In a perfect world, we would rarely, if ever, have disagreements and always feel loved, respected, and valued by our partner, but in reality, that is not always the case and in some cases, it happens more often than not. But when it comes to the route of this, all fingers point at a lack of communication, personalities crashing, and so on.
When tiffs or arguments go unresolved, or even if you are mad and haven’t spoken a word of it, this can build up over time and eventually lead to you walking all over eggshells around your partner. This isn’t healthy and is not what anyone wants from their romantic partner.
When you are in a healthy relationship with your partner, it isn’t hard for you to predict the moods and preferences of your partner. With little fear, each time you are triggered or upset by their actions, a calm conversation is conducted and the issue is resolved.
If you feel like you cannot bring up a conversation with your partner out of fear, they will take things to the next level, or maybe you struggle to speak about your feelings, adding a wedge with your partner.
Even recognizing there is an issue with your communication style is a big step forward and within this guide, we will help understand what steps can be taken to prevent any more walking on eggshells and help nurture a deeper connection or maybe determine if you need to call it quits.
What is Walking On Eggshells and The Signs
It’s a metaphor for treading with caution when approaching certain conversations or just in general. Like the same delicate care you apply when handling eggs, you apply it when you are communicating with your partner with the means to not upset or agitate them. This upset could result in angry outbursts and be the beginning of a very uncomfortable atmosphere.
I’ve definitely been there with some of my previous partners where I couldn’t bring up past experiences or just general information that included another male so as not to upset them.
It gets to a point where it feels childish and it’s happened so many times that I have been able to identify when someone isn’t emotionally mature enough or they are too insecure to process specific things about someone’s past or opinions and I personally have no patience or time for it.
Signs you’re walking on eggshells in your relationship
01. You’re always on high alert about upsetting your partner’s mood.
This might seem like no matter what you do, you are upsetting or exposing yourself to your partner’s critics. For example, the way you fold clothes could trigger a bicker or some sort of disagreement so you are left feeling like you’re always doing something wrong.
02. You second guess yourself.
Feelings, like you’re walking on eggshells, can affect your self-confidence and have you doing things to alter and change yourself in the hope things will be better.
03. Your relationship has trust issues.
Trust isn’t only about infidelity and so forth; it’s also about trusting your partner’s decisions and overall life choices. Feeling like you’re walking on eggshells can cause you to withhold things and not feel appreciated.
04. Constantly editing your thoughts and speech.
You might have to truly think about simple things for a long time before speaking to your partner, if not to upset them or trigger them and it could be about anything general. So you are not working with a constant internal editor; just make sure that topic or sentence can’t turn into something bigger.
05. There is no stability, as you never know what could set your partner off.
Unpredictability is a huge concern for those who might have bipolar disorder, are narcissistic, or are master manipulators. There is nothing you can do in these relationships and the best thing is to leave.
06. You’ve lost yourself and the person you were before or at the beginning of the relationship.
Change is a normal part of growing up, but some things always stay with us, whether it’s humor, family connections, hobbies, or just undeniable parts of ourselves. When you feel like you’re walking on eggshells, you try to essentially become your partner to not trigger.
Here, you lose sight of yourself and who you were. While your partner might not know you’re doing this, it’s important to snap back into reality.
07. Expressing any sort of vulnerability or spontaneity is a struggle.
Vulnerabilities are hard to share with a partner you do not fully trust. You might find yourself worrying if they would still want the relationship if you told them certain things.
08. The relationship doesn’t feel equal.
You might feel like you are putting in more effort, whether it’s through affection, communication, planning or just as a whole.
09. You don’t feel happy in their presence.
Feelings of being deflated and low are common in those who don’t let you blossom as yourself.
10. Feelings of constantly overlooking all their flaws.
I have done this many times where I wanted things to work so badly that I would overlook flaws that I would have run away from if I was just dating them. You should never settle for things and if you discuss your feelings and they are disregarded, my best advice is to leave. There will be someone who wants to listen, be vulnerable with you and appreciate you.
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How To Handle Walking on Eggshells
Sometimes enough is enough and thinking past how uncomfortable or running through every scenario that the conversation could go—just completely ignoring the obvious—could increase the risk of developing an unhealthy relationship attachment style and even a serious mental health disorder.
I was lucky with my experience; it taught me to use my voice. I had the advice and support of my mother, sisters and friends. This gave me the tools and the confidence to speak my mind and to tell people when they’ve upset me rather than let it fester and to also not stand for people who lack respect for basic communication abilities.
In terms of not standing for it anymore, I now appreciate and understand what a healthy relationship is like to the point where I can ask and bring up topics that may trigger others. For example, I tell my partner when he is being rude or when he needs to visit the Cheltenham dentist and I just give my utmost honest opinion without worrying about a reaction.
Here are some tips I can give you from experience that helped me and my relationships and could help push past walking on eggshells and nurture the power of becoming vulnerable:
01. Communication Is Key
If your partner’s personality has shifted from being warm and open to being cold and tense, this is the opportunity for you to ask what is wrong, or even vice versa. If you feel like there is something you want to get off your chest, first assess these things:
- Is it the right time or place?
- Can you find somewhere intimate to talk about it?
- Have you done anything wrong or potentially upsetting?
- Are you in the right state of mind to listen and talk about feelings?
These sorts of tense situations can also not be direct because of you; they might have family situations playing on their minds or an upcoming presentation at work. This is where you need to identify where the tenseness is coming from so that, as a couple, you can navigate and work through it.
It’s not healthy to hold onto things and if you feel like you don’t want to make other people’s problems worse, throw that out the window, especially in situations where you are being asked what is wrong. Sometimes, these ones can help you understand each other better and bring you so much closer.
02. Understand Your True Emotional Needs
If you are not being emotionally fulfilled, whether you feel a distance from your partner or that you aren’t truly understood.
While this is a perfect opportunity to understand what you need from a partner, it can be enlightening in the sense that potentially your partner can’t give you that so you can move on, or maybe it is a simple conversation that needs to be handled once and resolved.
If your partner can’t hear you and I mean really hear you when you have something to say and when they do react to issues you might have, you are met with hostility, rage, manipulation, and fear, then that partner, no matter what apology they give, is not for you. You deserve to be heard and valued in all your relationships.
03. Seek Out External Support
If you need support to establish if your relationship is fixable, past the point of walking on eggshells, or abusive, then external support might be needed.
This can help you figure out what the next steps are, and sometimes hearing it from someone who’s not involved really helps. Hearing it from a working professional like a therapist can truly give you an unbiased opinion.
04. Reach Out To Family and Friends
If you’ve made the decision to end a toxic relationship, ask friends and family for support, as it can sometimes take a village.
Additional support from others can ease the burden and fortify resolve, whether it’s in the form of a shoulder to weep on difficult days or assistance finding a place to stay after ending things.
05. Ask Your Partner To Seek Help
When your partner chooses to create a tense atmosphere, whether that’s in an abusive way or just refuses to let you get close to them, making the relationship awkward, then you might need to ask your partner to seek some professional help.
This can help them understand where these emotional responses are coming from and potentially teach them some healthy coping mechanisms and communication styles.
On To The Next
Overall, if you’ve tried everything and all you are left with is a partner who isn’t vulnerable, can’t communicate, and is emotionally abusive, then it’s time to leave.
Romantic relationships are there so you can feel heard, seen, loved, respected, and adored by someone—a person who truly understands you—and if you aren’t getting that at all from your partner, then build the courage to leave. It’s better to be alone than to be walking on eggshells with someone who is supposed to be your best friend.
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