I wish we could figure this out. It is one of the things I struggle with most in parenting Rob: he rejects affection, like hugs and kisses. If you have ever read the book The Five Love Languages, then you will understand when I say that my “love language” is physical touch. You can tell me all day that you love me, you can shower me with gifts and do nice things for me; but if you won’t hug or kiss me, or let me hug and kiss you, I don’t really feel loved. So Rob’s rejection of social touch has been really hard for me over the years.
Rob’s love language is receiving gifts, probably because they are tangible. So I try to make it a point to get little things for him often, just out of love: a candy bar or an interesting magazine, coupons for sports equipment, etc. He tends to want to do the same for me; but he is learning that with me, a hug and an “I love you” goes a long way.