Life can be pretty rough at any age, and by the time most people have hit their twenties, they've experienced some pretty harsh realities. So it makes sense to have some walls up in a relationship at one time or another. Everyone has baggage, and some more than others. And while you shouldn't go into a partnership with your eyes wide shut, it's also important to let down some of those walls as you two grow closer. The real problem occurs when you've gotten used to your little bubble of safety and are too afraid to open up. Eventually, those protective walls you've put up may be the difference between a successful relationship or a breakup. And if you never let them go, your partner won't truly have a chance to experience the real you.
But the truth is that the real you is awesome and deserves some attention. Of course, it's easier said than done to open up, but the benefits outweigh the risks tremendously. Being a relationship expert and life coach, I've seen how many people can miss out on opportunities due to their insecurities and fears. I'm not going to lie, being in a relationship is as vulnerable as you can get. However, if you push past your apprehension you can make it out to the other side full of deep and true love and a connection unlike any other. Here are the signs that you have a wall up with your partner.
1. Your Partner Hasn't Ever Seen You Cry
I'm not saying you have to be giving your significant other a Lauren Conrad, The Hills type of dramatic sob fest every night, but you shouldn't have to hide your tears, either. If you have ever gone into the other room to cry so your partner doesn't see you, try letting him or her hold you while you cry. Trust me, it will do wonders for your relationship and make you closer than ever.
2. Eye Contact During Sex Makes You Feel Uncomfortable
If you are frantically trying to avoid any eye contact during sex, you might need to open up your eyes to the fact that you don't feel comfortable enough to be truly intimate with your partner. Looking at your partner while having sex can be a very vulnerable experience, and something that is difficult for some. While some people crave eye-contact, others get nervous at just the thought of it. But if you find yourself being the latter group, you might want to figure out exactly why you can't feel comfortable.
3. Talking About Feelings Is A No-No
You can talk about the Kardashians all day, but when it comes to your own personal feelings, you keep quiet. If you find yourself having a difficult time talking about how you feel with your lover, this is generally a bad sign. Your partner should be the one person who you can talk about anything with, and that definitely, 100 percent includes your feelings. In order for a relationship to grow, you have to start opening up about these feelings — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
4. Your Past Stays In The Past
I know that it's sometimes not healthy to bring up past issues or focus on things that are no longer in the present. However, that doesn't mean you don't should hide parts (or all of) your past, either. The past has made you who you are today and it's crucial for your partner to hear some of your stories, even if the thought of that scares you. I know some things are hard to talk about because they seem embarrassing, shameful, or scary, but opening up will help create a future with a more connected relationship. Trust me.
5. You Haven't Sexually Explored With Your Partner
Opening up with your significant other doesn't just mean talking; it also means being open to exploring things in the bedroom. In a partnership, both of you should be exploring what you like sexually, and feeling comfortable to do so without judgment. If you're afraid to open up under the sheets, it's probably about time you communicate that to your partner. Start out slowly and see where the fun takes you.
6. You Have A Hard Time Expressing How You Feel Towards Your Partner
If you aren't that great about opening up in general, you might struggle with words of affirmations. Telling your other half how much you care for them and how much you love them is crucial in filling up their love tank. Just as you want to feel special and loved, so does he or she. Start out slowly with the compliments and you'll see the positive reaction.
7. You Don’t Show The Bad
You should be able to show the not-so-pretty parts of yourself to your partner after a little bit of time together. You don't have to necessarily fart in front of one another 24/7 (although, duh— that's fine too), but you should be able to not wear makeup in front of him or her or just being your weirdest self without feeling awkward or self-conscious. If you're still pretending your "perfect" with your partner, it's time to figure out why that is.
8. You Don't Want To Introduce Him/Her To Your Family And Friends
Having your boyfriend or girlfriend meet "your people" can be very scary. It means you have truly let them into your life. When you imagine them meeting the closest people in your life, the "what ifs" come to your mind. And it's easy to avoid it altogether. Unfortunately, your partner probably won't feel so great knowing that you are hiding him or her. If you know it's time for an introduction, but you're hesitant, there's something else going on.
9. You Like To Sweep Things Under The Rug
Having a wall up means that you probably don't want to deal with any problems head on. Yes, real communication is scary, and sweeping things under the rug is much easier. However, the latter never works out in the long haul. The longer you keep sweeping all that mess under the rug, the dirtier the floor gets, so to speak.
10. You Don't Ask For His Or Her Opinion
Having a wall up means not letting your other half in at all, no matter what. Therefore, you don't involve your partner in your decisions even in the most minimal way. When people are so used to being independent and doing things on their own, it's hard to make that shift of entering a partnership. However, being in a relationship means being on a team, and including your partner in your decisions (namely, decisions that affect them in some way) is important.
11. You Don't Ever Engage In Social Media PDA
Having a wall up isn't just confined to "real" life — it can also be in social media as well. I'm not saying you have to be that couple that posts about each other all day, every day. But a little Instagram love and Facebook affection makes some partners feels loved and, most importantly, not hidden.
Having a wall up is common in relationships and is by no means an immediate sign of an imminent breakup. But if you want to keep your relationship going strong for as long as possible, it's best to nip these habits in the bud sooner rather than later.
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