5 Small Gestures That Could Mean Your Partner Is Hiding Something, So Pay Attention
I don’t know about you, but when I think about the ideal relationship, open and honest are two words that come to mind. While maintaining transparency may not always be easy, it’s definitely the right way to go to build a strong, healthy, lasting bond. Secrecy is, without a doubt, one of the biggest intimacy killers — which is why it’s important to recognize the small gestures that could mean your partner is hiding something. Because according to experts, there are several common behaviors that can tip you off.
One of the reasons why it’s worth acknowledging if your SO is keeping something from you is that the secrecy may make you feel super uncomfortable, and eventually, lead to a growing rift. Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, notes that you may find that you become increasingly skeptical of what your partner tells you. Or worse, you may become tempted to snoop to determine what it is that they’re hiding. So, the sooner you suss out the truth, the better. For all you know, they’re not actually hiding anything from you. But wouldn’t you want to know that before you start questioning bae’s every move, or looking through their texts?
“Without honesty, it is difficult to have an intimate relationship,” says licensed clinical social worker Melanie Shapiro. “Hiding something does not always come from a place of deceit — it can also come from a place of insecurity or shame. However, whatever the reason one partner is choosing to hide something, it takes away from truly connecting with your partner.”
Starting to think your SO might be withholding information from you? Then keep a lookout for these small gestures.
They avoid certain subjects.
It could be finances, past relationships, their job, or their family. Whatever the subject is, Shapiro says that if it seems like your partner is deliberately avoiding talking about it, it could be because they’re hiding something from you.
Keep in mind that there could be a very good reason why, however. For example, if your boo has a strained relationship with their father that they’re not ready to open up about, that could explain why they’re dodging the subject when you bring their parents up. Your SO may need some time in order to feel comfortable sharing certain personal details. So, remember that they may not be hiding something to cause you distress, but rather, to protect themselves.
They clam up.
If it feels like your SO is consistently shutting you out, that’s another red flag. According to Trombetti, you’ll be able to sense this because the communication will feel “off.” When you try to make conversation about how their day went, or ask questions about that job interview they had, they may become quiet, or give very brief responses with little information.
When someone is keeping a secret, they will likely feel isolated from their partner. And a symptom of that isolation is becoming emotionally distant — hence the almost detached manner of communicating.
They suddenly develop a new habit or tendency.
Sometimes, a change in your partner’s habits is nothing to be concerned about. For instance, if bae tells you they want to train for a 10K, you likely won’t be surprised if they begin hitting the gym after work. Or, if they’ve been working extra hard at the office lately, it’s no shocker if they start passing out a couple of hours earlier on weeknights.
But if bae randomly develops a new tendency with seemingly no motivation or explanation, Shapiro says that change could point to the fact that they’re hiding something from you. For example, if your SO is suddenly running late all the time, or consistently forgetting your plans, then that’s something worth paying attention to.
They’re super protective of their devices.
Everyone has a right to their privacy. But according to Trombetti, if your partner is making an effort to be extra protective of their phone, laptop, etc. lately, that could suggest that there’s some secrecy going on.
For example, if bae immediately puts their phone away any time you sit next to them while they’re texting, that might be a red flag. Or, if they suddenly decide that their laptop is off limits to you (and don’t give a reasonable reason why), then that might be worth noting as well.
It's important to point out that there could be a valid reason for these behaviors. For instance, if your partner is planning a surprise party for you, they may be trying to shield you from seeing texts or emails to friends and family.
Their body language is closed off.
Sometimes, your partner’s body language can be the strongest indicator of how they’re feeling. Specifically, Shapiro says someone will likely appear more and more closed off if there's something they're not being truthful about.
Some examples of closed body language include crossed arms and crossed legs, both of which can suggest that someone is hiding something.
Additionally, body language expert Traci Brown previously told Elite Daily that if someone closes their eyes, purses their lips before responding, or makes gestures that don't match their words, those can all be possible signs that they're lying.
Ultimately, Trombetti says it’s best to trust your intuition on this matter — so whether or not you recognize any of these behaviors, you’ll want to listen to your gut if it tells you that your SO is concealing something from you. And once you’ve confirmed that you have reasons for your suspicions, both Trombetti and Shapiro agree that it’s time to approach your partner with your concerns.
When confronting your SO, be careful not to accuse them of hiding something from you. After all, you likely don’t know for certain if that’s the case. Instead, Shapiro advises simply presenting your observations to them with a non-judgmental stance.
“Often, attacking a partner makes someone defensive and does not help the person feel comfortable sharing something they are keeping to themselves,” she explains. “Explain that you’ve noticed they seem to be distancing themselves, and you would like to hear what’s going on with them.”
Ultimately, your top priority is to simply understand where bae is coming from. There’s a chance that your SO isn’t hiding anything from you after all. But if they are — it’s absolutely imperative that they feel don’t fear your judgment or criticism, or they probably won’t want to share their secret. That’s why it’s a good idea to stay open-minded and empathetic throughout your conversation. It may take time for your boo to feel comfortable telling you whatever it is they’ve been hiding, but the first step to clearing the air is letting them know you’ve noticed a change in your relationship. Remember: Transparency may be the end goal, but it can only exist if you create an emotionally safe space for you and your partner to be open and honest with each other.