Publicly displaying affection for the person you are dating can help your partner feel cared for, special and secure. Public displays of affection, known as PDAs, vary in intensity depending on the depth and commitment of your relationship. Displaying your affection in public means that you take your mate seriously. Remember that some people may find PDAs overwhelming, so make sure your partner feels comfortable with the way you display affection.
Holding your partner's hand is a simple way of showing her, and anyone else watching, that you are together. Not only does holding hands imply a certain amount of commitment, but it is also a psychologically comforting gesture. Researchers at the University of Virginia monitored the brain activity of volunteers who were placed under stressful circumstances in a laboratory. People who held the hand of a caring partner while undergoing tests showed less activity in the stress response area of the brain.
Kissing your guy is a sweet way of showing everyone that you are a couple. People in a new relationship may start with a kiss on the cheek to greet each other, while a kiss on the lips may be more appropriate in a longer-term relationship. Keep in mind that you are in public. Overenthusiastic kissing may embarrass your partner -- and other people around you.
A Warm Hug
Hugging builds bonds between human beings and may even help to ensure your partner stays faithful. A study at the University of North Carolina confirmed that when people in a relationship cuddle, it produces oxytocin, a hormone that helps people bond. In 2012, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that guys exposed to oxytocin and who were already in a relationship were more likely to keep their distance from other potential partners. Giving your guy a squeeze in public also tells everyone else he is taken.
Going out in public gives you plenty of opportunities to show affection for your partner. A guy may hold open a door for his girl, carry her shopping bags or play with her hair. A girl can make her guy feel special by putting her arm around him, putting her hand in his back pocket or giving him a shoulder rub. Nicknames such as "babe" or "honey" are both cute and acceptable in public, although anything more embarrassing should be kept for private moments. However you prefer to give PDAs, make sure your date feels comfortable with them.
- Psychological Science; Lending a Hand Social Regulation of the Neural Response to Threat; James A. Coan et al
- The Journal of Neuroscience; Oxytocin Modulates Social Distance between Males and Females; Dirk Scheele et al.
- Biological Psychology; More Frequent Partner Hugs and Higher Oxytocin Levels are Linked to Lower Blood Pressure and Heart Rate in Premenopausal Women; Kathleen C. Light et al
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