People are always looking for ways to get closer to their significant other, and there are a lot of ways available (see this article for example). It’s a worthy goal… a close and loving relationship is one of the best things available in this life.
The funny thing is that one of the best, and most natural, ways to get closer is also one of the most easily forgotten: touching. It’s amazing how much difference it makes… and how easy it is to let it slip away.
Touch, especially skin on skin, causes your body to release a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone has been shown, in numerous studies, to be involved in bonding, trust, and possibly even generosity… all of which are, obviously, strong factors in how close your relationship is.
That’s the scientific explanation… but you don’t need the science to see the truth of it. Simply looking back at the history of your own relationship can show you just how important touch is.
When you first start a new relationship, you touch all the time… holding hands, hugging, kissing, and more. During this time, you are generally close and getting closer, to the point where you can’t imagine it any other way.
As your relationship matures, though, many things start to distract you from touching each other as much, especially if you have children (one parent running after them while the other cleans up behind them, or at least that’s the way it seems). Then, as time goes by with less touch, you get used to it, and accept the greater distance as a natural part of your relationship.
Then, as yet more things come up, you start touching even less, sometimes even to the point where it feels funny when you do… sort of a “Wow, we’ve barely touched all day” feeling. By this time, it’s easy to forget how much you used to touch, and to blame the distance on other things.
On the other hand, it’s really easy to turn that around, and get a clear reminder. All you have to do to get closer is both choose to make it a priority to make sure that you touch a lot, all day. It takes a few minutes, maybe even as much as an hour if it’s been long enough, but if you keep it up, you’ll feel yourself relaxing and opening up… which means that you can easily get closer.
Making the change long term is a bit harder, though… it takes constant conscious effort, at first, to make sure that you do, in fact, keep touching. Without that constant attention and effort it is very easy to slip back into your old ways and lose the closeness that you are just starting to get back. It can take a few weeks for you to adjust, and make touching a lot your normal way to be again.
Touching even has benefits in areas outside your relationship, including having less stress and even beginning to heal from old mental wounds. Think about all the difficult and expensive ways people try to relieve stress, and then consider how easy it is to just touch your significant other.
So here’s the “secret” – if you want to get closer emotionally, get closer physically: go hold your sweetheart’s hand.