Sex isn’t everything in a relationship. I’ve had a tendency in my relationships to put a lot of emphasis on sex, but I’ve had friends and family members point out to me that a lasting relationship can’t be built on a sexual connection alone. Friendship, trust, and communication are the things that really make a strong foundation for a relationship.
I’ve learned that there are other ways of affection and of growing closer together in a dating relationship, even when you are not having sex. Here are some ideas my boyfriend and I enjoy.
1. Cuddling up to watch a movie together.
It might not seem like this would be a good way to get to know another person, but if you pay attention to each other’s reactions to the movie, and talk about it afterwards, there is actually a lot you can learn. What makes him laugh? How does she see the world? Which characters does he most identify with?
2. Complimenting each other.
I try to tell my boyfriend that I’m proud of him, because I don’t think that he’s heard that a lot in his life. I try to be specific too, not just repeat the same thing. I’ll tell him that I’m proud of him for how hard he has been working at his job. Or I might just text him randomly during the day to tell him that he’s an amazing guy and that I love him.
3. Simply talking to each other.
Never stop trying to get to know one another. There are so many things to talk about but many of us are afraid to talk about them for fear of embarrassment, especially if it has to do with a disagreement or difference of opinion. But it’s important to find a way to talk to each other without being afraid, embarrassed, or feeling attacked or overwhelmed. Try going for a walk or talking over a nice dinner about things like goals, expectations, what you want out of life. Those kinds of conversations will help you figure each other out and figure out how your lives may or may not fit together.
4. Discovering something you both enjoy.
Doing something that you both enjoy doesn’t mean that you have to pick up some expensive hobby. My boyfriend and I are obsessed with movies. Out of the blue, one of us will start singing a song from a movie, and the other person will join in. Or someone will quote a movie, and the other person finishes the sentence.We play video games together sometimes, which is fun, even though I die a lot and my boyfriend jokes that I don’t have a gaming bone in my body. We also love going to the flea market on the weekends. I hardly ever buy anything, but it’s fun to look at all of the antiques, pet stuff, jewelry, people’s junk and everything in between. It helps us get to know each other’s styles—there are always surprises, things he likes that I wouldn’t have guessed, things we share in common that we didn’t realize.
It is possible to build a dating relationship without sex, as long as there is good communication. Finding ways to connect besides sex will not only grow your relationship, but it will also help you to make sure that your relationship is built on more than just sex.
Photo credit: Flickr/Benjamin Thomas