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When Do You Feel Comfortable Holding Hands?

When Do You Feel Comfortable Holding Hands?
Victor Cruz & Karrueche Tran

By Veronica Wells

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across an image of Karrueche Tran and Victor Cruz holding hands. For some reason the image caught me off guard. For several reasons really. One, I thought Karrueche was still dating Quavo, and Victor Cruz was still with the mother of his child. And most importantly, the two were holding hands. 

I know that on the spectrum of things two people can do with their body parts, holding hands is ranked pretty low on the scale. Still, the image made me wonder. Have they been together long enough to feel comfortable holding hands? Which then made me wonder if I was tripping. To me, the idea of holding hands is intimate, it’s a joining, an interlocking and a public declaration of your union. I can’t remember the exact moment but I know it took a bit of time before I felt comfortable holding my boyfriend’s hand in public. Not because I didn’t want to send a message of oneness just yet but also, generally, when a man and woman hold hands, the man kind of takes the lead, he steers and guides. I’m sure this will sound dramatic to some, but I didn’t feel comfortable being led by someone I didn’t know and therefore couldn’t trust. And I know obviously other people don’t place that much stock or value on the display.

So I decided to ask other people at what point in their relationships did they feel comfortable and whether or not it represented something deeper for them.

The responses varied.

Alicia shared that she held hands with her husband on their second date but admitted that holding hands with someone you’re not entirely feeling does make you feel trapped. There was something to that trapped thing. Another friend shared that she came back from her first date visibly disturbed as she recounted the man reaching over to hold her hand as they sat in the movie theater. I knew where she was coming from. Too much, too soon.

Other people spoke about holding hands when the circumstances called for it.

Stacy said her second date with a man took place at a packed club, with music blaring. Throughout their night together, her date held her hand, guiding her through the room. It was a gesture she could appreciate, a sign of chivalry. With another man, Stacy talked about holding hands (inside), after years of G-chat messages, texts and phone calls.

Inside? When I first posed the question about hand holding, I didn’t think about the distinction between holding hands inside vs outside, but my friend Opal was able to put it into perspective. 

“I’m not really big on PDA (Public Displays of Affection)…I appreciate it more in private. I like holding hands in bed. I think it has to do with my comfort levels. I’m way more extroverted and open at home. I would say I feel comfortable doing it when I’ve had vulnerable conversations with the person.”

Then I asked my mom. And like with most learned behaviors, I could trace my thoughts on hand holding back to her. First, as an aside, she mentioned that when she and my father first started dating, he didn’t like to hold hands because he didn’t want anyone to know his business. (Considering my parents met and began dating when they worked together, I could see how this would be an issue.)

Thankfully, his hesitancy wasn’t a problem for my mom either. “I didn’t want to do any of that until I was sure of a man’s feelings for me. All of that is putting yourself out there and you just don’t know.”

Ultimately, my conversations confirmed what I already knew to be true, we’re different. Everything ain’t for everybody, and we all move on our own timetables.

When do you feel comfortable holding hands? Does it represent something deep and intimate for you?
When Do You Feel Comfortable Holding Hands?
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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