Sometimes it's hard to gauge what can make someone uncomfortable or creep someone out, especially in the context of relationships. Because what constitutes "crossing the line" can vary among people, there are bound to be misunderstandings in relationships. But those can be easily resolved through communication and a discussion of boundaries, as well as being aware of actions experts say people generally find creepy when their partners are the ones doing them. As relationship expert Dr. Megan Stubbs tells Bustle, there's one thing many people do in relationships that may be unintentionally creeping their partners out.
Social media stalking a partner, especially when the couple has just started dating, is something many people do. And trying to get the scoop on a new partner is not necessarily a bad thing. "I think looking into your partner's past and their current connections is a way for you to get to know what makes your partner who they are today," Stubbs says. "Much like in Shrek, your partner is an onion and you want to examine all of the complex layers that make them who they are." It's just human nature to be curious.
But according to Stubbs, there are some people who can find this unsettling. Stubbs says it can cross the line for people when their partner dives deep into their social media accounts, Googles their name, follows friends of friends of the person, or asks mutual friends about them.
According to Stubbs, a good way to gauge creep-level is for someone to ask themselves, "how would you feel if it was done to you?" Although creeping someone out can be unintentional, and may be the result of not knowing someone well enough to understand what makes them uncomfortable, experts say there are a few things that many people find creepy in relationships to look out for.
1If One Partner Doesn't Make Decisions Until The Other Agrees
Couples should be talking to each other when it comes to making major decisions. However, if one partner keeps going to the other for every little thing, it can have a way of making them feel uncomfortable. "When you treat your partner like a higher power, they feel it, and it can make them feel nervous for good reason," Alyssa Bunn, Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify. "Your partner doesn't want that job. It's a tall order, plus it's a tough job to be good at." Balance is important in relationships, and each person should feel empowered to make decisions without feeling the need to consult the other over every little thing.
While feeling comfortable in a relationship is important, oversharing details, especially early on, may make someone uncomfortable. "Early on, most people look for flaws and red flags," Ngoc Tran, Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify, tells Bustle. If one person shares too much too soon, the other person may feel it's putting too much pressure on the relationship.
While Tran recognizes that it's exciting to finally connect with someone on a deeper level, oversharing early on is just a way of accelerating intimacy. "[People] enjoy a bit of mystique — the gradual reveal," Tran says. "This process builds a relationship and there is no short cut to forming a solid one."
3Bragging About A Sexual Past
"Bragging about your sexual past is more common in relationships than [people] think," Sunny Rodgers, Clinical Sexologist and Ambassador for the American Sexual Health Association, tells Bustle. "Some people love sharing how 'well-practiced' they are in the sexual experience department, but this is something that [can be] outright creepy to share."
According to Rodgers, it can make someone feel undervalued or make them feel like they have to live up to previous partners if a new person shares too much about their sexual history. Rodgers says that someone who is using this tactic to prove their bedroom skills is better off showing and not telling.
4Telling A Partner, "You Remind Me Of My Mom/Dad/Brother/Sister"
Studies have found that people are attracted to those who look like their parents. It's something that happens unconsciously thanks to biology. If someone has a really close relationship with their parents, finding one of their parent's best qualities in a new partner can be a really big plus. However, it can make someone uncomfortable, depending on your delivery.
"Generally, if this is a sexual relationship, no comparisons of family members should be made," Rodgers says. "In new relationships it can be particularly confusing depending upon how your new partner feels about their family. If you feel this comparison is a compliment that you want to share, specifically share the distinct trait that they both have in common."
5Adding A Partner's Friends And Families On Social Media When They Don't Actually Know Them
Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of a new partner adding friends and family members on social media, especially if they haven't introduced them yet. While this may not only push past someone's boundaries, it can also make someone feel like they have to share everything with their partner, Rodgers says.
Another reason some people don't like this, she says, is that it can harm the trust in a relationship, and make them feel like the other person is keeping tabs on them. "It’s healthier to have your own friends, as well as mutual friends," Rodgers says. "As a rule, you should never send friend requests to your partner’s friends that you don’t know or haven’t met yet." Of course this isn't the same for every relationship. Some couples may not find this to be a huge deal, especially if relatives or friends live far away, and they've already "met" through text or FaceTime. It's all about understanding and respecting boundaries.
6Texting Non-Stop, All Day
Texting back and forth all day can be sweet but it's important that you're on the same page about texting styles with your partner. "Many partners love spending time with each other, but non-stop interaction all day, especially early on, can come off as creepy," David Bennett, certified counselor and relationship expert. "It's OK to give your partner a break sometimes." While couples will eventually establish a flow as they progress, it's always important to learn boundaries early on to prevent potentially overdoing it.
7Making Declarations Of Love Very Early On
Planning grand romantic gestures like it's a first year anniversary can come off as creepy to someone, especially in the context of a new relationship. "Beware of making grand gestures until you know both parties are 'feeling the love,'" Dorothy Stover, Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify tells Bustle. "When you're newly dating someone, creepy is a factor if you're not quite feeling as much of a connection. But if you are equally interested, romantic gestures can support those courtship-lovey-dovey feelings."
It is important to remember that not everyone will find the same things creepy, and making someone uncomfortable also doesn't mean a person is "creepy" in general. Fixing the issue is all about making some adjustments here and there, as well as communicating to find out more about what each partner is OK with.