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It's not wise to seek out problems in a relationship. But sometimes, they present themselves in the form of you and your partner's body language.
INSIDER spoke with body language expert Tonya Reiman to see if your body language can raise some red flags for your relationship.
Of course, nothing on this list serves as a conclusive sign of doom for any individual relationship. Everyone is different, so something that might indicate unrest in a relationship for one couple could be just another day for another couple.
All the same, it can be useful to know which body language clues to look out for — you know, just in case.
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1. Lack of eye contact.Avoiding eye contact can be a telltale sign that your partner isn't as interested as they used to be.
Has it been a while since you got a good look at your partner's eyes? If so, that could be a bad sign.
"Eye contact is incredibly intimate," Reiman told INSIDER. "Eye contact shows trust and emotional openness [and] tells the partner 'I am yours.' If your partner once offered up their eyes and suddenly stops, it's a red flag."
Obviously, this doesn't mean that you and your significant other have to spend hours gazing into one another's eyes. There may also be some legitimate reasons why your partner doesn't engage in intense eye contact. For example, some people on the autism spectrum have difficulty making eye contact, according to The Mighty.
But if your partner is making a pointedly avoiding eye contact, and they don't seem to have any good reason for doing so, you might want to have a talk with them.
2. Kissing without tongue.Pay attention to how intimate — or not — your kisses with your partner feel.
"In a long-term relationship, [kissing] associates us with love and passion," Reiman told INSIDER.
A good way to lose some of this love and passion is by moving from kisses with tongue to quick pecks on the lips. It's not that tongue-free kisses are bad, but if they are all that's happening, it's a sign that you and your partner may not be bonding as much as you should.
3. Kissing with less enthusiasm.If your partner doesn't seem to want to kiss you, that's not a great sign.
Another kissing-related red flag: the amount of excitement — or lack thereof — you put into it.
"Kissing is an emotional, biological, and psychological boost," Reiman told INSIDER. "If your partner kisses you with less enthusiasm [than before], it's a red flag."
4. Less overall touching.Some degree of touch should be natural if you're in a relationship.
Reiman identified a lack of touching during "non-significant" times, like watching TV or eating dinner together, as a possible red flag.
"Touching, whether it's hugging, kissing, snuggling, or spooning tells the other person you are close to them as it symbolizes intimacy, emotional closeness, and happiness in a relationship," Reiman said.
Not every couple uses physical touch to express affection. But suddenly losing a sense of ease when it comes to touch can point to trouble in a relationship.
5. Shifting from caresses to pats.Pay attention to see if your touch becomes less intimate.
Your partner doesn't have to stop touching you altogether. Sometimes, all it takes to signal that they may not be as invested in the relationship as they once were is a change in the way they touch you.
"Often when love is starting to wane, a person will go from touching and stroking a partner to patting a partner," Reiman told INSIDER. "Unfortunately, this is usually a slow progression that isn't noticed until it's too late."
6. Walking out of sync.It's important for movements as a couple to be somewhat in sync.
"Most couples in love mirror each other and thus walk in sync," Reiman told INSIDER. "When this walking pattern is disrupted on numerous occasions, it indicates that there is a potential disconnect between the couple."
This is another factor that probably shouldn't be taken 100% at face value, as there are many, many reasons why someone might walk slightly out of sync with another person. Still, if you're noticing a consistent discord in your pace compared to your partner's, it may indeed be a red flag.
7. An abnormal blink rate.Blinking could indicate discomfort — or arousal.
Another thing that may be useful to pay attention to is your partner's blink rate — specifically, if it changes from what you're used to seeing.
"Blink rate is significant as it is an indicator of mental arousal," Reiman told INSIDER. "It typically shows when an individual is uncomfortable or stressed and therefore could be another red flag."
Because the rate at which one blinks can serve as an indicator of two totally separate things blinking itself may not necessarily serve as a red flag — but you should definitely pay attention to any sudden changes that your partner makes.
8. Leaning away.Leaning away is a straightforward clue that your partner isn't as interested as they should be.
"Couples sitting down to watch a movie have a tendency to lean toward one another with their heads, bodies or feet," Reiman said.
If you notice that your partner seems to be leaning away from you during moments in which you would otherwise be touching, Reiman said that "it's a big signal as it denotes a willingness to give up touching time with your partner."
9. Neglecting to show empathy with their movements.If your partner doesn't seem concerned with your mental state, that's not a great sign.
Some red flags may be more subtle than you realize. Take, for example, the way your partner expresses empathy when you're going through something tough. If they can't seem to grasp that you are upset, and don't make any moves to comfort you, that's a bad sign.
According to Reiman, part of being in a successful relationship involves "stepping into someone's shoes and experiencing what they are experiencing. When we are in love, this becomes automatic — sometimes we may not understand the why of our partners reaction, but we always feel their pain. If one person in the relationship isn't mirroring back feelings of the others obvious distress, it's a signal they no longer share your pain."
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