I hate to cuddle. In relationships I’m a hugger not a cuddler. Is that weird? Do I get my lady card revoked? What’s the obsession with cuddling, anyway? Who placed such a high premium on being interlocked with someone else for such a long time?
I’d like to find the first person who was like “Hey, let’s just lay here and hold each other,” yank them aside by the ear and tell them they’ve ruined everything for people like me, who place an importance on personal space.
Cuddling is awful. Unless we’re about to freeze to death or tandem sky-diving I don’t want to be attached to someone else for longer than 60 seconds, tops.
The weekend after my 19th birthday the guy I had been consistently hooking up with for about eight months asked me to spend the weekend at his house because his parents were out of town. So I did. It lasted one night. In the early morning hours of Saturday morning I got dressed and left quietly. I called my mom crying. I felt like I had somehow failed as a person because I just wanted to go sleep in my own bed, in my own space.
The guy was furious and ranted about how my stealth departure made him feel rejected. I tried to explain that I just like my own space but he wasn’t buying it, and for a while, I didn’t believe myself either.
At 19, I chalked it up to never having had an “adult” relationship before and that with time, I would get used to cuddling after sex and in general. The hook up guy eventually became my first super-serious boyfriend. We had sleepovers and he was basically living at my apartment at a certain point and while I got used to him being around a lot, I never got used to the cuddling.
When he would want to fall asleep spooning I would literally pray that he fell asleep immediately because I wanted nothing more than to roll over to my own side of the bed.
For a long time I thought this meant that I was “broken” as a person. I thought it was some real-life manifestation of some deep-seeded psychological aversion to intimacy. I thought it meant I feared commitment. I thought it meant I had those “walls” romantic comedies always wax on about.
I’ve changed a lot since then. Fallen in love, had my heart broken, had some one-night stands, dated some other people, gotten a master’s degree, generally become more comfortable in being myself.
The one thing that’s stayed a constant is that I do not like to cuddle. I love hugs. Kissing is cool. Sex is great. But cuddling is just something I do not enjoy. I get too hot. I get too claustrophobic. I just don’t like it.
Guys used to tell me it was weird. “All girls like to cuddle, it’s like your thing,” one said. Some female friends of mine also suggested it was weird and that, perhaps, I just hadn’t met the guy I wanted to cuddle with yet.
I call bullshit.
I will not be guilted into doing something just because romantic comedies and my friends say it’s normal. If I based my life around movies and my friends’ track records I’d probably be living with some guy I met at a farmer’s market who is trying to open an artisanal mayonnaise shop, reading all night just to get out of cuddling because I’d be too afraid to tell Mr. Mayo that I hate it for fear that he’d think it was weird and then we’d break up.
One day I will meet someone who doesn’t think my aversion to cuddling is weird. One day.
Thanks jakko for the photo!
Caitlin lives in Brooklyn and spends her days practicing random acts of journalism while buying more albums/concert tickets than is financially prudent. She likes lemon water, ring pops, '90s radio on Spotify and tapestries. She tweets about music and being awkward at @ctrembz.
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