How To Stop Walking On Eggshells In Your Relationship (Because F**k That!)

Do you regularly tip toe around your partner out of paranoia that you’ll upset or offend them? That’s super f**ked up. When you’re coupled up with someone, there should be mutual respect and a willingness to hear each other out. If that’s not happening, there’s a problem. You shouldn’t have to feel like you can’t express yourself without drama. Here’s how to stop walking on eggshells in your relationship.

Why do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells in your relationship?

  1. You have trauma from past relationships. Maybe you dated someone in the past who constantly criticized or got offended by everything you said. As a result, you started to feel like the only way to avoid your partner’s wrath was to say nothing at all.
  2. You feel insecure. It could be that you’re walking on eggshells in your relationship because you’re scared of messing it up. If it’s a new relationship or one that’s a bit strained, you’re going to second-guess everything you say, worrying that one wrong move will destroy everything. The question is, if you’re that stressed in a relationship, is it even worth keeping?
  3. You and your partner don’t communicate effectively. You’ve heard it a million times: Communication is key in every relationship. But if you’re bad at it, it’s only a matter of time before your wires get crossed. That can lead to unnecessary arguments and misunderstandings.
  4. There’s a serious power imbalance in the relationship. If your partner wears the pants in the relationship, so to speak, this is a real possibility. You may feel like you need to be extra cautious not to upset them or rock the boat in any way, and that’s no way to live. You have to be able to speak your mind!
  5. You or your partner has mental health issues. Anxiety is a bitch. If you suffer from it, you know all too well that it can heighten your stress levels and affect every element of your life, including your relationships. You might approach your partner with trepidation for reasons totally unrelated to them.
  6. You’re in an abusive relationship. No explanations here. If saying something your partner doesn’t like ends with you being verbally, emotionally, mentally, physically, or sexually abused, this is not okay.

Is walking on eggshells a red flag?

Feeling like you can’t stop walking on eggshells with your partner can be a warning sign that there are underlying issues in the relationship that need to be addressed. This isn’t a definite red flag. That being said, it’s important to pay attention to how you feel in the relationship and what’s causing you to feel that way.

If you’re constantly worried about saying or doing the wrong thing around your partner, it can be a sign that you’re not feeling safe. Not only that, you may not feel supported or respected in the relationship, and that’s some serious bullsh*t. Obviously, if your partner is abusive in any way, that’s a definite red flag and should never be ignored or tolerated.

If you’re experiencing this kind of dynamic in your relationship, it’s important to seek help from a trusted friend or family member. You can also reach out to a thrapist or a domestic violence hotline. No one deserves to feel unsafe or unsupported in their relationship. Plus, there are resources available to help you find the support and guidance you need. The dynamic needs to change or you need to leave.

How to stop walking on eggshells in your relationship

  1. Find the source of your anxiety. Take some time to do some self-reflection here. What’s making you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner? Is it a specific behavior or attitude they have? Do you have unresolved issues or communication problems in the relationship? Figuring out why you feel like you have to tiptoe around them is the first step to changing the dynamic.
  2. Communicate openly and honestly. Don’t compartmentalize how you’re feeling. Even if you feel like the issue might be yours rather than your partners, it’s still important to fess up and share what’s in your head and heart. You’re supposed to be a team, which means they should want the best for you and your relationship.
  3. Set boundaries and hold your partner to them. If their behavior is making you feel anxious or uncomfortable, it’s important to set clear boundaries and communicate them to your partner. For example, if they’re overly critical or tend to say hurtful things, let them know that it’s not okay and that you won’t tolerate that kind of behavior. That’s the only way you’ll ever stop walking on eggshells in your relationship.
  4. Seek outside support. A trained professional can help you develop coping strategies and communication skills to improve your relationship. Meanwhile, your family and friend group will give you moral support and encouragment. It’s way too easy to lose yourself in toxic relationships. They’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.
  5. Consider leaving the relationship. If you feel like it’s impossible to stop walking on eggshells in your relationship because your partner refuses to address problematic behaviors or because you just don’t feel comfortable with them, it may be time to throw in the towel. There’s no reason to force things that clearly aren’t working.
  6. Practice self-care. Taking care of your own physical and emotional needs can help you feel more grounded and confident in yourself, which can in turn reduce feelings of anxiety or fear. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating well, and doing things that make you feel whole and happy. You can’t pour from an empty cup, as they say.
  7. Focus on positive aspects of the relationship. While it’s important to address any toxic sh*t going on in your relationship, it could also be helpful to focus on aspects of the relationship that are working well. That can help counterbalance the bad stuff and make you realize it’s worth working on fixing the issus.
  8. Try some assertiveness. This is one of the best steps to take towards being able to stop walking on eggshells in your relationship. However, if that’s what you’re used to having to do, it can be really challenging. Being assertive means standing up for yourself and communicating your needs and boundaries in a clear and respectful way.  The more you assert yourself and refuse to back down, the more respect you command and the easier it becomes to stand up for yourself and truly speak your mind.
  9. Consider couples therapy. While you might think couples therapy is a sign of doom for your relationship, that’s not the case. If you and your partner are both committed to improving the relationship, it can be a super helpful resourcee for addressing communication issues and improving your overall dynamic.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill