Monday, October 30, 2017

PDA - No it Does Not Mean Pretty Damn Arrogant!

Intimacy vs. Awkward Possessiveness

PDA (showing Public Display of Affection) is the term.  But how often have we heard a moral jab of “Get a room?”  But then there is the “wow, they look good together.”  When is displaying social intimacy acceptable, appropriate and supportive?  How you play (or not play) in public can give away secrets.  

PDA can reveal information as to your relationship.  As a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles who observes through couples counseling

you can tell a great deal about a couple and their communication by their proximity and physical interaction. The answer to the above questions is complex due to cultural beliefs and norms, we generally comprehend this. Additionally, regional or religions components dictate the role of social behavior in couples. Moreover, the intricacies become subtle as one might argue that generational and family patterns allow for (or criminalize) acceptable practices regarding how you engage with your partner in public environments.  

So, early discussions (as a couple or through negotiations with your therapist, or with peers or family) might be warranted into understanding the comfort levels of your partner.  The big question is to understand your need to be physical with your partner in public?  Is the boyfriend with the better smiled perfect teeth Heisman Trophy winning makes better income than me walking into the room?  Might be a time to mark your territory?  Or, has the real Wonder Woman just walked into the room eyeing your partner?  Time to engrave a big kiss to imply hands off!  

Ultimately, understanding your partner gives you knowledge and access to needs.  Mild affection might be just what is needed if the controlling mother comes into the room; if a former boss arrives at the restaurant -- that coordination of the hand or knee squeeze might not only save the alcoholic from that needed drink; but, it might signal the partner by saying he is valued and supported.  Is having a mindfulness of others a necessary for PDA?  Again, there are questions that are raised with engaging in intimate contact publically.  

It ultimately becomes an issue of why?  Are you reaching out?  Are you signaling a prelude to sex?  What is the message to the touch?
For work on intimacy and effective communication in relationships in Los Angeles:

Read more about Dr. Strayhorn's practice and philosophy...

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