Q. Hi, My name is Stephanie and I am an extremely shy woman. I have a wonderful boyfriend and there are times when he wants to kiss me and show public display of affection that I am not comfortable with. This disappoints him and sometimes he gets offended because he feels that I don’t love him or that I don’t want others to know about us (which is not at all the case). I am much more comfortable with any display of affection within closed doors. The only thing that I am comfortable doing with my boyfriend in public is holding hands and walking with him.
Should I change myself and work on my shyness to please my boyfriend? What are some ways I can let him know that I love him very much and that he means a lot to me?
A. Dear Stephanie,
I am so glad you have a wonderful and affectionate boyfriend—not everyone does. PDAs are generally considered OK unless they cross the line and become explicit. Kissing, hugging and some gentle touching are considered normal for a couple to display in public.
Since you say you really like him, would you be willing to explore some levels of public display of affection?
Do you know what exactly he wants in to do in public? Is it stroking your hair, a kiss or a hug? You can explore these ideas with him.
There are different levels of touching, which is what I explain to my clients who think touching is meant for behind closed doors.
Touching and connecting with your partner doesn’t have to be about sex, and if it’s in public it’s usually playful, not sexual.
Playfulness can be fun; that is what I would suggest you focus on.
Can you be playful with a body part, say your feet? Would you be willing to trade foot massages in the park? Would you be willing to trade back scratches with a small hug from behind?
You can even trade pecks on the cheek before you move toward a full kiss in public.
When you say you feel uncomfortable, it may because you feel over-exposed. PDA’s are commonplace these days, so you won’t garner that much attention for indulging from time-to-time.
Instead, the public may smile, and think you and your boyfriend are doing great. Wouldn’t that be a nice change of pace?