Bring it to Barb


Dear Barb,

The man in my life that I love very much is always wanting to show me his love by making love. It is as if he can never be satisfied and can’t show it in other ways. Is he addicted to sex? I express my love by surprising him with things, backrubs or cooking his favorite dinner or favorite dessert.  I am afraid to show affection sometimes for fear he will want to take me into the bedroom again when I simply want to show my affection while snuggling and watching a movie.


Searching for Variations of Love


Dear Variations of Love,

Loving your significant other is about more than just being physically intimate. While being intimate is a great way to express and show your love to your partner, there are hundreds of different ways to love (without making love!). Here are just some of the ways to show your partner you love them that have nothing to do with making love.

  1. COMMUNICATION-Talking with your partner is a great way to love them. Talking casually while driving, making dinner or relaxing will prove that you trust them and that they can trust you. Every dream, feeling, perspective and opinion should be easily expressed without judgement even if it is not identical or alike. No walking on eggshells!
  2. SPEND TIME TOGETHER & APARTNothing shows someone you love them quite like quality time together. Spending time with your partner, even if it’s just hanging out at home for the evening, is one of the best ways to show them that you care. That said, your partner has moments where they need time and space to themselves. One of the best ways to show them that you love them is to respect that time they need to themselves.It doesn’t mean they don’t want to be with you – just that they need time to themselves! Giving them the time that they need to be alone means that your time together will be all that much sweeter. Plus, they’ll be able to tell how much you love them.
  3. HELPING THEM-Lending a helping hand is a great way to show someone that you care. If your partner needs help, make sure you’re the first one to offer your services. Whether they need help going grocery shopping, picking out a new outfit, cleaning the house or stepping on the brake pedal to bleed the brakes- being helpful is one way to show you care. Being there for your partner and being supportive is a way to love them without making love.
  4. HOLDING HANDS-Who doesn’t like the feeling of walking down the street holding their partner’s hands? Being intimate doesn’t always have to mean making love. Intimacy can come in all kinds of forms. Showing that you’re proud to be with your partner by holding their hand when you’re out together is one way to love them.
  5. AFFECTIONBeing affectionate with your partner is a great way to show your love in a physical way without making love. Sharing kisses, hugs, cuddling, and light touches on their arms and shoulders can say all you need to say.
  6. DATE NIGHTS-Sometimes, you just have to get dressed up, go out and show each other off! Don’t underestimate how good a ‘date night’ can make your partner feel. Spending time together is nice but having a specified time where you enjoy the romance like you were dating again is amazing.
  7. SURPRISE THEM-Unexpectedly, this is attractive to both guys and gals. Nice surprises to show your love will never go unappreciated. Surprises will show that you’re always thinking about them.

All of these variations show our love.  It’s an art and, like any art, it takes a good deal of practice. People respond to love in different ways. Some like to hear words, some need to see loving behavior, and others respond best to gestures. A book called “Love Languages” would be a great resource to draw from. Love is to be given and received without intimidation or expectation to be healthy and to eliminate any guaranteed resentment building up in the future.

Barb Rock is a mental health counselor and the published author of “Run Your Own Race: Happiness after 50.” Send any questions related to mental health, relationships or life issues to her at

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