Body language communicates unsaid stories running through your psyche. Nonverbal communication can say a lot in professional settings, like during a job interview; however, what about in your romantic relationships?

When you are dialoguing with your significant other, whether simply making plans or in a heated argument, their body language can be a gateway to better understand how they are feeling. This is especially critical when trying to spot gestures of discomfort, guilt and displeasure from your partner. Learning these nonverbal cues will only strengthen your overall communication. 

The Importance of Body Language

Sex and relationship therapist Hannah Townsend asserts the importance of body language and nonverbal cues when it comes to creating a healthy connection with your partner. It allows you to assess and soothe your thoughts and emotions. Paying attention to body language enables you to be fully present with your partner, facilitating open dialogue about their needs and desires.

“Observing your partner’s body language and nonverbal cues can help gauge their engagement, stress, anger, discomfort, openness, empathy and receptivity,” Townsend said. 

Nonverbal Communication That Indicates Discomfort

Typical nonverbal cues that might indicate your partner is uncomfortable or disconnected are avoiding eye contact, crossing of the arms or legs, turning away from your partner, not wanting to hold hands and pulling away from hugs. 

Townsend explained that your partner might also fidget, frown, purse their lips or furrow their brows to express discomfort. They might also lack expressive reactions, have a monotone voice, prolonged silences and distant behaviors. 

How to Respond 

By responding thoughtfully and empathetically, Townsend explained you can help your partner feel heard, supported and more connected. This will help you foster a healthier and more understanding relationship. 

“I like to find creative ways to remember things like using the acronym, ‘ASC,’” she said. “This stands for acknowledge, speak, and connect, which helps with remembering how to be attune to others.”

Townsend breaks down this method, sharing how you can use it to enhance your communication in romantic relationships.


This method requires recognizing nonverbal cues and body language signs and initiating a conversation by expressing awareness. Pay attention to signs like avoiding eye contact, closed posture, or fidgeting. Then, gently acknowledge that you’ve noticed these cues without making assumptions or accusations.

For example, you might say, “I notice you seem a bit uncomfortable right now.” 


The second step includes using “I” statements and asking open-ended questions. Focus on exploring your underlying emotions and doing a body scan for any bodily triggers. Then, make observations of what you notice to avoid sounding accusatory. Encourage your partner to share their thoughts and feelings.

For example, “I feel tightness in my chest because I am worried that I am causing you to feel uncomfortable. How are you feeling at this moment?”


To build a connection with your partner, it requires you to show empathy, offer support and maintain physical closeness. You should also actively listen by validating your partner’s feelings and being understanding.

Ask how you can help. Follow through on their expressed wants and needs, and make it clear you are there for them. Lastly, when appropriate, use gentle touch or maintain an open, receptive posture to reinforce your support.

For example, “I can imagine how uncomfortable you may feel. I can relate to your feeling uncomfortable. How can I support you right now? Do you feel comfortable talking about this right now? Would you prefer a 30-minute or one-hour break to calm down? We can meet back in the living room to communicate with each other.” 

Also, repeat what your partner expresses for confirmation of clarity and understanding. This helps them feel seen, heard, supported and understood. Depending on the intensity of the disagreement, follow up with your partner later that day or the next day. It can be helpful to check in with your partner to see how they are feeling and continue the conversation if needed.