Relationship advice: How to be a more affectionate partner

Need a little nudge in showing affection for your loved one? We shed some light on the best ways to give and receive sincere attention.

How to show affection for your partner
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You're out for dinner with another couple and can't help but notice how touchy-feely they are in subtle ways: The husband puts his arm around his wife and squeezes her when she says something funny; she rests her hand comfortably on his arm while he's telling a story. Seeing these displays of affection makes you smile, but it also acts as a reminder that your partner isn't as affectionate as you'd like him to be.

So what's the best way to encourage more physical affection? Dr. Pepper Schwartz, chief relationship expert at and professor of sociology at the University of Washington, shares the best ways to go about giving and getting more physical affection from your partner.

1. Act, don't ask
If you lead by example, your partner will follow suit. "If you have to ask him to be more affectionate, you're already resentful that you have to ask. Plus, it puts pressure on him," Schwartz says. No one responds well to criticism. Schwartz suggests "setting the tone each and every day until it becomes a habit." This lays the groundwork for more opportunities for affection.

2. Change your interactions
When we're separated from our partners during the workday, our interactions over email and text messages tend to be business-like by nature. Schwartz suggests coming up with a loving phrase to use when signing off on emails, to change the very nature of how you relate to each other.

"Think about ways to sign your emails -- ‘Love you much,' ‘Thinking of you,' ‘Thanks darling' -- to make your messages affectionate and warm instead of in a business context," he says. By maintaining contact during the workday, you show your partner just how loved they are, and this shows them how you want to be treated in return.

3. Give good greetings
When your partner gets home from work, always greet him, making his arrival home something to expect. "No matter what you're doing, make the effort to pause and give him a kiss," says Schwartz. "You never ignore them." It's an easy way to make your relationship more affectionate and it will continue to grow in that loving direction.

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn how simple gestures, like a lingering kiss or holding your partner's hand, can help your relationship become more meaningful with advice on page 2

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