7 Subtle Signs Your Partner Is Uncomfortable Around You
For whatever reason, there may come a time where you and your partner have evolved in such opposites directions that what was once intimate, comfortable, and cozy, is simply no longer. It’s when you reach this point that you might notice changes in how your partner acts around you, as they try to figure out what their next step might be.
“If your partner is constantly turning away from you, it may be a sign that they feel uncomfortable or some form of rejection in the relationship,” Holistic Sexologist and Sexuality Educator, Lisa Hochberger, tells Bustle. “Turning away happens in many different forms, but to understand turning away, it might be easier for you to first understand what a bid is. A bid is a gesture that can be verbal or nonverbal and is made it an attempt to have some kind of positive connection with a partner.” However, as Hochberger also explains, if that bid is ignored, your partner can’t help but feel rejected, so the likelihood of rebidding goes out the window… and with it the comfort they once felt with you.
But a partner turning away from you isn’t the only sign that they’re not exactly at ease. Here are seven subtle signs your partner is uncomfortable around you.
1. They Act Like They’re Under Attack
“People often confuse a criticism with a complaint,” say Hochberger. “When you are complaining to your partner, you are usually focusing on a specific behavior. However, when you are criticizing your partner, you are attacking their character. You can avoid criticism by complaining without blame.” When you do that, your partner may cease trying to dissociate themselves from you.
2. They Give One Word Answers
“When your partner is uncomfortable around you, they will want to minimize their conversation with you,” Relationship Coach and Founder of Maze of Love, Chris Armstrong, tells Bustle. “This means that they will rarely initiate conversation and when you initiate conversation with them, you will get one word answers.” Basically, they talk to you even less than you talk to that random stranger on the train who won’t stop asking you questions.
3. They’re Defensive
In keeping with the aforementioned attack, naturally comes the need to be defensive. “When a person is defensive, they are usually trying to protect themselves from being a victim of a perceived attack,” says Hochberger. “Many people become defensive when they are criticized and it is just not helpful! Defensiveness never really solves the problem at hand. Try listening to your partner instead of saying ‘but’ or ‘it’s not my fault.’ An antidote to defensiveness is to try and accept responsibility in some way, only if it’s just for part of the conflict or fight.”
4. They Have Nervous Tendencies
“When your partner is uncomfortable around you, it is because something about you bothers them and they do not know how to deal with it,” says Armstrong. “This makes things tense for them and you will notice an uneasiness within them. They may be clumsy, socially awkward, or jumpy.” Which, in its own way, can make you feel uncomfortable, too.
5. There’s A Level Of Contempt In How They Fight
As much as sarcasm can be a charming quality, it’s also used to deflect from how someone is really feeling or is even used in place of real emotions because there’s no comfort to be had. “When a couple is using contempt, one or both partners usually make statements that form a position of superiority. This usually involves some sort of sarcasm, eye-rolling, or other cynical and mocking behaviors.”
If you’re feeling uncomfortable with someone, there’s nothing quite like sarcasm to play down that discomfort and avoid getting into the nitty-gritty of the problems at hand.
6. They’re Bringing People Around More Than Usual
“When your partner is uncomfortable around you, they may intentionally bring other people into your day-to-day space to fill what is an otherwise an awkward situation for them,” says Armstrong. “This will help ease the nervousness and uneasiness they feel while also limiting the amount of interaction that they would otherwise have with you. The more people in your lives, the less one-on-one situations and interactions between you two.”
7. They Stonewall You
“Stonewalling usually occurs when the listener withdraws from the interaction,” says Hochberger. “When couples are stonewalling they are usually looking down or away from the person speaking. Men tend to stonewall more than women.” She suggests instead of letting thing go on like this, practice self-soothing instead, by taking a time out for 20 or 30 minutes before trying to resume the issues at hand.
All relationships have their ups and downs, but if you're worried your partner isn't comfortable around you any longer, check in with them, listen to how they're feeling, and see if it's something you can both try to remedy.
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