What are Some Reasons Men Won't Show Affection in Public?

His lack of public affection may cause you to doubt his relationship IQ.
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If your boyfriend quickly shrugs his shoulder away when you drape your arm around him, you don't have a unique situation on your hands. While you may have no problem showing affection in public, your guy may feel uncomfortable with these intimate actions. Understanding the reasons behind your beau's inability to show affection in public can help you feel better about him and your relationship.

1 Personal Personality

Not everyone -- whether male or female -- enjoys a public display of affection. In a romantic situation, different people have different ways of expressing their love to each other. This "love language" -- according to family therapist Marilyn Wedge on the Psychology Today website -- varies by personality. For example, you may show your love toward your guy in a physical way -- such as stroking his hair or hugging him -- while he may use a more vocal approach. Your guy's love language personality is a possible reason that he might not want to show physical affection in public. If he already feels uncomfortable about expressing himself physically, putting him in a public situation will only intensify the issue.

2 Masculine and Manly

Although not every man is the stereotypical picture of masculinity, those who are may put a hold on public displays of affection. In the article "Gender and Gender Identity" the experts at Planned Parenthood note that the traditional sense of masculinity includes independence, hardness and a non-emotional nature. A "masculine" man may feel that public displays of affection are emotionally expressive, and want to hide that side of themselves in public. In an effort to see masculine or strong, some men may resist showing their caring sides in public.

3 Intimacy Intimidation

When intimacy -- or feeling close to a partner -- seems scary to a guy, he may want to shy away from doing anything that could cause him stress or anxiety. While not all men fear intimacy, those who do may not want to come off as looking vulnerable. Looking vulnerable at home is tough enough for some men. Add in a public venue and a fear of intimacy can sky rocket. This can lead to your man keeping his distance from you or brushing away physical advances in public.

4 Looking Back

For some men the inability to show affection in public has more to do with the past than the present. Past relationship failures or even a traumatic childhood can result in a man avoiding public displays of his affection for you. For example, if your guy's last girlfriend broke things off because of his affectionate advances, he may switch directions and avoid any type of physical touching in public. Although this may not seem like a major trauma to you, your guy's bruised ego may make him regret ever engaging in an open display of affection.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.