Not too long ago, I had the pleasure and opportunity to think about public displays of affection and dating. Why was I thinking about that and what on earth was I doing? Well, dating of course! So what really is appropriate? Wait, first, what are public displays of affection anyway? Public displays of affection, or PDA’s, could be kissing, hugging, holding hands, groping, an ass smack, or any kind of “getting close” in a public place in front of other people. They could range from something small, like a peck on the cheek, to full on making out.
Public Displays of Affection and Dating
But, what is public appropriate and what is best left behind closed doors? Well, it depends on your relationship and your comfort level, and, for me especially, my ethnic and cultural boundaries. Let’s break that down. For me, in my culture, public displays of affection are frowned upon, particularly if you are not married. You cannot be seen in public kissing, touching or doing anything with someone who isn’t your life partner because it is inappropriate and it causes people to judge, talk about you and put you in the “loose woman” category. Now, this doesn’t include hugging and kissing a friend or family member on the cheek in greeting, but this does include anything else. For me, being divorced, I have to be that much more careful. I am already placed in the “tarnished” category (whether they admit it or not), so I can’t give them reason to think I really am that! Anything you do in public that is seen by others in the ethnic community, even dating, is reason for gossip. Why give them something to talk about? Especially when you’re casually dating! How do you explain that to someone who isn’t part of that culture?
Besides, personally, I’m not that affectionate a person. I grew up that way. I am not comfortable being affectionate in private or public. My ex-husband wanted to hold hands all the time and it made me quite uncomfortable, but I did it anyway for him, but that’s where I drew the line publicly. In private, sure some cuddling, kissing and a little flirting and a good ass smack isn’t a big deal, but don’t expect anything too major from me. But, really it’s something of a personal preference. I don’t judge others and to each their own. I personally don’t want to see people making out and groping in public, but seeing someone hold hands or steal a kiss is cute, I don’t mind. Actually, I love seeing elderly couples holding hands.
Essentially, you need to know what’s good for you and your partner. This includes NOT crossing their comfort level boundaries. But, what do you do if you are with someone who likes public displays of affection and you don’t (or vice versa)? Well, this falls into my “mismatched” category. Harsh? Well, no. I believe relationships are like puzzles you have to put together, when a piece (or two or three) doesn’t fit, then you’re just asking for trouble. Even more so if you’re trying to make them fit. They either fit or not and that’s completely OK. You shouldn’t have to change who you are and what you like just to be with someone. That’s what dating someone is all about, seeing if the puzzle pieces fit. For me, I need to stay within MY comfort level and the person I’m dating needs to be on the same page, if they’re not, then, well, we both need to find someone who is a better fit. Plain. Simple.
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva