7 Easy-To-Miss Physical Gestures That Mean Your Partner May Be Losing Interest
When you notice changes in your partner's behavior, it can be cause for concern. Although they're not saying anything out loud, sometimes you can just feel like your partner is losing interest. According to experts, you should pay close attention to that feeling as it can clue you into what your partner is really thinking.
"[Most] of our communication is through body language," Alison Henderson, body language expert and founder of Moving Image Consulting tells Bustle. "The body doesn’t lie because we have no control over our subconscious gestures like we can control what we speak. So your partner may be saying one thing. But if the body is telling a different story, believe the body."
If you've been with your partner for some time, you should know what's common for them in terms of their body language and what's not. According to Henderson, this is called their body language baseline. "When they do something different, it is a huge clue that something has changed for them," she says.
Body language is important to pay attention to because people aren't typically aware that they're doing anything differently. "They may stammer and change their verbal story with no clue that their nonverbal behavior is broadcasting something else," Henderson says. It's important to remember not to jump to conclusions though — if your partner is sending you mixed messages, your best bet is to talk to them about it.
Sometimes these changes may seem obvious, and sometimes not so much. So here are some easy-to-miss signs that your partner may be losing interest, according to body language experts.
1. They've Stopped Leaning Towards You When You're Talking
"If someone is interested in you, they will listen to you with their whole body," body language expert Maryann Karinch, tells Bustle. That includes leaning in, making eye contact, and asking questions in order to keep you talking. When they're losing interest, they may lean away from you and seem like they're a million miles away. While interest can fluctuate throughout a relationship, take note if this seems consistent, Karinch says. It may be time to have a talk.
2. Their Smiles Don't Seem As Genuine As They Used To Be
Does your partner still smile with a little crinkling around the eyes or are they doing it because they feel like they have to? If your partner's smile doesn't seem as genuine and engaged as it used to be, Karinch says they may be losing interest.
3. They Use Subtle Arm Placements To Create Barriers In Between You
If your partner is pulling away, you may notice them using their arms to create physical barriers between the two of you. For instance, they may cross their arms while they're talking to you, or keep their hands in their pockets when they used to be hand-holders. "You might also notice them putting their phone in front of their body a bit more than they used to, creating a literal barrier between the two of you," Karinch says.
4. They're Making Less Eye Contact
Making eye contact with your partner is a subtle way to maintain intimacy in your relationship. According to Henderson, we tend to lose eye contact with others when we need a break. "This can be an emotional break ('I don’t want to get emotional, so I’m going to look away') or a mental one ('I can’t listen or take in any more, so I’m going to look away')," she says. Either of these reasons can signal that someone is losing interest. According to her, "A partner who's invested in you will care enough to become emotional or will stay and listen even if it’s difficult." Though it may be hard to bring up, it could be worth asking your partner why this change has happened.
5. There's More Space Between You When You're Standing In Public
Take note of how your partner is standing when they're talking with you in public. "Most couples will stand with a closed 45 degree or more angle when talking as a couple," Henderson says. "When your partner starts standing next to you with more of their back to you than their front, you [might] have a problem."
6. They Have Robotic Arm Movements
When someone is losing interest, there will be a decrease in your sense of emotional connection. According to Henderson, our emotions can be seen in a "free-moving" torso. For instance, if someone is upset they might crumple. If they are happy and elated, they rise and expand. "Since our arms are connected to our torso, a distant partner's gestures may become stiff and look mechanical or robotic when the chest and torso aren’t moving with them," she says. "You will feel like your partner is petting or dabbing at your arm rather than lovingly stroking you."
7. They Walk Ahead Of You When You're Out Together
"Needing physical distance is a large red flag," Henderson says. If your partner gives you a "lame explanation" like having longer legs than you, pay attention to other distant behaviors they may be displaying. "Basically, anytime behavior changes from the norm, take a closer look over several days," she says. "Anyone can have a bad day or not feel well, but if behavior persists, take steps to tell your partner what you are feeling if you think the relationship is worth saving."
If you notice from your partner's body language that they're losing interest, there are ways to turn it around. As Marla Mattenson, CEO and founder of Mattenson Coaching & Consulting, tells Bustle, "Get playful. Play wins every time over defense, judgment, or shame." Throw them some flirty smiles or find ways to touch them in genuinely affectionate, consensual ways. Use your non-verbal cues to show your partner that you care and that your relationship is worth fighting for.