A touching moment: how touch affects self-esteem and relationships


Of course, the touch of our partners is of particular importance. If there is an honest, warm and healthy relationship between us and our beloved, in most cases his touch will give us exceptional pleasure. But is it worth touching your partner if at the moment he is talking about something that makes him nervous?

On the one hand, it seems that with our own hands we can reduce the stress level of a loved one and show him support. On the other hand, we often do not even try to hug someone who is feeling bad now, because we think: “He should be alone now.” What if we only make it worse?

Why are you touching me?

Why do we need to touch each other at all? Are words not enough? On the one hand, touch means that we are in close relationship with the person we are touching. This is how we show that we can provide support when needed. This is supported by the results of a study published in the journal Social and Personal Relationships.

Psychologists from the Universities of Syracuse and Carnegie Mellon (USA) have studied how the touch of our partners affects us at times when we are afraid or hard. Their study involved 210 married couples. The volunteers first answered questions about how satisfied they were with their relationship. After the process of communication between partners was recorded on video to explore the non-verbal side of the matter.

The researchers asked one of the partners to tell the other about what makes him nervous. A stressor could be anything from problems at work to illness and fights with loved ones. The only thing that the subject of excitement was not supposed to relate to intimate relationships between the participants. The spouses were given eight minutes to talk about a specific problem, after which they were asked to switch roles.

Touch helps create a safe haven that avoids undue suffering

The results of the study confirmed that the touch of loved ones really matters. Those participants who, in the course of conversations, more than others, stroked and in every possible way “comforted by hand,” reported that their self-esteem increased, while tension, on the contrary, decreased. They were also more likely to claim that they were able to cope with their problems.

It is important that both those “touching” participants who listened and those who shared their problems perceived their partner more positively than those who touched their loved ones less often and received less “stroking” from partners.

In one motion

It turns out that touching another is useful in any case. Touch helps create a safe haven that avoids excessive suffering, scientists say. So the next time your loved one starts complaining about an obnoxious boss, or when your loved one talks about another quarrel over parking, just pat his hand. Even if it doesn’t force your partners to update their resume or consider buying a garage space, it will feel a little easier for them. Science confirms this.

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