While she found the idea of hugging her son "repulsive", she had no qualms about getting physically affectionate with her partner
Growing up many of us have been cuddled by our parents as kids and this has an impact on our lives well into adulthood. However, this may not be the case always, as the idea of "love language" varies from person to person, and reflects how they were brought up, which they carry forward to the next generation. Or, some actively choose to break that cycle (if there was not much physical affection from parents when they grew up) to ensure that their kids don't feel that they have missed out.
One mother took to Reddit to explain why she does not hug her child despite her son saying that it bothered him when she didn't. She wanted to know if she was the asshole when she shared her story on the AITA community. The mom (OP) wrote: Ever since I (F37) was 5 I have generally hated physical contact with most other people. I refused to hug or kiss my parents, didn't hold hands with family /friends, etc, hate maintaining eye contact and the like, I think my parents were bothered about it as I grew up but just accepted it and it really wasn't an issue.
She explained that physical affection made her uncomfortable. She continued: I have always hated the custom of hugging friends when we meet up and I detest cheek kissing. I know this is weird but it makes me physically uncomfortable, but I only have a small circle of close friends who have known me forever and its not been an issue.
After she became a mother at 27, she used to cuddle her son aplenty and loved him to bits. But when he became a toddler, there was not much physical contact. She wrote: I obviously love him thoroughly and as a baby he had plenty of cuddles etc. But since he was a toddler I haven't really had much physical contact with him. I find it uncomfortable (don't know how else to put it.. I have a revulsion?). For the most part I didn't think he was bothered, he has plenty of attention, I'm just not cuddly with him. (we have private handshakes /fist bumps etc).
But it came to the OP's attention that her son was bothered by it. The rest of his family cuddles him with the exception of her. The mother tried to explain but wasn't sure her 10-year-old son would comprehend, and reasoned that she wasn't "wired" that way. However, here's where things take a surprising turn. She even went on to admit that she could be the asshole given that she had no issues being physically affectionate with her partner. She noted, With my partner, I am always snuggled up, we are very close physically (and I always have been with sexual partners) but to me physical contact is only for one person, the one I am with, anyone other than that ant it feels wrong/awkward/horrible to me. I'm wondering whether I shouldn't show so much physical affection in front of my son.
She also confessed that her mother believes that she is indeed an asshole. She added that her mother told her to either hug my son as much as my partner or keep physical contact with my partner strictly private. And that I should just "get over it" and put up with feeling uncomfortable hugging my son because my feelings do count when it comes to that kind of situation. She also went on to clarify that her son is not touch starved as one would believe. She wrote: I do not starve my son of physical contact. He often lies with his legs over me, I tickle him, we have secret handshakes, I hug him. I also explain my feelings to him and we discuss his feelings. I just don't feel comfortable cuddled up face to face with him.
Most Redditors also felt the same way, too. B_A_M 2019 wrote: I'm on the spectrum so touch isn't something that's incredibly easy for me, but I have kids and I suck it up. My nine year old still wants to snuggle every morning and night and I damn well let him. Sheesh op. Fatmama93 concurred. They added: I hate being touched 95% of the time but I enthusiastically hug and cuddle my children because they NEED it. Resident Ladder opined: The fact that OP shows a large amount of physical affection to her partner suggests that it’s not all physical affection that makes her uncomfortable. She can’t be too “repulsed” if she is so snuggly with her partner. She’s getting her need for physical affection met, while refusing to provide that for her son.