How To Tell When You're Reading Too Much Into A Relationship

I'll be the first to admit, I read too far into things. Spending most of my college career in advanced lit classes, I was basically conditioned to find every nuance, hidden symbol, and piece of figurative language in almost every sentence I encountered. So naturally, when it comes to the world of dating, I have a tendency to take a common conversation over text as a hyperbolic declaration of love just by the way someone wrote 'C u later,' (winky-faced emoji included, of course). Things get pretty damn awkward later when I show up at their house with centerpiece ideas for our wedding. Can you blame me though? These says, there are a slew of hidden messages and mixed signals in dating that often bring out your inner Nancy Drew.

There is a reason they call it a game, after all. That being said, there's still a time and a place to start your sleuthing, and there's always the risk of taking it too far. So how do you know when your keen observations of hidden flirtation morph into reading signals that are not actually there? There are a few ways to tell if you're reading too much into a relationship.

1. Every Text Is A Secret Message To Be Decoded

This could be pretty harmless, but if you start reacting to every text from your crush or partner as if it was a coded message not even Benedict Cumberbatch could decipher, there is something wrong. It's true that a passive 'k' could sometimes speak volumes, but if every word your SO typed had a higher significance, then they should be the next great American novelist. Chances are if they text you asking, 'Do you want pizza for dinner?' they're not trying to profess their love, or worse yet, end the relationship. They just want pizza. And you should say yes to that pizza.

2. You're Using Body Language To Counter What He/She Said

They say actions speak louder than words, but for the most part, actions can be just as deliberate as the words that accompany them. If you've already talked to your partner about moving further in your relationship, and they've made it clear they're not ready, their actions are not telling you differently. No, the way they flipped their hair, or scratched the back of their neck isn't actually an unconscious cue to their need for exclusivity. Take their words as the gospel truth because reading any further into their actions may wind up hurting you later on.

3. Most Conversations With Your Friends Are Spent Evaluating Tiny Details

Our poor friends, but that's what they're there for, right? If you're not talking about the latest menu item at the Cheesecake Factory, you guys are probably discussing the conflicting messages of a handsome stranger who can't seem to get their priorities straight when it comes to being with you. Fortunately, some friends will tell it like it is and tell you to stop obsessing, but others could sit with you for hours to find every hidden hint that serves what you truly want. A conversation, or a look could a mean a million things if you let it, and your friends will only contribute to the endless possibilities.

4. You Start Talking To His/Her Friends About Your Relationship

Who would know what they truly mean better than their closest friends, right? Asking your SO's friends about what he/she said to them about a fight you guys might have had, or if they mentioned whether they finally bought the engagement ring probably isn't the best idea. If it starts to become a habit, and you have that friend on speed-dial, they may start to feel conflicted over sharing details your partner entrusted to them in private. On top of this, they may start to feel you're being a bit obsessive, and could tell your partner about your behavior. Keep your relationship between the two of you. It only takes two to tango. That's what that expression is about, right?

5. You're Picking Fights More Frequently

If you can't help bickering with your partner because you didn't like the “tone” of their last text, you need to reevaluate how you choose your battles. As I said, reading into things means finding things that aren't there, which could lead to anger, and a fight that didn't need to begin in the first place.

6. You're No Longer On The Same Page

Communication is the key to all relationships, as anyone on the planet will tell you. So if you are taking cues from things that are unsaid, you're probably no longer on the same page. Trust that what your partner wants to say they will actually say to you. If you find they are having trouble speaking with you, address the issue in a way that makes them feel comfortable about opening up. Other than that, there's no reason to try and find context clues that aren't actually there.

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