Ah, love: Beautiful, exciting, exhilarating — and sometimes not so great, if you don't feel like you can truly kick back and relax with your partner. The signs you're uncomfortable around your partner vary, but they all have one thing in common, which is that anyone who can't totally chill with their partner will feel anxious and worried about some facet or facets of their relationship.
But of course, there are specifics. I spoke with nine relationship professionals — dating experts, psychologists, authors of books about navigating relationships, and the like — about the exact causes and conditions behind feeling the need to keep yourself from your partner and not wholly give yourself to the partnership. That's OK: You don't have to feel 100 percent relaxed and cozy at all times with everyone, and if you've been dating for only a few months, there's no way you're going to be able to feel comfy in every situation, nor would that make sense — every aspect of relationships takes time.
From not feeling ready to expose the things you think your partner might judge you about — credit card bills, certain friendships — to not being able to trust them unconditionally, here are nine ways you can tell you're not completely comfortable in your relationship yet.
1. You Tiptoe Around
"If you feel a need to hide certain things — shopping habits, credit card bills, certain friendships or certain subjects — you may not be comfortable," Stefanie Safran, Chicago's "Introductionista" and founder of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. Though you might be an impulsive shoe-buyer or have a friend your partner doesn't like, there's no reason to hide such things — relationships are best when you let your partner fully see you. You might be hiding things like this because you're worried about their opinion, she says. Might as well find out now — and if it is, deal with it.
2. You're Censoring Yourself
"You're monitoring actions that wouldn't hurt your partner if they were executed," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "For example, things like not taking off your makeup, fully speaking your mind or sharing your opinions" are all signals that you're not able to let your partner see you for who you really are. Though it can be hard to fully express yourself, let it rip. If your mate doesn't like the real you, it's better to know about it now.
3. You Can't Breathe Around Them
"You get home — or away from your partner — and exhale," New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. "Not just with your breath, but your entire body." Though we all feel anxious sometimes, if you feel anxiety mostly when you're with your partner, this is a very telling sign.
"If your anxiety abates, you feel a cloud lifting and you feel freer and full of possibility when you’re separate from your partner, it’s because you’re just not that comfortable with your partner," she says. "Heed the signal! This may be because your partner is oppressive — or because you’re not comfortable in your own self. Either way, it’s an opportunity to explore the discomfort and see if there are changes you can make in your own behavior — or if you’re just not a good match with this partner." Be open to possibility, and promise yourself that you'll honor these feelings, rather than ignoring them.
4. You Are Worried About Being Judged
"One sign you aren’t comfortable around your partner: You fear being judged," Marina Sbrochi, IPPY award-winning author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life tells Bustle. She says there are two scenarios in this situation. "[In the first,] there is no evidence to support this fear, and yet you fear it." Like Masini, Sbrochi says that if you feel this way, the answer is within. "You aren’t comfortable with your partner because you aren’t comfortable with yourself. She suggests some serious soul searching, asking yourself why you're uncomfortable.
As for the second? "You fear being judged and it’s because your partner is 'Judgy Judgerson.' No matter what you say, you are under the microscope and hence not comfy with your partner," she says. Well, we all know that's not a good scene. "This is your partner's problem, and one you can’t solve." Though it may be tempting to try to figure it out together, she says it's best to move on. "I’d find a new partner, one that is more comfortable with their own self," she says.
5. You Can't Sit And Be Silent Together
"When you are comfortable with someone, you should be able to sit for an extended time period without feeling a need to chatter," Samantha Daniels, professional matchmaker and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app, tells Bustle. Whether you're reading a book side by side, taking a drive and watching the scenery, or just sitting at dinner sharing a meal, silence is OK.
"If you feel that anxious need to fill the time you are together with inane chatter, you should examine how comfortable you are with your partner," she suggests. You can learn to be still together — and you can learn to love it.
6. You Can't Stare Into Their Eyes
"If you have a hard time looking in your partner's eyes for more than five seconds at a time, then you are probably uncomfortable around a partner," Carlyle Jansen, author of Author, Sex Yourself: The Woman’s Guide to Mastering Masturbation and Achieving Powerful Orgasms , tells Bustle. "It is usually a sign that you are hiding something or unable to share a vulnerability that you feel and are afraid or ashamed to talk about." Once again, look within to find out what you're feeling in this regard.
7. You Can't Speak Freely
"Not being comfortable around your partner can kill a relationship," Danielle Sepulveres, sex educator and author of Losing It: The Semi-Scandalous Story of an Ex-Virgin, tells Bustle. "If you find yourself having to always give yourself a pep talk before confiding in them, that means you don’t feel that you can speak freely and openly about what you’re feeling. If you’re editing what you think they can handle versus what you actually want to say, you do not feel truly comfortable with that person," she says. And there's no way to get to a deeper place if that's the case.
8. You Keep Them At Arm's Length
"You want to avoid being close, you feel afraid, you won’t say what you want or need," Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of How to be Happy Partners: Working it out Together, tells Bustle. Any of these behaviors are indications that you don't feel comfortable, and it will be hard to move to the next level with your partner. As other experts have advised, it's time to go within and try to figure out why it is you feel this way.
9. You Don't Trust Them
"You do not trust them," psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "You question if whether the things that they are telling you are true." Even though they've never done anything untrustworthy, you worry all the time. "While you have no proof, you have the feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is wrong. Due to this feeling, you can never allow yourself to be comfortable or at ease with your partner," she says. "You always have thoughts running through your head, and you cannot allow yourself to completely physically relax."
If you can never get to the point where you trust and feel fully comfortable with your partner, you might have to move on.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy (9)