Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


10 Tips to Increase the T.E.N.D.E.R.N.E.S.S. in Your Relationship

We all want to feel some tenderness come our way.

When tenderness is removed from a relationship, with it goes a sense of security. What takes its place is the reminder that our humanness will somehow evaporate in its absence. Here are ten tips for tenderness that will help you to keep it.

T - Tender actions mean being gentle with the ones you love. Many people resort to "brutal honesty," and that can make it impossible for someone who is in a sensitive place to hear what is being said.

E - Emotional communication truly comes from the heart, with no thought of winning or taking control. If you've had a rough time, be patient and constant. Give all you can, and trust that your overtures will be returned.

N - Notice how your mate is feeling. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own mini-dramas that we don't even notice when the person we love is feeling hurt or overwhelmed. A kind word at the right time can make the difference between a good day and a bad one.

D - Develop a code, something that only the two of you share: a secret way of touching, a special word that means "I love you," or a look that says everything. These are the things that make a relationship.

E - Easy does it. Anyone who has ever had a bruise knows it stays tender for a while. If you've hurt one another, go slowly and be caring as you search for a way to meet in the middle and heal your wounds.

R - Respond with consideration rather than condemnation. It's easy to make the other person wrong, but when it's someone you love, you're actually chipping away at the foundation of your relationship.

N - Never be mean to your love. If couples would refrain from doing damage to each other's self-worth, there would be a major drop in the divorce rate. I would like nothing better than to be put out of business as a marriage counselor because there are too many happy couples.

E - Entice your partner to be romantic. Set the mood as early in the day as possible. If you want to have a romantic evening, it's best to begin before you get out of bed in the morning.

S - Sympathy isn't a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it is a symbol of your willingness to connect with your mate in a way that he or she can find nowhere else in the world.

S - Safety is an important part of making your partner feel more comfortable being tender with you. Many people are afraid that their offerings of compassion will be thrown back in their faces, a fear that makes it seem safer to withhold tender actions.

The song "Love Me Tender" didn't become a classic just because Elvis sang it. We all want to feel that emotion come our way. If you've avoided this level of intimacy or withheld it, it's time to reconsider your actions. Life is so short, let yourself give and feel at a level that will make you glad to have been alive.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today