Post # 1
My SO and I are usually moderately affectionate in public. We’ll hold hands while walking somewhere, or he’ll place a hand on my lower back when I’m having to shift in front of him for some reason. If we’re seated, he’ll put a hand on my knee. You know… sweet, but not over the top or to the point of making anyone uncomfortable.
We were at his brother and SIL’s house for dinner the other night, and he was acting incredibly distant. He kept his hands folded in front of him when I rested mine on his shoulder, sat around the table from me instead of next to me, and was otherwise unresponsive. We got to his place to let his dogs out, and he was “too tired for sex”. That was the last straw for me. I mayyy have been a little tipsy, and I said something to the effect of, “I’ve been having to scrape for your affection and attention all night, and then you’re going to turn me down for sex the second I go to hug you? Dear god!” I was just a little butthurt, and I think he realized that. He explained that he doesn’t like PDA in front of family. He’s okay with it in front of his parents, so I was feeling a bit confused… but THEN I realized that his nieces and nephews were around that night… and I was introduced as his “friend”. We keep things very “friend status” in front of his daughter, too. I felt like a b!tch for complaining. It wasn’t even something I considered.
The nicest part of all this is the resolution. When we got back to my house, he said something like, “Are you too mad at me for me to stay, or should I go home?” I looked at him and told him I’m always going to want him to stay, it’s just that my feelings were hurt. He came around the kitchen island and gave me a big hug, telling me he should have mentioned it in advance and was sorry he didn’t. I told him that next time I would keep it in mind and apologized for being a tipsy jerk. We snuggled.
So, Bees… out of curiosity, what is PDA like in your relationship? Does it vary by situation?
Post # 2
I don’t understand what his nieces being around had anything to do with this but maybe because my experiences are different. I don’t see anything wrong with a peck on the lip, holding hands, or hugging in front of children or not. Full on making out or something is not something I would do in front of anyone and can’t think of any social situation where that would even come up. However, I grew up not ever seeing a loving relationship between my mom and a spouse until I was 11 and I didn’t know how a guy should treat me. My niece has a single mom and she’s 6 and her parents hate each other and she understands it now. When she has been around my husband and I she sees us kiss and hold hands and she asks why he kisses me and hugs me and I tell her because he loves me and I love him. She has also never seen affection because it’s just been her and her mom and that’s it. I feel she needs to learn how a man should treat a woman and small displays of affection are okay. And her mom also wants that for her so I just dont understand children making a difference. They SHOULD see how people love each other in my opinion. Not like you’re having sex in front of them.
Post # 3
DoubleD : I agree with you.
I don’t change our pda in front of strangers, family or friends. We keep it very moderately meaning hugs, holding hands, a peck on the lip, putting a hand on his leg etc. Not making out or anything like that.
The only place where we keep it to none would be at work. We are in a professional setting but that is only because we work in the same place. We are in different department but still collaborate with each other colleagues.
Post # 4
I agree with the previous posters that an appropriate amount of attention /affection is absolutely fine. It’s not as though it’s a full make out session. I always kiss my husband goodbye in front of our daughter and I also hug him….until she comes over and wants me to hug her instead!
Post # 5
- Wedding: June 2019 - Tacoma, WA
Fiance and I actually ran into a very similar issue when we were first dating. I introduced her to my family at a bar/restaurant where we could all hang out and eat, drink and chat. Very low-key. Anyway, I have always been a little more subdued around my family, so when we were there, I was behaving probably a lot like your SO was, but it wasn’t consciously. To my Fiance, though, it was a dramatic shift and she took it as me being ashamed of being with her or something like that, I don’t recall her exact words, but I do remember that it really bothered her that I was not as affectionate with her around my family. Honestly, this isn’t even something I recognized about myself until that moment! Also, in my defense, I was nervous as hell that night, as was she, and I’m sure that played into it, as well.
After two years together, she now understands I’m sometimes just more reserved and it’s not personal at all. Usually I’m fine if she wants to hug me from behind, hold my hand. kiss me quickly on the lips or cheek, etc, though I do get weird when she wants more than that (like an actual kiss). It’s just something we’ve had to learn to compromise on.
Post # 6
Hmm well since you were introduced as his friend, then it makes sense why he wasn’t touching you. Why aren’t you known as his gf to his family? (His daughter, I understand of course.)
We are pretty touchy feels and definitely will kiss and stuff in public. No making out, but a nice lingering kiss, sure. Wouldn’t do that directly in front of friends or family though. I think we’re lucky in that we both have physical touch as one of our love languages, so it’s a really nice way to give and receive affection.
My fi’s ex-wife was super anxious / nervous about any sign of affection in public or with friends/family, even holding hands or a hand on the knee. I know it got to hurt him and make him feel unloved after a long time.
Post # 7
eggnoodles : yeah we work together too and that’s the only place where we keep it strictly professional – no touching, no cutesy names, no inside jokes, etc.
Post # 8
Why were you introduced as his “friend”? It sounds more like he was trying to keep up that pretense than him simply being reserved around some family members.
Post # 9
If we’re in public by ourselves (i.e. not with friends/fam), we’ll often hold hands or walk with our arms around the other, with the occasional peck on the lips. When hanging out with friends/family we don’t really do much PDA at all unless the situation calls for it for some reason.
I have a girlfriend who is never NOT hanging off of her man anytime we’re together and I find it kinda cringey. Like constantly stroking his hand or his leg in a really blatant way every single second…it’s almost like they’re putting on a show for everyone else. Or maybe I’m just really cynical lol. But I find it unnatural to do any over the top PDA when we’re with friends/fam.
Post # 10
- Wedding: May 2016 - Sussex, UK
We’re the most affectionate out of all our friend couples. We’re definitely not all over each other but he’ll put his arm round me or we’ll give each other a quick kiss occasionally. Not making out. None of our friends are like that at all. A few have said the 7 year itch will kick in soon but luckily D.H and I don’t feel like that!
I don’t see anything wrong with how your SO acted if his daughter thinks you are friends. That would obviously get confusing but seems like you two are on the same page.
Post # 11
I hate being touched in general, so PDA is out for me. But especially around his family.
Post # 12
- Wedding: March 2021 - Kauai, HI
I’d tone it down in front of my parents, but we’re a very touchy couple. We don’t make out, but we definitely full on kiss, but slap walk with an arm around each other or holding hands. We’re not gross but we really don’t care what others think. We’re openly affectionate. No one would mistake him for my friend or brother!
Post # 13
When out in public alone together. Moderate. Hold hangs, hugs, maybe a brief kiss depending.
Around family and friends usually probably only hold hands at most but even still not often. When out of the country with family, mostly more so not to get separated or lost.
However, in general it’s just something we both personally are reserved in when not alone vs alone.
I wouldn’t say I would feel the need to shy from it in front of future children. However, extended family is much different for us. While western culture certainly still has groups that are more reserved on PDA (my family was and extended family), romantic partner PDA in some Asian cultures would be even more inappropriate especially in front of an elder…but you don’t typically see it around a sibling/cousin either. Though again not every family is the same.
Post # 14
We do a moderate amount of PDA, sometimes if we’re at a bar and tucked away in a corner booth maybe a little bit more but that’s usually after a few drinks. Normally, just hand holding, hands on his leg, occasional peck.
When we first started dating we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other, the first night we went home together we made out the whole way home in the Uber, that poor driver! Luckily we don’t do that anymore lol.
We also work together in a small office, we both have our own offices so there’s not a lot of interaction but we keep it 100% professional, everyone was shocked when it finally came out that we were dating and when we hire new people it usually takes them a while to figure it out as well. Might be different once my name changes though.
OP- why do the niece and nephew only know you as a friend but his parents know you are his gf?
Post # 15
We’re generally not PDA kind of people. I’ll kiss his goodbye at the airport when he leaves on a trip (quick peck), but otherwise we’re mostly hands-off.