Something seems strained, and your relationship isn't exactly comfortable for one or both of you. Whether you're having an awkward moment or the whole relationship is filled with stress, fixing it means getting to the root of the problem. Before you jump ship, keep in mind that for many couples awkwardness is simply a stage. When you know the cause, both you and your partner can open up and begin to move towards an honest resolution.
Have a discussion about appropriate in-public humor. Sometimes awkwardness is due to nothing more than mismatched ideas on what type of joking around is acceptable in mixed company. If one partner publicly engages in aggressive or offensive humor -- such as making fun of someone's faults -- the other partner often feels personally embarrassed, according to relationship researcher Jeff Hall in the "Relationships Matters!" podcast from Chaplain College in Burlington, Vermont. Similarly, if your significant other acts silly or over-the-top in social situations, you may perceive judgement from friends, family members and other acquaintances, which in turn may lead to awkward moments. Wait until you're in private to talk to your partner. Try to come to an agreement about acceptable limits on humor in public.
Look deeper at those awkward silences. You make a comment, he clams up. He says something and you get quiet enough to hear his nervous breath. Misinterpreting these quiet moments can quickly stop your relationship in its tracks, according to licensed psychologist Suzanne Phillips in "Understanding the Sounds of Silence in Your Relationship" for Psych Central. If you're the silent one, clarify the reason behind it for your partner. If he's not talking, don't assume you know what's going on in his mind. Ask him what the cause is and accept the answer. Pressing him about the issue may make the silence even more awkward.
Look at yourself and honestly evaluate how judgmental you are being. Your judgment of an uncomfortable situation isn't necessarily the same as your partner's. Perhaps you feel extremely awkward about public displays of affection while your partner thinks them romantic. By having a frank and empathetic discussion about what you both feel comfortable with, you will make strides to eliminate discomfort between you, and you also may strengthen your relationship on whole.
Make a decision. If you can't get past the awkward moments or stage, you may need to move on. For example, your guy tells you that he wants to have a "big" talk and you think that he is about to propose. You eagerly smile and when he starts talking you accidentally blurt out, "Yes, I'll marry you" as he says, "I want to slow things down." This major moment replaying in your mind may put a wedge between the two of you. If the awkward feelings don't gradually start to dissolve, living with the constant strain will only hurt your relationship. On the other hand, if both of you can let go of the moment, have a serious discussion about your relationship and get past it, you may go on to have a long and happy relationship.
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