Do you feel like you just can’t have enough affection? Or do you feel like you’re starving for physical touch?
If you do, know that it is entirely natural. In fact, humans are wired to have a need for physical contact.
Being touch starved is also known as touch deprivation or skin hunger and it is more common than you think; to experience little to no touch from other living things.
However, aside from being touch starved, extreme craving for affection, whether physical or emotional, can sometimes indicate an overdependence on other people for ensuring your own wellbeing. It can even indicate love addiction, i.e. attachment regulation.
If you feel like you just can’t do without affection, keep on reading to find out why that may be the case and how you can learn to regulate your emotions.
Why Do I Crave Affection?
The first and the most obvious reason why you may crave affection is because you don’t have enough of it in your life. You may have been lonely for a while, without anybody to provide you with the physical and emotional connection. Many people experienced this during the recent pandemic.
Aside from longing for touch, craving for love and affection can also happen for other reasons. You may actually have people in your life who love and care for you, and you still can’t satisfy your cravings. In this case, your need for affection may represent something deeper.
When You Grow Up Without Affection
People who experience intense love cravings often lacked appropriate affection in their childhood. Unfortunately, these people may go through life feeling as though they do not deserve love, and still desire to be held, loved, and appreciated. This can cause them to seek self-love through other people, trying to heal their wounds and make up for the lack of affection.
However, love cravings can also arise from attachment dysregulation, or love addiction, involving obsessive behaviors towards other people. It tends to arise from survival patterns developed in childhood or a particularly stressful situation in your life where you had to learn to tolerate feelings of neglect and abandonment.
If you tend to feel like other people don’t love you enough, fear that they may leave you, or experience anxiety over your relationship, it may be the case that you’re dealing with attachment dysregulation that requires your attention.
What Are The Characteristics Of People Who Crave Love?
People who experience intense cravings for love often have the following characteristics:
- Obsession with love and affection: Do you feel like you place too much importance on affection? To the point that you sometimes feel like nothing else matters? People who crave love often can’t let it come naturally and get anxious when they do not receive it.
- Controlling behaviors: Craving love can also make you exhibit controlling and possessive behavior towards those who show you love and affection. This may be a mechanism for avoiding pain and abandonment.
- Demanding and begging affection: Similarly, if affection holds the most important place in your life, you may be prone to demanding it from other people. Or you may beg for them to give you the love you desperately need.
- Trust issues. Those who experienced abandonment or neglect may find it exceedingly difficult to trust other people and develop lasting relationships. They may be suspicious, constantly expecting ulterior motives, conspiracies, and hidden agendas out of fear of getting hurt.
- Accepting toxic behaviors. Unfortunately, those who lack affection may have a tendency to accept abusive behaviors from those they bond with. They may also struggle with differentiating between disagreements and abusive situations.
What Do You Do When You Crave Affection?
Learning about yourself and why you’ve grown to obsessively crave attention is a good first step towards building more stable relationships. You may try to do this on your own or speak with an insightful relationship coach who can help you understand and begin to heal your wounds. Through self-love and acceptance, you will begin to rely less on others and more on yourself for affection, and begin to build a healthier foundation for future relationships.
How Do I Stop Craving Love And Affection?
Luckily, there are numerous ways to curb your love cravings and depend less on other people. Here are some tips:
- List Your Favorite Hobbies.
Ask yourself: what do you enjoy doing on your own? What makes you happy? Make a list of hobbies and interests you enjoy, no matter what they may be. Acknowledge them and think about what else you’d like to try.
- Think About What You Love About Yourself.
Write down what you like about yourself, whether it’s physical or more related to your character. What is good about you? Are you kind, compassionate, or reliable? Or are you rational, driven, and responsible? No matter what it is, focus your attention on the positive aspects of your personality instead of poring over your faults.
- Improve What You Can.
Think about what you can and cannot change in your life. Improve the things you can control, and make peace with those you can’t. Let’s say you’d like to be better at your job and can’t control how your boss treats you. In that case, you’d work hard to improve your skills and build healthy boundaries in the workplace. Then, move on to another job – if need be – after you learn how to be your own advocate with healthy boundaries in the workplace.
- Take It Slow.
Rebuilding confidence and learning to love yourself is a slow, gradual process. Try not to pressure yourself into changing and focus on each step at a time. Doing everything at once can overwhelm you and even cause you to abandon your journey entirely. Instead, work on yourself and your relationships one step at a time and give yourself space to heal.
Learn To Deal With Love Addiction At A PIVOT Retreat
At PIVOT, we use our vast experience and knowledge to help individuals like you on their journeys to heal childhood wounds and build healthier relationships. Whether you feel like you aren’t heard in your relationship, fear that you may be growing apart from your partner, or need help dealing with relationship guilt, we are the ones to call. Experience our well-crafted relationship retreats or make use of our individual coaching sessions to begin your healing journey. We are here to listen and guide you towards self-love, acceptance, and peace.