Understanding Your Partner’s Body Language

3 min read
RyanMcGuire / Pixabay

Source: RyanMcGuire / Pixabay

Surely there have been days your partner came into the room with feet dragging, shoulders bent, face looking downward or in a mask of anger, sorrow, or defeat. You know immediately “Bad day, huh?”

When face and body signifiers are that obvious, there’s no need to be subtle about it. Your partner is showing in every way how they are feeling and you don’t have to do anything but react as a good partner would, ready to listen and sympathize.

Many situations are more difficult to decode. You mention that the Millers are coming for dinner Friday night and you see your partner’s mouth tighten up. if you are attuned to your partner’s facial expressions. Something is displeasing. Is it the date? Does your partner have other plans? Does your partner not like one of the Millers? Some exploring is asked for.

You say something to a friend and your partner rolls his or her eyes. What does that mean? Annoyance? Embarrassment? Boredom with the topic or having heard what you have to say many times before?

You arrive at a party together and your partner immediately wanders off to talk to a group of people leaving you standing in the doorway. Is s/her mad at you? Does your partnere want to mingle unencumbered with you? Are you okay joining the same group or has a signal of “You’re on your own” been sent?

You may be very much aware of the nonverbal signals your partner sends when they are interested in sex. He rubs your shoulders when you’re at your desk or she takes a bubble bath before bed. But are you equally aware of the body language that your partner is not in the mood?

You may receive a brief kiss on your cheek signaling “that’s all there is going to be to night” or hear loud yawns as your partner settles into bed.

You can always ask: “I notice you seem angry/sad/cold. What’s up with you?” Don’t let your partner sweep it under the rug with “Oh, nothing.” A good relationship thrives on honest communication.

Over time you may learn to read your partner’s body language, but why wait? If you are not sure what’s going on with your partner’s mood you can always ask.

  1. Ask what’s going on if you are not sure. Does this stance or expression mean boredom? Anger?
  2. If you feel that a fight will follow if you explore your partner’s expression of what looks like anger, choose your time. You don’t want to get into a squabble if you have guests expected shortly.
  3. Coax, but don’t insist. Whatever your partner is feeling. they might handle it and get over it on their own.
  4. Tell your partner that he or she can tell you anything, then prove it by not arguing with what your partner feels.

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