If she doesn't hold hands with you should you dump her?
February 4, 2010 9:12 PM   Subscribe

If a girl won't hold hands with you in public, should you dump her?

I understand girls who are against PDA, but holding hands seems pretty benign to me. If I'm out in a public place with a girl that I'm dating, it seems like reaching for her hand and expecting it back in return isn't such an outlandish request.

I'm pretty convinced this girl likes me a lot, and after mentioning her shortcomings it seems like she really TRIED to be more affectionate. But at the same time, she isn't very good at showing that she likes me. She doesn't often go for the kiss, or tell me to come over (I'm always inviting myself).

I get that feeling that she's "just not that into me" even though I think she's just a little emo and it's really her personality type that's the issue.
posted by banished to Human Relations (46 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
If she doesn't X with you should you dump her?

depends on how important X is, doesn't it.

If he won't stop trying to hold my hand, should I dump him? Depends on how much you hate holding hands.


If you like a girl, you shouldn't dump her, even if she has quirks. If you don't like a girl, you shouldn't date her.
posted by garlic at 9:15 PM on February 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


You've omitted some key info. How long have you been together? How serious is the relationship? How old are you? etc.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:17 PM on February 4, 2010


Maybe this is something you could bring up at some point? You sound unsure of her reasons; maybe you should talk to her about it. Certainly better than wondering whether she's "just not that into you" or not.
posted by DMan at 9:19 PM on February 4, 2010


and after mentioning her shortcomings

Odd phrasing, but anyway - you did already talk to her about this and she still won't do it? Did she give you a reason why?

What's with the "crazy" tag? That doesn't seem fair.
posted by amro at 9:20 PM on February 4, 2010


Let's assume she is into you. Congratulations! You're going out with a girl who likes you! As it turns out, she has different ideas about affection and appropriateness to you. Oh well. If that's a big enough issue for you to dump her instead of thinking 'she likes me, even if she doesn't show that in precisely the same way I do', then you should dump her. I think, however, that on the spectrum of 'things partners do that annoy us', this is towards the 'minor and get-overable' end.

If she's not into you, then other clues will come along soon enough.
posted by twirlypen at 9:22 PM on February 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's possible that she just doesn't like holding hands, which in my opinion is not unreasonable. You should ask her.
posted by alligatorman at 9:24 PM on February 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Unfortunately, the formula for answering "should I dump her" is contained in only one place in this universe - your skull.

If you don't feel like in the balance relationship is right for you because you don't think you two can work with your currently differing levels of outward affection, then yes, you probably should.

However, I suspect you're not really asking
"should I dump her?"
but rather
"is it just me or do other people think her hand-holding-aversion is weird?"

Yes, it's a bit weird, but it would be a pretty minor issue for me. It sounds like it's more than the hand-holding, though; if the problem is a general lack of affection, it would be a bigger deal to me.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:27 PM on February 4, 2010


Some people are uncomfortable with holding hands. Some people are uncomfortable with PDA. Some people feel like they have sweaty hands that aren't nice to hold, so they hate having their hands held. I suppose SOME people don't want to seem like they're with the person they're next to - but given the question it seems more likely that she's falling into one of the former categories. Like the other people said - ask! I'm guessing you're young and you have a sort of girlfriend fantasy that includes holding hands and walking down the street. (I'm not mocking you - that's a perfectly normal and cool thing to want). But sometimes the people we get involved with don't fit into our scripts - and it doesn't mean there's something wrong with them.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:29 PM on February 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


By way of anecdote, I once dated a girl who sounds very similar (both with respect to hand-holding in particular and affection in general). Turns out that, no, she just wasn't that into me.
posted by planet at 9:32 PM on February 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: I suppose I should add... I am used to girls who are really, really into me. It is clear that they like me. Not so clear with her. I took her out with 4 of my guy friends, and she says to me, "keep me away from this person, he is cute".

So she tells me when other boys are cute... I'm not used to that. If I'm on a date with someone, and I find another girl attractive, I keep my mouth shut. She is all about honesty, but she is *TOO* honest with me.

She teases me about other boys, and even my best friend... and it was an issue, but she likes me, and I played the same games back with her to get a firm answer on that. I think maybe what she was doing was in response to her thinking my ego is huge or her own insecurities. I know she likes me, but the games she played and the overall lack of affection... I just feel like it's a dealbreaker. At the same time I think I don't really understand her and she acts the way she acts because she likes me but she's scared.
posted by banished at 9:38 PM on February 4, 2010


Blecch, I hate holding hands. They get all sweaty, and it makes me feel claustrophobic and leashed.
posted by ErikaB at 9:40 PM on February 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


If holding hands in public is a hugely big deal for you and she won't do it then, sure, end the relationship. If (as your follow-up response seems to suggest to me) it's the excuse you're looking to end a relationship that's not the sort you're used to, then, sure, end the relationship - but don't kid yourself that it's all about the hand-holding.
posted by bunglin jones at 9:46 PM on February 4, 2010


You know some people just aren't touchy-feely, right? I love my husband a lot, but we rarely hold hands. It's just not something we (ok, I) do much.

But it's not clear from what you've written if you're actually dating (or else how could you dump her) or if you're in some weird "does she like me or not" stage. Seems like you might want to clarify that before you obsess too much about whether or not her touchy-affectionateness levels are a deal breaker.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:47 PM on February 4, 2010


If you like a girl, you shouldn't dump her, even if she has quirks.

Gotta disagree here. The worst ones were the ones I was incredibly attracted to. If you aren't getting what you want, move on. You can really like someone, but if they don't have the same thing going on, then it can actually hurt, even when they are being into you but at a much lower level.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:00 PM on February 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


The 10 Percent / 100 Percent Rule

If she seems to be crazy 10 percent of the time, she is 100 percent crazy and is not a valid choice for dating and/or relationships.

Many men will overlook signs of deep-seated neuroses, for various reasons (e.g. the sex is good, she laughs at your jokes, your mom/friends like her, she's got a great ass).

You need to attune yourself to these warning signs. Observe the 10 Percent / 100 Percent Rule. If you catch yourself thinking things like, "She's sure is quirky," or "What the fuck was that all about?", you need to get out, fast.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:11 PM on February 4, 2010 [34 favorites]


Yes. Life is too short to deal with this kind of very basic mismatch. It's no fun getting stuck in a relationship where you're always negotiating boundaries, trying to find some kind of match in affection-levels, and feeling bad half of the time when she's not as into you as you are into her---or at least, isn't showing it, which is what counts.
posted by Jacen Solo at 10:13 PM on February 4, 2010


Eh I know lots of people who are just incredibly uncomfortable with showing affection in public. I'm not terribly comfortable with it myself, but to a lesser degree than what you describe. I have plenty of female friends who wouldn't want to hold hands in public, so I don't think it's that weird.

Honestly, it's not the hand holding, but the checking your friends out, "honesty" that seems a bit manipulative, and the general coldness that seems to really be the problem here.
posted by whoaali at 10:27 PM on February 4, 2010


It is clear that they like me. Not so clear with her. I took her out with 4 of my guy friends, and she says to me, "keep me away from this person, he is cute".

I hate to be the one to say this, but it doesn't sound you are actually, really... dating. It sounds like she likes hanging out but as you yourself said, "isn't that into you." Sorry.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:32 PM on February 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


Seconding this. You're the only one who is dating here, she is actually giving you loud and clear signals that you're not together. Which is perfect as you want to break up anyway!
posted by Jubey at 10:42 PM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


You say you're "pretty convinced" that she's into you. Ask yourself this: who convinced you? Did you do it, or did she?
posted by clockzero at 11:11 PM on February 4, 2010


It seems like your ego is bruised by her not being exactly like other people you've dated and for being more independent and less outwardly affectionate. And also being very direct and honest. Are those all things you can't live with? Then end things, but make sure you're not just doing it because you feel small.

You say things like "mentioning her shortcomings" and tag this post with "crazy". Both of those things make you sound insecure.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:38 PM on February 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe you have clammy hands. I hate clammy hands. Clammy hands, to me, is a dealbreaker.

Some people just dislike holding hands. It makes them feel leashed, sometimes they gesticulate a lot and hand-holding effectively mutes them, or heck, they may naturally be clumsy and need both hands to maintain balance. Whatever it is, why haven't you asked her directly?

The way you tagged this "crazy" and the way you talk about her in your followup paints you as someone who is desperately trying to paint her as the villain. Are you really that into her? Then compromise on some things. If you aren't, move on. No girl deserves someone who can't handle them being honest.
posted by Mizu at 11:51 PM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think you should admit to yourself that this isn't about the 'hand-holding' and is more about what you admitted in your follow up reply.

I mean - 'her shortcomings?' Jeez, that is a very telling sentence mate. She sounds to me like a girl with an independent spirit, not the doe-eyed doormat that you seem to want her to be.

If you need to break up over this... sure.. do it. Everyone has their ideal type, and if someone isn't fulfilling your needs, then do it.

But be man enough to admit the real reason why it is happening.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 1:30 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Chiming in on I also hate hand-holding, even with someone I love. It just bugs me more as a sensory thing.
posted by dzaz at 2:17 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like any other relationship issue, it's a big deal if you feel like it's a big deal. You brought it up to her and she's making an effort to be more affectionate, so I'm not really sure how else you want her to respond. Sounds like she's probably used to being pursued rather than pursuing someone, so maybe she's never had to try before. It might take time for the two of you to settle on an amount of affection that you both find acceptable.

The stuff about flirting with other people in your presence would bother me, too. You don't mention whether you've discussed this with her. If not, it's probably worth bringing up... if you tell her that it makes you uncomfortable and she seems unconcerned with your feelings, that should probably be the dealbreaker.

(As an aside, I totally disagree with Cool Papa Bell's 10%/100% rule. I'd be much more worried about someone who never acted crazy.)
posted by arianell at 2:58 AM on February 5, 2010


I'm reading this as follows: this girl has low self-esteem. Already you've taken an inventory of her shortcomings, pointing out to her the various ways in which she doesn't meet your expectations. She probably thinks you're a bit of an asshole and, whilst her low self-worth means that she'd be unlikely to take the big, scary step of dumping you, her body language is saying that she doesn't want you to touch her.
posted by essexjan at 3:30 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think maybe what she was doing was in response to her thinking my ego is huge ...

That's the first thing that I thought. Reading your post and followup, plus the "crazy" tag... gave me the impression that you're a wee bit arrogant. It sounds like she's trying to bring you down a notch (her remark about you're friend being "cute" is further evidence).

If you're the type that struts around in front of your friends with your girl hanging all over you and tend to treat your girlfriends like possessions to be shown off rather than equals, she's probably not cool with that and this is her way of showing it. Maybe she's observed you with previous girlfriends and wants to make it clear that she's not like that.

Or, maybe she's just reserved or doesn't like holding hands. You haven't really given enough information about either of your personalities to tell. It's certain that both of you need to learn to communicate better. And I don't mean YOU giving HER a breakdown of her "shortcomings"; sit down and have a honest heart-to-heart conversation. Ask her what YOU could be doing to improve the relationship. And listen.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 4:17 AM on February 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


we cant answer this question until you tell us how long you have been going out.
posted by majortom1981 at 4:27 AM on February 5, 2010


I would like to put in a word for pro-hand-holding. I think it's incredibly romantic. If two people have a basic difference as demonstration of affection, that seems a big mismatch. I would advise the OP to seriously examine this relationship, its chances, his expectations, etc.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:39 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just not understanding the question, I'm afraid. I remember being 12 and people holding hands with each other in the halls at school was the biggest deal in the world, and in many cases the sole component of "going together". If you are not 12, and your relationship is more sophisticated than two 12 year olds "going together" then what on earth is the importance of holding hands?

Also, I'm assuming Cool Papa Bell's advice works equally well when the genders are reversed. Right?
posted by hydropsyche at 5:56 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had a delightful 12-year relationship with a lady whose few faults included a disinclination to show affection in public. Never seemed like a big deal to me.

(On the other hand, my 10/100% rule is the opposite -- if she doesn't seem crazy at least 10% of the time, I get hella bored.)
posted by runehog at 5:59 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Should I dump her? Yeah. I'm old and cantankerous and these kinds of games aren't something I'm willing to tolerate any more -- either like me unreservedly or stop wasting my time. Affection's important to me, withholding it a sign something fundamental is wrong.

Should you dump her? Well, you sound young (really naively young, in fact) and into playing head games with her, and she seems to like doing the same with you. You'll break up eventually because (a) you sound like you're kind of a dick to her, and (b) she's not that into you, and you probably need to experience what that's like so you don't keep tripping up over your ego in life. But you might as well enjoy the moment until then.
posted by majick at 6:06 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, if no one who acted crazy 10% or more of the time were eligible to be in a relationship, we'd be living in a pretty lonely world! If everyone actually followed that rule, I'm afraid the human race would go extinct.

Anyway ... to repeat what majortom1981 and I said, this question can't be properly answered unless we at least know how long you've been together. The answer may be very different depending on if you've been together a week or a month or a year or what. As it stands, we don't have a concrete sense of the situation, which is why this thread has sprung so many chatty offshoots about "well I like holding hands" and "well I don't like holding hands" and "don't date anyone quirky" and "no, quirks are great" and so on.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:22 AM on February 5, 2010


The 10 Percent / 100 Percent Rule

If she AskMetaFilter answers seems to be crazy 10 percent of the time, she AskMetaFilter is 100 percent crazy and is not a valid choice for dating advice and/or relationships information.

See how that works? Caveat emptor.

As some others here have said in different ways, it's possible that PDAs and kissing connote for her a level and quality of intimacy that she's not comfortable with--with you--yet or possibly ever. At the very least, there seems to be a big emotional investment imbalance in your relationship, with you on the side of the equation that apparently you're not used to being on. It's good that you're beginning to recognize it while you still have a chance to head off more damage than a slightly bruised ego.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:26 AM on February 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


> ""keep me away from this person, he is cute".

Assuming you are referring to another male (not yourself).. then this girl is most definitely playing games with you. The phrase "keep me away from this person, he's cute" is basically her saying "I don't trust myself/cannot control my attraction towards certain people, so I better keep my distance". It's the same kind of excuse females use when they say: "I've had my heart broken before because I fall in love to easily, so now I keep far away from anyone I like" ... and thats why she's not holding hands with you. (or atleast, thats my impression.. I could totally be wrong)

I agree with some of the other answers here.. the entire situation feels like a mess of young, inexperienced, naive game playing.

If hand holding is important to you .. then yes, dump her. You can't force someone to hold your hand, you can't force someone (if she's not yet ready) to be comfortable holding your hand.. and you can't force someone to work through their issues faster than those issues would naturally resolve themselves. Those 3 things being true - you should look for a female who is ready, who does want to hold your hand and who will be more compatible with you. There are plenty of them out there.
posted by jmnugent at 7:43 AM on February 5, 2010


I just feel like it's a dealbreaker.

If that's how you feel, then it's a dealbreaker. We don't have a better insight into your psyche than you do.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:01 AM on February 5, 2010


I'm pretty convinced this girl likes me a lot, and after mentioning her shortcomings it seems like she really TRIED to be more affectionate. But at the same time, she isn't very good at showing that she likes me. She doesn't often go for the kiss, or tell me to come over (I'm always inviting myself).

...

the games she played and the overall lack of affection... I just feel like it's a dealbreaker. At the same time I think I don't really understand her and she acts the way she acts because she likes me but she's scared.
If something is a dealbreaker to you, then it is a dealbreaker. Stop spending so much time trying to figure out how she feels and spend some time thinking about how you feel. The best you can do is tell her, "When you do X and Y, it makes me feel Z" and see if she changes. If she doesn't, there's nothing you can do. You can't know what's going on insider her head, but she certainly acts like she's not that interested in you. It sounds as though the process of getting attention and affection from her is like pulling teeth.
At the same time I think I don't really understand her
Here's another problem: it sounds like you're still in a place in life where when a bunch of red flags go up, you think to yourself, "hm, I wonder what that's about? I should keep hanging around to figure this all out." That frequently doesn't goes well. You need to learn to trust your instincts. She's not a puzzle to be figured out. She's a person whose presence in your life either makes you happy or makes you frustrated.
posted by deanc at 8:16 AM on February 5, 2010


She teases me about other boys, and even my best friend... and it was an issue, but she likes me, and I played the same games back with her to get a firm answer on that.

Yes, this is a dealbreaker. If somebody you're dating makes you feel bad on a regular basis, it's bad. If somebody you're dating goads you into hurtful gameplaying, or otherwise makes you feel like you have to play games, then you're not good for each other. You should make each other feel like better people, not worse people. You should want to make each other happy; you shouldn't want to emotionally hurt each other or one-up each other out of insecurity.

I just feel like it's a dealbreaker. At the same time I think I don't really understand her and she acts the way she acts because she likes me but she's scared.

Beware staying in a relationship just because you're trying to figure somebody out or you're making up excuses for their bad behavior. It's a kind of competitiveness or ambition gone wrong. You don't have anything to prove by figuring out WHY she's acting mean or convincing her not to act mean. She's acting mean, and it doesn't matter if she likes you or not, if it's partially your fault or not, or any other reason. Mean = time to move on.
posted by yarly at 8:35 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


She's purposefully trying to break down your ego in public with comments about other guys, and you don't like her because she isn't falling all over you like the other girls usually do, and that's a "shortcoming" of her personality instead of something about her that just is?

Um, you know, people who date usually like AND respect each other, right? It's not a contest over who is more awesome and deserves more recognition of being awesome. Neither of you sound like you're mature enough to be kind to the other person.
posted by slow graffiti at 9:25 AM on February 5, 2010


Super-nthing other guy.

The way to find out if a girl likes you is mainly if she spends time with you.

Or ask her. Ask. Her.
posted by KMH at 9:31 AM on February 5, 2010


Blecch, I hate holding hands. They get all sweaty, and it makes me feel claustrophobic and leashed.

You ain't the only one sister! I don't like holding hands either, I'm not even a fan of elbow holding, and I loath the arm-around-the-shoulder. It feels like being restrained or controlled to me, or it feels too much like I am controlling the other person. It feels like to relationship is so tenuous that I must be held onto or I will fly away. Your ladyfriend might not be articulating this because it is more of a subconscious discomfort. Don't get me wrong, I like romantic touching, but not the constant annoyance of someone uncreatively hanging on to me.

Hands are also really gross. Have you considered what you've touched today, and what else has come in contact with those surfaces, she may not want to hold your hand because your hands are unappealing.

Instead of holding hands at random, possibly inconvenient times, for no apparent reason but to show off that you have someone's hand in your possession, may I suggest hand massages and eye-looking when no one else is nearby and paying attention to y'all.

and no baby, you can not play with my hair while I talking to a friend.
posted by fuq at 10:17 AM on February 5, 2010


I just want to chime in as another person who does not like hand holding. It kind makes me feel like a child lining up to go on a field trip, or like I am being led around. It has nothing to do with the PDA aspect either, I wouldn't want to hold hands sitting on the couch but I would not have a problem kissing my boyfriend on the street.
posted by heliotrope at 10:36 AM on February 5, 2010


Why don't you ask her instead of being all weird and high schooly about this? She may just not find holding hands comfortable, as many people pointed out (I find it incredibly uncomfortable to hold hands while walking with someone who is much taller than me). Seems like you never bothered to find out why, just assumed she's crazy, which is childish. Come to think of it, maybe that is why she doesn't want to hold your hand.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:04 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell suggest you should dump an S.O. who is crazy. This only works if you can define crazy. I think OP's question includes the question of whether or not wanting to hold hands is crazy and most people here agree that not wanting to hold hands is not crazy.
posted by y6t5r4e3w2q1 at 4:27 PM on February 5, 2010


most people here agree that not wanting to hold hands is not crazy.

I disgree, because you can't just look at this issue in isolation from everything else. Not-holding-hands is part of a larger pattern here, and it's not a good one.

OP: Seriously, get out. She may or may not be crazy, which is for the you to decide. But she's certainly showing all the signs of just not being into you, and you're correctly sensing that not holding hands is merely one pixel of a big empty picture.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:04 PM on February 5, 2010


Hand-holding for me is nice for about 30 seconds, then it feels weird and clammy. I still like it occasionally though. Have you tried talking to her about what position your hands are in? I'm talking about intertwined fingers vs not. It can make a huge difference in comfort if she has small delicate hands and you have big, meaty fingers.

Aside from the hand-holding thing, which really shouldn't be a huge deal (imho), you guys should break up because you are bringing out rude, manipulative behavior in one another. It doesn't sound like either of you respects the other. Maturity is probably a big factor in this.

In a good relationship you act to bring out the best in each other, not the worst.
posted by marble at 5:30 PM on February 6, 2010


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