Dear eNotAlone: I have been seeing this guy for about a month now and thing are going great. We have gotten close enough that he started to say good night to me with a kiss on the cheek. It all started out perfectly fine but then it felt like it was taking a turn in the wrong direction, so to speak. I started to feel uncomfortable when he would go in for the kiss and it made me question why he was doing it. Now, every time he goes in for the cheek kiss I'm really unsure of how to act and what to do. I don't feel comfortable continuing it but I don't want it to stop completely either. Do you have any advice on how to handle this situation? Thank you. - Conflicted
* * *
Dear Conflicted, when someone becomes a significant other to you, it is entirely normal to feel expectations and pressure to fulfill certain obligations and rules in the relationship. What is equally clear here is that you don't feel the same level of affection from just a kiss on the cheek. While you don't want to put a definitive end to the kisses all together, you don't feel majorly comfortable with it either.
The first step should be to have a conversation with your partner about the situation. While it does appear awkward at times, discussing feelings with partners is essential for a healthy relationship. The key here is to be honest but kind. Let your partner know that you can't help but feel a little uncomfortable during more intimate gestures such as the cheek kiss, and explain why. Attempt to get to the bottom of why your partner initiated the physical contact and why they may feel differently. Listen when they explain, and attempt to understand the context they may be coming from.
Usually, when two people enter into a new relationship, it can be complicated; not only emotionally but physically as well. It is important to take your time getting to know your partner, including understanding any limitations they may need in physical contact. When I hear that you don't feel like it is platonic but haven't expressed any other problems, chances are your partner might not be aware of how you're feeling or possibly misreading your body language. If this is the case, take notice of your body language in future interactions. Opt for more platonic gestures, such as a hug or a handshake.
Sometimes, when two people engage in a platonic relationship, the lines might be more blurred than usual. However, the fact remains the same. As long as the communication is clear and both parties equally informed of expectations, then the relationship should work out well. Remember that any good relationship is based on mutual respect and trust. Certainly, with that in place you should be able to talk about things such as cheek kissing with ease.