Since a very young age, I have been a touch-me-not. Displays of physical affection were never my thing, and in a world where hugging has become the standard mode of greeting, I do my best to popularise the handshake. Occasionally friends will hug me and I will squirm, and even more rarely, I will forget myself and spontaneously hug someone.
In my late teens, I briefly became a cuddler and a kisser … with my mum. My newfound propensity to show physical affection lasted only till the first boyfriend arrived on the scene and then my mum found herself back in the no-touch zone. The husband was in the sweet spot till the babies arrived but now he too has found himself being squirmed away from.
The past two years have hard on my marriage for reasons more complicated than my disinterest in cuddling. I have been hurt, angry, frustrated, resigned, and somewhere along the way I reverted to type, to being the very strong, slightly detached, cut and dry, impatient with affection person I used to be. I can’t say I dislike this me, though not everyone would agree.
And still, here we are holding hands. In the midst of my rages, the husband has told me that the bottom line is that he loves me. I find that hard to believe sometimes. But for now, I accept it because it has been tried and tested. My most recent breakthrough has been to live in the moment in my marriage – to see fights and frustrations as temporary and to make more of the good times. This can only work if there are more good times or better good times than bad, but for now it’s working, we’re in touch.