They say love is blind, and you know what? Whoever "they" are might be on to something. Sometimes we fall so deeply in love with our partner that we begin to miss telltale signs that they are behaving badly, and making someone uncomfortable. Their conduct might be crossing boundaries, but never fear — their habits don't necessarily indicate that they are not the one for you, just that it's time to address their behavior head-on.
No relationship is perfect. In fact, a 2015 study by Florida State University found that couples who had "angry but honest" conversations regularly, were more likely to be happy long-term. If your partner's actions or rhetoric is bothering you, it is way more productive to bring it up to them directly in a non-accusatory or aggressive way, and have an open dialogue. In fact, your bond will only grow stronger. And remember, that people are raised in very different environments and nurtured in various ways: what might seem typical to some, could rub others the wrong way.
Practice patience: inappropriate actions in no way condemn your partner for being a bad person. Always extend unconditional support, and mutual respect to those you love — and give them the benefit of the doubt. Here are seven common signs experts say your partner may be making others uncomfortable, and how to fix it.
1. They Share Too Much On Social Media
You know that one person who posts every intimate detail about their significant other on their Facebook timeline, from an essay on their first kiss to semi-graphic vacation photos? If this sounds like your partner, instead of muting their posts, bring up your concerns.
"Maybe the two of you just privately declared that you are exclusive, and without asking you, they change their relationship status on Facebook, but you wanted to tell those closest to you in person before going public on social media," Licensed Psychotherapist and Relationship Expert, Dr. Gary Brown, tells Bustle. "They may have meant well, and you want to acknowledge their good intentions. This is a good opportunity to talk about how you want to post or not post on not just Facebook but Instagram, Snapchat, and other forms of media."
Recognize that your partner isn't acting out of a place of malice, and use the occasion to have a productive discussion about social PDA and what you're comfortable with.
2. They're Very Friendly With Their Ex
Remaining friends with an ex is not a bad thing, and no way indicates that your partner doesn't love you or cares about you any less. But sometimes, when a person overtly flaunts that friendship it make you and others uncomfortable — even if their active connection is completely innocent.
"This would be a good time to talk with your partner and let them know how you are feeling about this development," Dr. Brown says. "You can say that you understand that everyone has a past, and that is OK. What isn’t OK is hanging on to an ex, especially when things are not going well between you and your partner. Simply let them know you feel insecure about this. If they truly care for you, they will understand."
Don't act with aggression or try to 'ban' your partner's inappropriate behavior — instead, explain how it makes you feel and together, the two of you will find a steady compromise that leaves you both feeling secure.
3. They Won't Stop Telling Embarrassing Stories
Every couple has those harmless but hilarious stories — you know, the one's that were not at all funny at the time, but now that you're looking back, you can laugh about it? Those are no-harm-no-foul. But when your partner can't stop telling your co-workers about some of your more embarrassing stories, too-soon meets TMI.
"You really need to be proactive, assuming that they truly do care for you and would not want to unintentionally embarrass you," Dr. Brown says. "It’s important that the two of you be clear that you are not going to reveal private, intimate, and vulnerable secrets and feelings between the two of you that could, if publicly disclosed, be painful."
Don't let this behavior get out of hand — the first time it happens, tell your partner how much it hurts your feelings when they reveal your secrets. Emphasize that you're not angry, but disappointed in their behavior, and that you expect better. Instead of scolding them, appeal to their empathy, to ensure that it never happens again.
4. They Disclose Too Much About Your Sex Life
Every couple has to establish their own boundaries when it comes to sharing details about their sex lives — what you're each comfortable with telling your friends about, and what makes you feel more self-conscious. But when your partner starts making outlandish jokes about what happens between the sheets in a public setting, like a bar or restaurant, it can make everyone in the vicinity unsettled.
"If you know that sometimes your loving and well-meaning partner has a tendency to indiscriminately self-disclose personal information, you want to preemptively avoid the public embarrassment by talking about this early on in your relationship," Dr. Brown says.
Try to determine where exactly the line lies, and try not to cross it under any circumstances. And identify things that might lead to similar scenarios, such as excessive alcohol consumption.
5. They Won't Stop Touching You In Public
Again, whether public displays of affection are OK or not vary from couple to couple, and between comfort zones. Your level of ease around PDA can also evolve over time. Every relationships need to establish it's own boundaries around PDA.
"There is no rule about this: if you’re uncomfortable then that is enough to know that inappropriate PDA is out of bounds," Dr. Brown says. "I’m not talking about simply holding hands or walking arm-in-arm. Once you determine what you are and are not comfortable with, simply let your partner know. Be open to talking about it so that they understand. If there is a conflict about how you want to be affectionate in public, see if you can find areas where you can compromise that you can both feel good about. This can help prevent future embarrassment."
Make sure your partner knows that it's not their affection that is embarrassing, it's the context of when it's happening that makes you uncomfortable.
6. They're Overly Flirtatious With Others
Sometimes people's personalities just teeter slightly on the flirtatious side, but the activity is actually harmless. Still, any overt expression of flirtatiousness from someone in a relationship has the tendency to make those in-the-know uncomfortable, even if it doesn't necessarily phase you.
"They might make really bad ... jokes or comments that you and others are uncomfortable with," Dr. Brown says. "There are any number of reasons for this. It may depend on [their] social conditioning and upbringing. If they are unaware of it, you really need to give them a heads up. This is probably not going to be a short conversation so be prepared to have what will likely be a series of conversations."
Make sure that your partner understands their behavior contextually, even if they aren't making any blatant advances. If they truly love you, they will eventually be able to see the big picture.
7. They Are Cold Towards Your Friends
There's nothing worse than that awkward moment when you excitedly introduce a friend to your new partner, and they respond like a zombie-robot, lacking both expression and emotion. But they might not even be aware of this seemingly rude behavior.
"Your partner may say or do things that put them in a bad light in public," Dr. Brown says. "In these circumstances, it’s important to let them know — in private. You don’t want to shame them in front of others. If they're a good person, they'll already being feeling bad enough. Unless they do things that are blatantly hurtful and doing damage to you and others in any given moment, try to be patient. Don’t assume that they know what’s going on. They simply need you to calmly, patiently, and lovingly explain to them what they do and the impact it has on you and others."
In this circumstance, education will be the key to communication. Explaining how you feel can go a long way to improving the quality of your relationship. It’s vital that you not speak from a place of anger or judgment. Don't act confrontationally, but with love and concern.
Remember, just because your partner is acting inappropriately, does not mean your relationship is 'broken' — every couple has it's hurdles to overcome. Through open and honest communication, and mutual respect, even the most embarrassing and uncomfortable scenarios can be remedied: and love is the anecdote.