If your partner doesn't feel comfortable when the two of you are kicking back together, that is obviously an issue. If this is the case, you might not even be fully aware of the fact that it is going on — so what are the signs your significant other doesn't feel feel comfortable around you? It is so awesome when your partner feels super relaxed around you — they will discuss anything with you, they tell you secrets without shame and they all around let you do you, for starters. But when a mate feels uncomfortable when you are near, there are plenty of flags that can give away their feelings and let you know that there is a problem and something needs to change.
I spoke with a group of dating, love and relationship experts about this phenomenon, and they were happy to spell out the ways you can tell a partner isn't feeling comfy-cozy around you, and what you can do make sure you aren't missing the signals. There are plenty of things you can do if your boo is not completely at ease when the two of you are together, but first — here are nine ways to tell this is happening, straight from the experts.
1. They Won't Let You See Them First Thing In The Morning
"Partners who jump out of bed in the morning and run to the bathroom before you have a chance to see them are sending a very clear sign that they're not comfortable enough around you to let you see them when they look less than their best," relationship coach and psychic medium Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Why Good People Can't Leave Bad Relationships , tells Bustle. Unfortunately, we've all been issued a memo from society that says we look best when we're all made up, which just isn't true.
"It isn't necessarily a sign that you're doing something wrong," she says. "It's more a sign that this person has self-esteem issues or body image issues." Though this is pretty normal, be sure to do everything you can to make your partner feel at ease in the morning.
"When we can let our guards down and allow ourselves to be seen in a less than perfect light, then a relationship enters a new phase of comfort and ease. This usually just happens naturally, and there's no need to force the issue," she says. "One day your partner will be just too tired to jump out of bed, and just be sure on that morning to cuddle up to your partner and let him or her know just how great it is to wake up with him or her nestled safely in your arms." So sweet.
2. They Don't Want To Discuss Certain Topics
"There are certain topics that are off limits, and they do not feel like they can be open with you" about everything, psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "They are more likely to lie to avoid uncomfortable conversations, or conversations that you do not agree upon."
This can't feel good, and one partner having a wall up will leave both of you feeling awful in the end. This probably means they were hurt in the past, and carry some deep emotional baggage. If you bring it up with them when the time is right, you'll have a better chance at working things through — together.
3. They're Trying Too Hard
"Comfort is relative; it can depend upon how they were raised," zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. "However, once they stop trying to impress you, but rather get to know you with no false pretenses, then you know that they are comfortable. In the beginning stages, there is all of that 'peacocking,' where both partners try to show and give their best." This never works for long.
"We are humans and we have faults," Paiva says. "When we are comfortable, we assume that others will see — but accept — the faults. If your partner is not comfortable with you and you sense they are holding back, please do make sure that you are not critical or giving them sarcasm, which is simply anger laced with a smile. In my Zen practice, be it personal or business, I tell all clients that the best gift you can give someone is undivided attention and respect to be themselves — to be heard, to be loved for who they are. If you are struggling with that, trying to improve them, fix them, help them, you might be in love with the idea of them." Let your partner be who they are.
4. They Always Defer To Your Opinion
"Of course, love can lead us to be overly accommodating, and ideally you and your partner share similar tastes in some areas, but if things always seem to go your way, it might be time to step back and reflect on things," marriage and family therapist and relationship expert Esther Boykin tells Bustle. You can tell this is happening if you always get to choose the movie, restaurant, and other options like that; you can also tell if your partner just agrees with you, no matter what you say.
"A healthy partnership should encourage you to be who you are and voice your thoughts, preferences, and desires freely," Boykin says. "When one person feels uncomfortable, they are often reluctant to allow their full selves to be seen. While it can be nice to have such an easygoing partner who lets most things go your way, it's ultimately detrimental to the relationship. A healthy relationship allows both partners to be vulnerable, honest and feel fully accepted for who they are. It's a good idea to address the issue early on. A lack of comfort with one another will only lead to future relationship strife including feelings of resentment and isolation." Speak up if you notice this is happening — before it is too late.
5. They Can't Look You In The Eye
"While some people may be shy or struggle with eye contact, if it is an ongoing issue over time, you may want to ask the person if they feel comfortable," psychologist, image consultant and dating expert Dr. Jennifer Rhodes tells Bustle. The ability to look your partner in the eye is vital, and if your boo has a hard time meeting your eyes, they are likely feeling very uncomfortable. It might just be because they are so into you.
"Sometimes we like someone so much that it triggers some social anxiety," Rhodes says. "Talking about it may decrease the likelihood of a miscommunication." As they say, eyes are the windows to the soul; be sure you're not missing out on an up-close view.
6. They Won't Talk To Their Fam Around You
"If you have been dating for a while and you feel that they refuse to talk freely with their friends and family" when you're around, this is definitely a sign that your partner doesn't feel at ease around you, Stefanie Safran, Chicago's "Introductionista" and founder of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. When you feel like they are being secretive. she says, and not sharing that part of their life with you, they are likely feeling ill at ease. The reasons behind such behavior might vary from relationship to relationship, but if you suspect they're feeling uncomfortable, speak up. After a while, your partner has to feel able to share that part of herself or himself with you.
7. They Have To Put On A Show
"For some, it might mean that they reduce their cussing or clean up their language," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "[Or] this might mean they refuse to take their makeup off." Whatever the case may be, it is a sign of discomfort.
"A lot of times, it means they feel the need to take up the silence in the room," Rogers says. Though it can be fun to be around at first, it's ultimately stressful — and draining. "If your partner feels the need to put on a show to be around you, chances are they don't feel super comfortable yet," she says. Give it time.
8. It's Never Just The Two Of You
"One indisputable sign that your partner does not feel at ease around you is minimal alone time," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. "This is often exhibited by your partner always wanting to do things in groups that most people would prefer to do as a couple." If you're ready to settle in just the two of you at a film and they're inviting the gang every time, this is a sign. No matter what the activity, your partner wants to bring everyone. It may just require a quick talk, but you also may need to go deeper.
"Determining the root cause of the problem and whether it is repairable will determine the viability of this relationship," he says. From there, you'll know what to do.
9. They Never Spend The Night
"If he [or she] wants to go home after the two of you have sex, he [or she] doesn’t feel comfortable just 'being' together," New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. In this situation, "being" isn't enough; it becomes about "doing," — and sex is the way it is expressed.
"Sex is one thing, but sleeping together — sharing a bed, spending an entire night together, and waking up together — is way more intimate than any sex act you can perform," Masini says. When someone has to get up and leave right after sex, she says, you can tell that they are uncomfortable around you. If this is happening, this is a case of discomfort best left behind — not a good scene for anyone.
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