Lately, there’s been a lot of body language analyses being thrust upon famous couples like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Donald Trump and wife Melania. Experts read into the status of relationships based on if and how couples hold hands, stand, or gaze at each other.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, why not look into the love language of handholding? It can be a sign of affection, closeness, or trouble. Not every couple chooses to hold hands, but it is an interesting form of PDA. As discovered in one study, it can also soothe nerves and make a person feel comforted.

What does it say when you hold hands with your beloved in a certain way? Here, we explore the subtle meanings of handholding with your significant other. They don’t necessarily define a relationship, but what you do could definitely be a sending a non-verbal message.

  1. Downward Facing Palm

    When someone grips your hand with theirs in the front, they usually have a dominant presence in the relationship. This gesture could also mean that they are being protective while out in public – especially when men do it. And yes, there is plenty of affection infused into this one.

  2. Locked Fingers

    People who hold hands with their fingers interlocked are passionate and deeply connected to each other. It’s like snuggling with the hands, and like most affectionate forms of handholding, this kind of touching releases oxytocin (aka the “love hormone”) in the brain, elevating compassion and trust between two people.

  3. The One or Few-Finger Hold

    Many times, you’ll see partners holding one another’s pinkies or some other finger. This could mean that one or both have issues with commitment, or they both are in love but want to make a show of their own independence. It’s sweet, but telling.

  4. Loose Grip Handhold

    A relaxed grip by one or both lovers could be a playful form of PDA. However, it can also mean one of them is not really emotionally open and therefore not into connecting hands. Watch for an arch that curves away from you, as that could spell a bit of detachment.

  5. Handhold with a Side of Arm Lock

    You’ve seen it. Different from an arm link where two partners are walking into an event, this could be a display of possessiveness. One person’s arm and shoulder is leaning into her lover’s, while holding his hand. She may also hold his wrist or arm with her free hand, signifying feelings of insecurity or clinginess.

Holding hands has also been shown to lower stress and heart rates in a study by the Journal of Behavioral Health. Romantically speaking, it’s also an intimate act that can tell a person if someone’s really into him/her.

If you’re having trouble reading your mate or a potential love-match, then perhaps the handhold could be a useful barometer for you. Even if this is a vital sign about the status of your relationship, remember that no one knows your bond better than you.

Did you know that handholding styles carried meaning? How do you feel when your sweetheart holds your hand?


Nicole McCance  

Reading Body Language Now