Why Touch is So Important in Your Relationships

Two cats cuddlingMAUDE: Touch. Such an important part of all relationships and yet often it can diminish or even almost disappear without people noticing it!

Touch in the simplest sense; not sexual, not even sensual; the act of sitting near enough to brush up against each other, placing your hand on someone’s arm or shoulder for a moment, hugging. These ordinary acts have extraordinary repercussions.

Pay attention to opportunities to touch and be in contact physically. This non-verbal source of communication contains much of importance. We can’t say it, as it is non-verbal information, but we do experience it and its effects.

When misunderstandings, hurts or attacks (both real and imagined) cause distance and estrangement in a relationship, connecting through touch can soothe that discomfort just by the very act of being in physical contact.

As a relationship grows in years, partners often drift away from having contact without even realizing it. So pay attention to this very important aspect of your togetherness, this bridge to your connection with each other. Stop what you are so busy with and sit down with your partner. Slow down for a moment in the course of the daily events and give each other a kiss or a hug.

In our relationship, our physical contact has not gotten less in all the years, and it is clearly a source of comfort and a reminder of our love for each other. We often walk holding hands. We sit together in restaurants rather than on opposite sides. We remain in contact while sleeping. We have a lot of space and individual privacy within our relationship, and our physical touch seems to grow with that sense of freedom, rather than decrease.

We have often emphasized the importance of touch when looking for creative mutuality in solving problems and making decisions. The same is particularly true when there is any sense of distance or discord. So much warmth and caring awareness is passed through simple touching, that it soothes any sense of misalignment.

Do not underestimate this gentle method of connection. In the small touches and physical contacts, you can ease many misunderstandings and re-establish connections. After all, that’s what we all want, isn’t it?

Touch is an important part of all relationships; it gives messages of caring and comfort Click To TweetPHIL: Touch is an important part of our relationship. We walk hand in hand. We sit side by side in restaurants. We edit our blogs on the sofa and keep in physical contact. We go to sleep and wake up touching. When we have a disagreement to resolve, we talk with our bodies touching.

It feels as though whole conversations are going on with this touching, even though the language is vastly different from English and there is no dictionary available.

Conversations like this have been going on forever. Animals huddle together and groom each other. The messages are of support, comfort and caring. So it is for us humans, too, and if we stop speaking that language, we lose an important way of expressing concern for each other. Yet that is what is happening in much of today’s society. While Mediterranean countries are contact cultures where people touch each other frequently while talking, North America isn’t like that. Many changes are exacerbating this. Because touch also has a role as a prelude to sex, the increasing awareness of sexual harassment and assault has made people more wary of touching lest they be accused of impropriety. This has often led to extremes such as schools banning staff from touching children in any way at all.

Combine this with a tendency to live in our heads and become less in touch with our bodies and we have a good reason for why so many people are feeling separate and disconnected from each other. Go out and touch someone today!

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2 comments on “Why Touch is So Important in Your Relationships
  1. Jinjee says:

    I think the lack of comments on this one may stem from the “Go out and touch someone today!” closing sentence. The first comments that popped into my head were that this is not the right time (#WeToo) to send that message, as so many people touch inappropriately, non-consensually, and there’s a movement afoot to educate men and others to be careful to not engage in unwanted touching, and never to assume that touching is OK. I know it’s extreme, but unfortunately, desperate times call for desperate measures right? It’s easy for us who grew up around mostly cool people to think this is all really fear-based. I never knew so many people suffered from sexual harassment until I was informed by the #meToo movement. But maybe precisely because touch in society is becoming socially inappropriate, it is more important than ever to share lots of hugs and touches with your partner and closest family and those friends who you know and love – – and who you know love your hugs! – Like me!!! Sending you both cyber hugs from Vancouver Island.

    The rest of the articles resonates well though! I didn’t want to say anything negative about your post so I didn’t post anything. Feel free to not approve this, it was mainly for you. Though it may spark heated debate, which is always good for bringing more people around!

    • Maude says:

      Yes, it is possible that the last line was a bit unconscious, although I(Phil) do think there is a backlash about touching that has gotten a bit extreme at the moment. I hope we will find our way back to a point where this all-important aspect of life can occur without the taint of inappropriateness coloring it. Nevertheless, we never want to give the wrong impression or make people uncomfortable.
      thank you for your loving comment and feedback
      Phil and Maude

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