If you've built up a healthy dose of mutual love, trust, and respect in your long-term relationship, then I bet you're able to kick back, relax, and truly express yourself in front of your partner. But if you two are lacking some of these essential pillars, you'll probably be too uncomfortable in your relationship to really let loose.
If that's the case, it can be tough to figure out what, exactly, is going wrong. "If you are uncomfortable, it could be because you know deep inside that something in your relationship isn't right," certified relationship coach Susan Golicic, PhD, tells Bustle. Like, maybe one or both of you is lacking the respect or trust I mentioned above. "[Or] it could be something simple, like something isn't being fully communicated."
While it's not always easy to pinpoint the cause, recognizing your discomfort is a great place to start. And, in many cases, it's all totally fixable. "It requires that you acknowledge what is going on with you and your behavior and address it — preferably with your partner," Golicic says. If you two can work on things together, then you have a shot. But if not, it may be smarter to get out and move on, before things get worse.
1. You've Been Feeling Incredibly Run Down
An uncomfortable relationship can cause all sorts of stress, and that can show up in the form of weird health issues. 'Your body might be telling you that you have discomfort if you are experiencing skin irritation (including a rash or hives), having headaches, feeling sick to your stomach, etc.," says Golicic. "Your body manifests your emotions and is trying to tell you that you need to do something about what is going on."
2. You've Been Reaching For Wine More Often
"If you are displaying numbing behaviors around your partner — like drinking more, eating more, working more, etc. — then it is likely because you are not comfortable," Golicic says. "Numbing behaviors are a way to 'check out' of being present with people." If your partner has created a situation where you can't be yourself, or you feel stressed 24/7, these habits are a common result.
3. You Often Keep Things To Yourself
If you think of a joke, but keep it to yourself, or want to share your opinion, but don't, take note. "The number one sign one is not feeling comfortable in a relationship is if they can't be true to themselves," says relationship expert Kevin Darné, author of My Cat Won't Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany). "They resist expressing themselves if they disagree with something or always go along to get along."
4. You've Been Down In The Dumps
Depressive symptoms have roots in many things, including relationship issues. If you've been tamping your personality down, for example, Darné tells me it can take a toll on your mental health. "Most of us wear a face when it comes to being at work or socializing with acquaintances in public settings," he says. "However, we all feel like we should be able to let our hair down and be our authentic selves at home and in our personal relationship." If you can't and don't do that, take it as a sign.
5. Your SO Takes Advantage Of Your Discomfort
Oftentimes, a person who is uncomfortable in a relationship will not only go to great lengths to hide it, but they'll also try their damndest to make things work — even if it means becoming a total pushover. And that can have awful results. As Darné says, "Once their mate figures out they will go along with anything, he or she might drain them emotionally, physically, and financially."
6. It Feels Like You've Lost Your Sense Of Self
With all this going on, don't be surprised if your sense of self — your personality, and all the things you love to do — go flying right out the window. "You've compromised so often to accommodate your SO that you've forgotten who you are or what you believe," says licensed psychotherapist Dr. Jill Murray. "You feel like you're losing your identity/sense of self."
7. You Feel Ignored
For a relationship to be healthy, it needs partners who are willing to check in with each other. If yours doesn't do that, Murray tells me it can make you feel ignored, which can lead to a horrible level of discomfort. And nobody needs that.
8. You Need To Check Their Social Media
In situations like these, it's not uncommon for one partner to spy on the other's social media. "If you find yourself with obsessively calling/texting them all the time to check up on them, or constantly checking their social media to see if they are lying about anything, you are probably not comfortable with the relationship because you haven’t been able to develop trust in your partner," matchmaker Susan Trombetti tells Bustle. And that's not OK.
9. There's A Sense Of Something Missing
Whether it's a lack of trust, a lack of respect, or a lack of mutual appreciation, "there is a feeling that something is 'missing,'" says psychologist and radio show host Dr. Joshua Klapow. Even if you can't put your finger on which issue it may be, that emptiness will be there. And it'll be all sorts of uncomfortable.
10. It Feels Like Things Are Going To End At Any Moment
If you feel uncomfortable in your relationship, it could be due to your partner's inability to make you feel secure. As Klapow tells me, this can create anxiety, since you're worried that they'll leave. Or, you might even convince yourself they're cheating. It's all incredibly stressful, and definitely not something you'd be feeling if the situation were more comfortable.
11. You've Been Considering Leaving, Or Cheating, Too
A lack of comfort in a relationship is almost always a sign of a bigger, underlying issue. (Again, think lack of respect, lack of trust, etc.) Whatever happens to be the case, Murray tells me you might react by seriously considering an affair. "If you're truly satisfied in your relationship, these aren't more than passing thoughts," she says.
If any of this sounds familiar, it's time to discuss these issues with your partner. You deserve to feel comfortable, loved, heard, respected, and secure in your relationship, without having to try too hard. So either patch things up and work on building more mutual love, trust, and respect. Or go ahead and move on.
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