attentive stay at home mom, we had all our meals prepared lovingly by her. Dad provided for anything we neede financially, and even specified that he would never let us work during college or grad school because he wanted us to concentrate on our studies. That was the way they showed affection.

and Just like Packrat, my husband and I hug, kiss and snuggle with our kids every chance I get. I tell my kids I love them at last 3 times a day, and it's not just a "ritual" when waying good bye etc. It just comes out of my mouth at random times because I want them to know I love them all the time.
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
Haven and ForteKitty, add me to the list of people who don't like being touched by strangers! Actually, I don't really like touching people I'm not really close to in general. I start getting stressed out in social situations when I can see that I'm going to be expected to hug acquaintances goodbye...
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
It's funny, my mom has described me as having a steel rod in my spine. :bigsmile: I'm not very affectionate with my family, other than my husband. I'm not a huge hugger, and I don't tell my parents that I love them often. We don't say it when getting off the phone, and we don't say it when we're visiting. I don't mean to be rude, I'm just not comfortable showing much affection to anyone other than my husband. We say "I love you" all the time, several times a day, and that feels right. Saying it to anyone else? Uncomfortable... We all know we love each other though.

My husband's family is probably somewhat more affectionate than mine is. Hugs all around when we visit his parents. ETA: My husband is way more affectionate with me than I am with him. He'd probably love it if I stepped it up a bit.

A friend of mine once asked me when we were in high school or college if my parents even loved each other. She told me that she'd never really seen them show affection towards each other. I laughed, because I had always thought it was weird to see her parents snuggling or practically spooning on the couch. At my house, my mom would be on one couch, and my dad would either be on the other one or in the recliner. Neither were particularly lovey-dovey. We both thought each other's parents were strange.
 

mayerling

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
2,357
To be honest, I come from a culture where "I love you's" and hugs between adults in a family are VERY rare. I don't think I've really hugged my parents since I was a child, and I don't remember saying "I love you" in the last 10-12 years. Having been brought up in this culture, I tend to not consider these things essential in my impression of whether there is a closeness between family members.

Love and closeness seems to be expressed in other ways. For instance, kids are not expected to leave home until they are completely financially independent, or until they start their own families. Property is passed down to kids while the parents are still alive so the kids can enjoy it while they can. Kids take care of their parents in their old age.
 

mayerling

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
2,357
Jennifer W|1308332569|2948474 said:
MonkeyPie|1308328225|2948429 said:
This is awful, but my mom and dad show their love best by feeding us. And it's something ingrained in us all now. No food = worry, unhappiness, and not enough LOVE. I probably over-feed my husband and child lol.

My parents never said "I love you" until I was grown, I don't know why. They aren't huggers, either. I always knew they loved me, but it wasn't spoken. So now I tell Micah and DH that I love them all the time, because I don't want to be that way. I also shower them in hugs and kisses.

DItto the food - I learned that from my grandmother, I think. She definitely expressed her love for us by feeding us, and many of the dishes she made took a lot of time and effort. The last time I saw her, she had just turned 90 - she made a three course meal for J and I to celebrate our engagement. It helps that she was the best cook in the world (ever). :))

I tend to do the same - I make all (and I mean all) our food from scratch and I'm happiest when I'm cooking, partly because it feels like I'm doing something for my family to express affection and to make where we live feel like a home (I'm abysmal at housekeeping, no home maker's task is so simple that I can't mess it up, so it's cooking or nothing...) :bigsmile:

ETA I'm also big on physical affection - hugs, kisses, snuggling etc but ONLY with my husband and child. I loathe to be touched by anyone else.
Same here. My mum will make absolutely any dish just because I might have, in passing, mentioned having tried it somewhere and liked it.
 

AmeliaG

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
880
Dreamer_D said:
I like the idea of the 5 love languages for this, even if it's a little cheesy.
I think that has a lot to do with it. I just read the book and took the test. Words of affirmation and physical touch were the lowest on my list. Acts of service and quality time were the highest. It's extremely difficult for me to accept words of affirmation or physical touch from people who haven't shown me acts of service or quality time and I'm not likely to dole out words of affirmation or hugs without them either.

Its like acts of service and quality time are my litmus test of who cares for me and who doesn't. If you don't pass the test with me on those two fronts, I'm not interested in the other languages of love.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
56,139
I think it is extremely important that people are shown love by actions. But that does not mean it is not also important to say it. Children shouldn't have to wonder how much they are loved. They absolutely should be told often. My husband shows love through actions and very little affection. It took me a long time to accept that. We do say "I love you" daily, though. Because it is too easy to lapse into never saying it if you don't.
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
My husband and I both took the 5 love languages quiz, found here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/..

For me, not surprisingly, Acts of Service scored the highest, with Quality Time scoring second. Physical Touch was the lowest score, by far. I should probably work on that.

My husband took the test a while back, and he scored highest in the Physical Touch category. Typical man.
 
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