Confidence Is… Complicated: Public Displays of Affection


Friday night, Robert and I were out having drinks with our co-workers after our company holiday party.

I pulled away from the crowd for a few minutes to check my phone. I guess I got lost on twitter or something, because after about 10 minutes I heard Robert calling me from across the bar.

I looked up and he waved me over to where he was sitting on a bar stool. I put my phone away and walked over to where he and a few others were listening to someone from our legal team telling a story about a deal he just closed.

“What’s up, honey?” I whispered.

“Nothing, you were just over there for a while…” he said, touching my hair.

Although we spent the night socializing separately, we had some sort of physical contact anytime we were within arms reach of each other. Me touching his arm or him kissing me as he walked by.

I’m big on PDA (hand holding and a quick kiss here and there works for me, nothing too crazy, I promise!). When we first started dating Robert was not very touchy-feely and it bothered me. Other guys I’d dated had reeled with the perfect PDA (remember Adrian?) so I had to have an awkward conversation with Robert where I told him that our lack of PDA sometimes made me feel disconnected and unwanted. He had never dated someone who saw physical touch as an important relation element outside of the bedroom, so for him this was new but he makes adjustments and that makes me feel better.

At first, I just thought that physical affection was my Love Language but the more I think about it. I’m pretty sure, its also a confidence thing for me too.

Dating as a Plus Size Princess, I always hear the stories about guys who are afraid to be with big girls in public. I think somewhere along the line, PDA became the way I gained confidence that a man wasn’t ashamed of our relationship. Meaning, if he’ll hug/kiss/hold my hand in public then he’s fine with people knowing he’s with me.

If I’m honest with myself 80% of my need for PDA is just how I am… but 20% of it is because I’m a big girl who needs reassurance.

I know for a fact that Robert is happy for people to know we’re together and we’re definitely not a secret at work. But the feeling I got when he initiated PDA in front of our coworkers, was a mix of love, happiness… and validation.

As I work on my own confidence levels, I try to take stock of what confidence boosters are coming from within and which ones are external. PDA is definitely an external confidence booster for me.

How does PDA make YOU feel?

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  • Myanna

    When I was in a relationship, I was never a PDA person for many reasons:

    – My need for privacy and not wanting to show my relationship status to people.
    – My sense of individuality: I am a person before being part of a couple.
    – Also I was very secure with my partner so I didn’t feel the need to repel other girls.

    Now that I am single, seeing PDA is not something I particularly like to see.

    I think at the beginning I didn’t care at all, but now that I actually ready to find a boyfriend, I notice couples a lot more. So seeing PDS makes me feel single :/

    So when I am in a relationship again I will not I think do too much PDA out of consideration for single people.

    But also again for all the above reason which, I valid to me, they represent very much what I stand for.

    • CeCe Olisa

      oh man! PDA used to make me feel single too… especially in spring when the weather gets warm and everyone is all “in love” and stuff… booooo lol

      Although it made me aware of my solo status, I didn’t mind it :-)

  • NikkiB04

    I’ll be honest. With past relationships, you could barely tell I was in them. With my current one, I can’t seem to help myself sometimes. It’s not really about anyone else, it’s about how I feel about my dude.

    I’m sorry if that makes other people feel uncomfortable, and we certainly don’t go overboard (there are no tongues on display people!).

    • CeCe Olisa

      LOL Yes, we draw the line at tongues!

  • Medina Turner

    I think i’m the same way. My husband was always that keen on pda and that really made me feel insecure. But thats because the guys i used to date before him didn’t want anybody to know. Thankfully that has changed and i don’t feel that way anymore but i tottaly get where your coming from.

  • Karlita

    We g

  • Karlita

    Sorry, ignore my comment below, that was me trying to figure this out on my phone. I’m with you 100% CeCe. PDA is something I’m big on, but when I first started dating my boyfriend, he didn’t do it since his ex didn’t allow him to at all. So I too had to have that awkward conversation with him, and he started to right away. It makes me feel wanted and that he isn’t afraid to let everyone know we’re together. Not only is it just me, it’s also my way of getting the reassurance I want.

  • Gabrielle Hudson

    When I was in high school and with the person I fell in love with in college, the men I was with actually hid me and told me they just wanted to keep things on the “DL”. It definitely made me feel like they were ashamed to be seen with me. I did ask the guy in high school about that about 7 years later but he said he was just really shy at the time (even though his next gf he made out with in the hallway). Anyway, when I moved on to my current bf/fiancé it was refreshing that he wanted to do the whole PDA thing as it was something I always liked/wanted to do and that I kind of needed in order to truly know that I wasn’t being hidden again. It really did and still does feel good to know that he loves me and wants to show the world. So I guess I’m 50/50 with wanting it and needing it.