Important: This article is about emotional safety in relationships, not physical safety or physical abuse.
Still, emotional safety should be priority number one. If you don’t feel at ease in your relationship, every other element of the partnership is compromised, especially honest communication.
Here are eight signs that you may not be feeling safe in your relationship.
1. You’re afraid to speak your mind.
Not because you’re afraid for your physical well-being. Rather, you fear criticism and conflict. If you can’t be honest without paying an emotional price, it makes sense that you’d hold back.
In healthy relationships, honest about feelings and opinions is essential for a trusting partnership.
2. You agree to things you don’t feel you should.
Do you agree to do things that seem unfair? Are you allowing yourself to be taken advantage of? Regardless of the facts, if you can’t talk about it with your partner, you may not be feeling emotionally safe to relate on this deeper level.
In healthy relationships, both partner are concerned about fairness and reciprocity. Raising the issue is a GOOD thing to do because neither party wants to be unfair to the other.
3. You don’t feel strong, positive feelings toward your partner.
When you sit and think about your partner, how do you feel? If resentment, hurt or an empty feelings comes up, then you may not feel safe to feel great about him or her. Perhaps you’ve been hurt too many times or had too much conflict.
In healthy relationships, thinking about your partner is usually a positive emotional experience. Feeling lucky, blessed or in love should be the case most of the time.
4. You’re keeping secrets.
Major red flag here. If you’re keeping things from your partner, your relationship is probably in trouble. Your habits, outside relationships and other elements of your personal life are your partner’s business, believe it or not. If you can’t share all of your life with your partner, it’s a problem.
In healthy relationships, neither party has something significant to hide.
5. You feel the need to snoop.
Another major red flag. If you’re snooping, you aren’t trusting. You may have good reason to snoop, of course. Still, this is a sign you don’t feel safe.
Healthy couples trust each other, based on evidence of agreements kept.
6. You can’t agree on much.
Speaking of agreements, if you can’t come to many with your partner, then conflict is brewing on a regular basis. Where to live, how to vacation, how to spend money, how to raise the kids, and even where to go for dinner….some couples can’t agree on much without a fight.
Healthy couples don’t spend a lot of time arguing about decisions. Rather, they talk things through respectfully.
7. No love life.
Passion, sex and fun play is one of the benefits of being in love. How’s your passion? Do you enjoy lovemaking? If you don’t feel emotionally safe, this is one of the areas of your relationship that can suffer – or end.
8. You’re feeling all alone.
We often disconnect from people around whom we don’t feel emotionally safe. Unfortunately, our intimate partners are often at the top of the list.
It’s difficult being together yet feeling all alone. Yet, it may feel safer to keep to yourself.
What to do if you don’t feel emotionally safe in your relationship:
You simply must find a way to talk about it. Feeling safe to speak up, work things out, make mutual decisions and feel close to each other is the foundation of your relationship. If that foundation of safety has eroded, then you must address it for what it is.
You don’t feel safe in certain ways with your partner. Why not begin the discussion right there?
For a more in-depth information on emotional safety, read this article.