What to Do When You Need a Hug

“I need more hugs! I miss being held and kissed,” said Michaela. “Nobody talks about the lack of a physical relationship after a breakup.” When you lose a man you love after a breakup, divorce, or death you aren’t prepared for the loss of physical intimacy and affection.

You miss his hugs, kisses, love and intimate touch. Especially at night when your bed is cold and lonely, or after a long stressful day at work. A physical relationship is one of the sweetest and most necessary parts of life.

True confessions time. For ten years I’ve written articles on my She Blossoms blogs about healing broken hearts, coping when your husband leaves you for another woman, letting go of someone you love, getting over a divorce and coping with a husband’s death. As far as I can recall I haven’t written about dealing with the loss of sex, intimacy, or a physical relationship. This is partly because I haven’t heard my readers say, “I miss sex”! And it’s partly because it hadn’t occurred to me how much we need hugs, kisses, and physical affection in our lives.

Saying that you miss a physical relationship with your husband or boyfriend is difficult – especially if you were in an unhealthy or even abusive relationship. But admitting that sometimes you need a hug and love isn’t just honest and real, it’s healthy.

Missing physical contact is one of the healthiest, most normal responses to a breakup, divorce, or death. But how do you cope with the loss of physical intimacy? What do you do when you need a hug?

How to Get Hugs When You Aren’t in a Relationship

These tips aren’t just for women who feel unlovable after a breakup. They’re for all of us, because we all have times when all we need is a hug! And many of us don’t have physical relationships where hugs are readily accessible.

Remember that the healthiest women need hugs

God created us to be affectionate. Our bodies are literally wired for physical intimacy; hormones such as oxytocin are released when we hug and kiss each other. Babies who aren’t held don’t grow up as healthy as kids who were regularly cuddled. Not being touched is a huge loss for any human being no matter how old, healthy, or emotionally strong they are.

Feeling like you need a hug is a sign that you are in touch with your body and emotions – and that is a good thing! You know what you need and want. You know a physical relationship isn’t the answer to all your problems, but you also know you need to be held and loved. Physical affection is part of a healthy life.

Reflect on the physical relationship you lost

What to Do When You Need a HugWhen you lose someone you love, you lose physical contact. You lose hugs, caresses, nudges, back rubs, tickles, sex, and intimacy. You miss the feeling of his skin touching yours, his hands on your bottom, his lips on your neck. You miss putting your arms around his chest, kissing his body, leaning into him, inviting his body into yours, bringing him pleasure in different ways.

Not being held and kissed is a huge loss after a breakup, divorce or death—especially if you had a good physical relationship. It’s important to face and feel those feelings of loss, to reflect on exactly what you miss about your husband or boyfriend. Some types of hugs and kisses are easily remedied, others require deeper and more physical relationships with men.

Know what type of hug you need

Different women have different physical needs at different stages of life. Some women need a hug, kisses, and to be held daily. Others are happy with a hug a week! Some women hug everyone they meet, stranger or family member. Other women don’t need or want to be hugged by strangers or even close family members.

What type of hugs do you need? A physical relationship is important, but how deep and intimate do you want to get? Take time to consider what type of affection, hugs, physicality, closeness, etc your body yearns for. Start envisioning the type of hugs and kisses and caresses you want. Getting clarity on what you need will help you figure out what to do when you need a hug.

Explore different types of physical relationships

I used to get monthly hour-long massages from a registered therapist, and it was amazing. I loved the physical touch – but I never needed a hug from my massage therapist (or anyone – I’m one of those “non-huggers). I stopped going for massages even though I dream about them daily. Why don’t I go? Because I’m lazy. My massage therapist’s clinic is out of the way. I always say I’ll book an appointment later, but I never do. My husband rubs my back and massages my arm to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome; at this stage of my life that’s the physical contact I need most.

If you’re a woman who needs hugs and touch – and you miss having a physical relationship – consider booking a regular full-body massage from a trained professional. This type of touch doesn’t just release stress and loosen tight muscles, it’ll reduce those “I need a hug” moments that break your heart. You’ll still miss the man you lost, but you’ll be getting some physical touch. This will help heal your heart – even when you miss him like crazy.

Ask for the hugs you need

Learn who you can ask for a hug from, and who is more physically standoff-ish. When you find yourself craving physical affection and touch, ask for a hug from people you trust. Don’t hesitate to speak up for what you need. If someone isn’t a huggy person – like me – don’t take it personally! Some people just don’t need hugs, touches, or affection the way others do.

Plan specific ways to give your body the love you need. Make your physical health a priority now. Book an appointment with a massage therapist today. Have a warm bubble bath. Find ways to receive a professional’s healing touch. Consider discovering what healthy bodywork is. Get a full-body massage, or a manicure and pedicure. Explore different types of healing touch such as hot rock therapy or longitudinal gliding. Consider acupuncture or other types of healing modalities.

Honor your body

missing a physical relationship after a breakupYou may not be in a physical relationship, but you can still have a healthy, happy body. How will you take care of your physical needs? Don’t wait for those “I need a hug” moments of pain and grief! That’s the worst time to look for physical contact, affection, or love. You may make decisions out of desperation – such as sleeping with or committing to a man you don’t love.

Explore your body. Learn what brings you pleasure, what gets the juices flowing and your heart revved up! Massage your head, hands and feet. Let your fingers brush over your skin, gently and lightly. Feel the backs of your knees and the curve of your shoulder. Take a warm bath, pamper your body with pretty soap, moisturizing lotions, and creams. Give yourself the love you need.

How do you feel, and what do you do when you need a hug? Your comments – big and little – are welcome below. How can you take care of your yearning for physical affection and love, even when you’re not in a relationship? If you have tips or advice for others, please share.

I read every comment, but don’t worry. I won’t give advice or tell you what to do. It’s your turn to talk.


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2 thoughts on “What to Do When You Need a Hug”

  1. Hi Laurie,
    Great article!

    We live in an increasingly digital world and I find myself more and more connected online to my job. As such, person to person contact as decreased drastically. But, when I found myself craving and needed physical contact, I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t looking for sex, just a hug. I want to feel embraced, I miss that the most. But how do ask someone for that? A massage is a great idea and I think I’ll try that. Thank you!

  2. Dearest Laurie,
    I have been meaning to write a comment to all your emails but get overwhelmed with emotions as every article you write is so close to my heart.
    Its been nearly 2 years since my husband left me and still I struggle on the inside.
    I know I’m moving forward in many ways and still this dull ache in my heart won’t leave me.
    Sometimes when I feel good as I make changes to my life I think thats it, I’m free, I’m cured and don’t miss him any more I seem to fall back into this sadness that’s so overwhelming. I wish i could stop thinking about him and stop reliving the past all the good times we shared. I then would force myself to think about the breakup to get angry to override the sad feelings. This is always just short lived and a bandage to mask the hurt.

    What also hurt so much how after he left me to go overseas for a whole year he kept writing to me sharing his stories and just keep me there just in case it didnt work out. Of course I could feel that was the case but I lived in hope he would change his mind.
    When he did come back he showed no emotions just wanted to be my friend and I was unable to give him friendship.
    He has since left again 6 month ago and the last thing i remember him saying to me is
    I couldn’t go back to you because of your baggage, meaning my family who lives 4 hours flight time away and im very close to and of course like to visit.
    This hurt is so engraved in my heart that makes me think why would i miss him this is totally crazy.
    Why cant my brain and my heart come to an agreement this is unhealthy and I know it.

    The craving for love and affection is so intense and so is the pain of rejection. I have a little dog like you and share my love with him thats my healer and he loves me unconditional.
    I know you said you don’t give advise but everything you write about is so true and makes me feel normal.
    Thank you you for letting me write to you and I continue to trust that there was a reason for this breakup and I will heal and feel light and free again.