A lot of the information that is communicated in the course of any conversation is actually non-verbal. This communication happens through posture, gestures and stances that may be largely unconscious. You can learn to read these subtle cues to get a better sense of where you stand with the person you’re talking to. What is s/he really feeling? This sort of detective work can be especially helpful for “reading” an intimate partner.
Essentially, all non-verbal cues communicate either closeness or distance. By extension, this can indicate either attraction or disinterest. You can get a sense of any unspoken difficulties and misunderstandings that may be in the air by interpreting your partner’s body language. Your feelings and behavior have probably always been influenced by such signals – you just may not have been aware of it before.
Consider, first of all, how each of you owns your personal space at the moment. Generally speaking, physical closeness indicates increased intimacy. Of course, there are many factors throughout our days that may create distance between us. But does your partner seem to find excuses to draw closer to you, or is the opposite true? Another way to think about this is to consider how your mutual time is taken up. When nothing demands our attention there is an opening there for intimate contact. Does your partner tend to fill these moments with invented activities or forced conversations? Such a tendency can indicate some discomfort simmering below the surface of the relationship, or some hesitancy around being intimate.
Posture can indicate this, too. A shoulder turned away is a more “closed” position, as are folded arms. These are protective gestures. A partner leaning towards you during a conversation, however, is revealing interest and/or attraction. Even his or her hands and feet may be turned towards you during those moments. Hand movements can be seen as an extension of the way in which a person speaks. If they are animated then the odds are good that the conversation has them engaged. If it is engagement out of anger then you will probably know it without having to look for more subtle cues.
Body language reveals how much intimacy is being shared when you’re involved in an activity together, as well. If you’re out walking, maintaining the same pace together can indicate harmony. Couples will do this naturally – unless other negative influences disrupt the rhythm. If your partner moves ahead it may mean that s/he is taking some personal space or wanting to lead. Lagging behind can indicate some uncertainty or fear. This dynamic may play out when you take meals together, as well. Do you eat at roughly the same pace, or is one of you finished long before the other? Researchers have found that couples who share a deep level of trust and intimacy even have comparable heart rates. The harmony within a relationship can be evinced by the way both people slip into a kind of mutual flow when they’re together.
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