Whether you've been with your spouse for a few years or a few decades, how you interact physically, especially when you're lying in bed together, can speak to certain aspects of your relationship. According to Alexandra Katehakis, Ph.D., marriage and family therapist, how you cuddle with your significant other may be a sign of how able you are to give and receive in a relationship. It may also be emblematic of what kind of lover you are. "Are you generous in your giving or do you prefer taking?" she asks. Of course, it's true that how you cuddle in bed, or fall asleep together, may be for no reason other than it's what's most comfortable to you, but here's what relationship experts say about what the following cuddling styles can signal about a marriage.
Whether you're the big or little spoon, spooning in general is one of the most common cuddling positions, both for couples who've only just met and those who've been married several decades. Laurel House, dating and relationship expert and host of the Man Whisperer podcast, says, "In general, if you prefer to be the little spoon, you like to feel safe, protected and comforted. And then there's the other possibility: your big spoon wants to cuddle and you don't—which is why your body is directed away from him."
The big spoon is usually the position taken on by the larger person in the relationship, most often the male. But if you're the physically smaller person and big spoon is your go-to position, House explains that you may simply be the more affectionate one, or the emotional comforter. "In this position, you are the nurturer, allowing your partner to be vulnerable, and letting him or her know that he or she is safe," our expert explains.
Laying Your Head on Your Partner's Chest
This position is one of affection telegraphing, according to Katehakis. "This position can have a mutuality to it however, the person laying their head on their partner's chest is predominantly in the receptive, more vulnerable, even submissive position," she explains. "It may say that they're feeling needy or wanting to 'fall' into their partner to be taken care of."
Back to Back
The meaning behind this position has much to do with the amount of distance created by you and your partner when you are lying back to back. "Being on opposite sides of the bed with your backs to each other can be a sign of disconnection or disinterest if it's the predominant style of relating in bed," says Katehakis. "Back-to-back spooning, where both parties buttocks are touching, is a way to stay connected while falling asleep while knowing the other is there." This, she explains, lets both parties know that they care about each other."
Intertwining Your Legs
"When you are cuddling face to face, chest to chest, and intertwined legs, is considered the 'honeymoon cuddle' because it's a sign of being able to get enough of each other," says House. "More than touching, you feel the need to entangle because you are that crazy about each other." Of course, your main priority is to get some sleep, but your desire to be intertwined means that you want to feel connected to your spouse in some way. "Maintaining some contact, as little as it may be, shows a deep love for each other," adds House.