Subtle gestures say a lot about the dynamic of your relationship and can help you do better to ensure your partner's happiness.
There is a lot that can be said even when there is no verbal communication. These cues can be picked up from the way your body moves and the postures it takes in response to what another person has to say. While it can be really useful to be able to read these cues to perceive what a stranger or even your boss feels about you, it is the most important to pick up on what your partner feels about you. Subtle gestures say a lot about the dynamic in your relationship. It can help you see if you're letting your partner slip away and put in more effort, you will also be able to tell if they are head over heels for you.
Look for these seven signs to be able to gauge your relationship:
Leaning toward someone is a positive gesture that says you are paying attention have an affinity for them. It is a sign of intimacy. You can tell two people like each other by how they lean in toward each other while having a conversation. It shows that you feel comfortable and close to them. Therapist Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., a professor at Oakland University in Michigan and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great, told Women's Health Mag, "You’re leaning on someone you trust and may want to be comforted by."
Holding hands is a sign of intimacy and support that you share with your partner. There is a certain warmth in placing your hands in your partners' and intertwining your fingers with each other. If you walk with each other holding hands and your shoulders are touching, it shows that you are in a happy place in your relationship. Taking someone's hand is a show of affection as well. “When there’s a big gap between people, even if they’re holding hands, I think of them more like friends,” Orbuch says.
A kiss is an overt gesture of affection. While a kiss on the cheek could be platonic or just as a sign of a greeting, the kiss on the lips is what sets a normal relationship from a romantic one. A peck on the lip is fine but a couple in love with each other will kiss for longer and more passionately. Longer, deeper kisses are what happy and romantic couples do, according to Orbuch. A kiss on the forehead is sweet too and depending on the situation can also mean one person establishing power over the other. This could be a sign of an imbalanced relationship where one person thinks they know better.
Having your arms over your partner's shoulder is a very warm and protective gesture. Whether it is while you are sitting down or while walking it is a very intimate posture. You will make your partner feel safe and loved. Orbuch says, “They’re trying to be more physically close to you by drawing you into them.” It also means the two of you are very comfortable with each other and feel at ease in such close quarters. The physical proximity also signifies that the two of you are emotionally connected.
When your partner places a hand behind your back, it could mean that they are showing special care and affection. It could be a way for them to gently guide you while walking or when you walk up the stairs or rise from a chair. It is a caring gesture but there is also a way it can be construed as a power move. That the partner with their hand on the back, leading the other is establishing their power over them.
Crossing your arms is a very defensive stance to take. It is like you are physically closing yourself off from the person you are facing, in this case, your partner. "It's a visible way to put your guard up, which is never a good thing in an intimate relationship," Susan Constantine, human behavioral expert and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Reading Body Language, told Good Housekeeping. It is a way of being wary, to protect themselves from being vulnerable or hurt.
While gentle pats on the back could be comforting, when a partner you are involved with romantically does it in a context that requires no consoling, it could mean something else. "If your partner begins to pat you on the back during a hug, it immediately desexualizes it, " says Patti Wood, body language expert and author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma told Good Housekeeping. It could mean that your partner is losing interest in you. You no longer caress each other and opt to pat platonically instead. There is no intimacy just friendliness.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images/ (L-R) Michael Loccisano;Dia Dipasupil;Dimitrios Kambouris)