A Touching Post

I grew up in a family that didn't do a lot of touching - hugging, cuddling, that sort of thing. There was lots of verbal affection, but we weren't very hands-on. So for most of my life, I kept my hands to myself - I was never sure of the etiquette of social hugging, and preferred to err on the side of caution.

My first husband's family was European, and when we started dating he was much more physically affectionate than I was used to, and I enjoyed it. But as our marriage progressed (then regressed), he began to keep his distance, except when he wanted sex. He stopped wanting to hold hands, didn't like me leaning against him when we watched TV, complained if I snuggled up against him in bed. He said it made him claustrophobic (in hindsight, that should have set off all kinds of warning bells, as it turned out the entire marriage made him claustrophobic). He told me I was frigid, and that if I put out more often in bed, he'd be more willing to touch me at other times. I said I might put out more if he didn't recoil every time I sat next to him on the sofa.

So it wasn't until my daughter was born that I realized how much I enjoyed pure physical contact - touching and being touched to comfort, to express affection, to connect. That it was OK to want to touch someone else just because I loved them.

After my marriage fell apart, my parents suddenly became much more physically expressive. I don't think I ever said anything, it just sort of happened - we hugged when we saw each other, we put our arms around each other and said we loved each other. It was a wonderful change (and they are far more physical with my children, who are incredibly affectionate little creatures, than they ever were when I was a child. I love watching my dad and my son together - wrestling, holding hands, sitting together to read a story.) .

Then I met Dean. From our first 'date', I have craved his touch, both sexual and not. After 6 and a half years, it's not such a desperate need as it was at first, but I still long to feel his skin against mine on a daily basis. It's a measure of how deep the scars from my first marriage run that I'm still surprised, in bed at night, that he doesn't mind when I snuggle up against him, my chest pressed tight to his spine, my legs curled under his, my arm around his waist. My cheek nestles between his shoulder blades, and I can hear his heart beat as I fall asleep. He actually likes it, encourages it even. We hold hands as we walk, we hug while making dinner or doing dishes or passing each other in the hall, we sit with our legs entangled, his arm around me, my head on his shoulder, on a daily basis. The children join us, piling on top or wriggling in between. I find it calming, soothing, uplifting, enriching.

It's one of the many, many reasons I love him.