What Does Your Body Language Say About Your Relationship?

Updated November 28, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Communication is more than what you say with words. We communicate a lot through the body language that we use. In fact, we can communicate one message with our words and something completely different with our body. This is important to remember when in a relationship as well. Reading body language can help you improve communication with your partner.

A study conducted by UCLA  showed that only 7% of communication comes from the words that are spoken. The remaining 38% of communication comes from the tone of voice that is being used, and 55% comes from our body language. The more aware we are of what we are communicating and how to read body language, the better our communication skills will be. Not only do you want to make sure that you are using the right body language, but also know how to read what your significant other is saying.

Does Your Relationship Need Work?

Communication In Relationships

When you think of the "perfect" relationship, it usually includes good communication, both verbal and nonverbal. You imagine the two of you walking hand in hand, stealing kisses, gazing into each other's eyes, and laughing and cuddling together. All of these things express closeness, interest, and even romantic feelings without speaking a single word.

Good relationships rarely exist without good communication. Many fights and arguments begin because of a breakdown in communication. And many of these disputes worsen because of the lack of communication skills within the relationship.

Motivational guru William Paisley once tweeted, "Communication is the fuel that keeps the fire of your relationship burning; without it, your relationship goes cold." If this is true and we know from the UCLA study that most communication comes from body language, then it makes sense that we should learn about reading body language if we want our relationship to succeed.

Mirroring Body Language

When someone feels a connection with another person, they tend to mirror their body language. That means if you're having a conversation with your significant other and they are using the same type of hand gestures as you or demonstrating the same posture as you, your conversation is most likely going well.

When we feel a bond with someone, we will often subconsciously mirror their body language. Have you ever noticed that when a couple has been together for a while, they start to take on each other's mannerisms? They feel a connection with each other and have unknowingly started to mirror the body language of the other. 


When it comes to body language, a smile  should be easy enough to read, but have you ever wondered if the smile your getting is genuine or not? We've all been there before. There have been many studies conducted to find out how to spot a fake smile. And it turns out that the key is in the eyes—well next to them, anyway.

When someone gives a genuine smile, they get crinkles, or crow's feet, that show up on the outside of their eyes. However, this doesn't occur with most fake smiles. Still, some people have perfected the fake smile enough that they can achieve getting the eye crinkles even though they are faking, so this isn't a flawless test. However, you can rest assured that if you don't see crow's feet when someone smiles at you, they are likely either faking it or hiding something.


You can tell a lot about a person's mood by their posture. If someone comes into a room slouching with their eyes on the ground, we tend to think they are either sad or lack confidence. However, if someone comes into the room with their shoulders back, chin up, and with a strong posture, they exude confidence. But posture plays an even bigger role in communication than you might realize.

When your significant other leans in while you are talking, they are most likely engaged in the conversation. They are actively participating in it, and you usually have their full attention. However, when they are reclined back as you are talking, they are more relaxed. They could still be engaged in the conversation, but the posture they are using sets a different tone.

Eye Contact

Does Your Relationship Need Work?

You can read from a person's eye contact or lack thereof. Making eye contact helps you to connect with the other person. That is why speakers are taught to work on making eye contact to draw people into a presentation. Making eye contact with another person can also show them you are interested in them and invite conversation. This could even be how you and your significant other got together in the first place.

As the relationship develops, making eye contact can show that you are engaged in conversation with your partner. For the most part, if the other person is making eye contact with you as you speak, it shows that they are listening. However, it doesn't stop there.

There is a common belief that if someone is lying to you, they will not make eye contact with you. While this can be true at times, the widely held belief has turned the tide. Since people know that you expect them not to make eye contact if they are lying, many people will do the opposite. As they lie to you, they will purposefully make eye contact with you. But, this type of eye contact feels forced, and the person usually holds their stare for too long. It may even begin to feel uncomfortable.

Clenched Jaw And Furrowed Brows Equal Stress

When someone is experiencing stress, they tend to clench their jaw tighter and furrow their eyebrows. There are many reasons someone reaches this point. It could be that they are uncomfortable with the direction that the conversation is headed. They may feel anxious about the topic that you are discussing. Or, if you aren't talking about something that would be stressful to them, it could be an indication that they aren't listening to what you are saying. They could be thinking about something else that is causing them stress.

Crossed Arms

Some people just naturally cross their arms because they don't know what else to do with them. However, crossed arms can also be a sign of resistance. Many psychologists explain that crossing your arms, or even your legs, is a sign that you are closed off.

What Body Language Communicates About Your Relationship

Body language can be a good indicator of what someone is thinking because many people aren't conscious of what they are doing. Your significant other could be working hard to control what they are saying, but their body language might naturally communicate the truth behind their words.

The body language in your relationship can also help you determine when the relationship is in trouble. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • You don't sit next to each other in the room.

  • You don't walk side-by-side.

  • When you talk, they don't lean in or make eye contact.

  • You use a lot of choppy or aggressive-looking hand gestures.

  • You mock each other instead of mirroring each other.

  • Arms are crossed a lot.

  • There is a lot of eye-rolling.

If you see these troubling signs, it may be time to take action. You may decide to   work on repairing the relationship or determine if it's time for it to end. And remember to examine not just the body language that your significant other is displaying, but your own body language as well.

Repairing Your Relationship

If you are picking up on body language signs from your spouse or significant other that there could be trouble, then you may decide it’s time to start working on repairing the relationship. It could also simply be a sign that you both need to become more aware of what your body language is communicating. Sometimes, we may be reading body language incorrectly. Just because you see some of the signs above happening in your relationship does not necessarily mean that you need to call it quits. It could just be a sign that you both need to work on improving your communication skills.

Counseling can be an effective way to improve a relationship. A non-biased third party can help each of you to analyze your role in the relationship and see what you could be doing differently to make improvements.

Many find that online couples counseling provides a more comfortable setting for talking about issues with their significant other. 

Is couple’s therapy as effective when delivered online? This is a frequent question that people have before signing up for internet-based therapy sessions. Researchers have found, though, that couples therapy can be effective via video conferencing. 


BetterHelp offers therapists that can help you improve your relationship without you ever needing to step foot into their office. The options are not only convenient but more affordable than traditional forms of counseling too. Once you reach out to a therapist, they can help you recognize where the breakdown in communication in your relationship is coming from. Then, they can teach you the skills that you both need to make the improvements that you desire. Take the first step toward a more fulfilling relationship.

For additional help & support with your concerns

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started