Happy Day of YOU, gorgeous! If you’re near a newsstand, please grab JET Magazine (and Essence). I am in JET giving advice on the importance of body language in relationships (and in Essence giving advice about celibacy).
I love sharing advice with you in magazines where I can “laser coach” many more people. I had a much longer conversation with JET than would fit in its pages so I wanted to share more here. Incidentally, the cover features the lovely junior miss, Quvenzhané Wallis, star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Thanks JET!
So what do you need to know about body language? Let’s discuss!
- Why is body language important in a relationship?
- What are six unique ways to communicate your love for someone without saying it? (Please describe why for each gesture)
- Are there specific things men can do and specific things women can do or are all gestures unisex?
- What is the value in saying or not saying “I love you.”?
- How do you know someone loves you if they don’t say it?
- What would you tell couples who may think body language is insignificant?
Why is body language important in a relationship?
Eighty percent of communication is nonverbal. That’s why I advise women and men to pay more attention to how someone says something and their actions more than just their words alone. Your body language communicates your interests on a primal level.
Your body language also shows how you feel about yourself. When I work with women and men on self esteem and dating, the first thing I have them do is physically open up, stand up tall and learn to feel good in their own skin. We’re all most attracted to individuals who are confident and have a strong sense of self worth.
What are 6 unique ways to communicate your love for someone without saying it?
Most relationship issues stem from one partner not feeling seen, appreciated and validated by their partner. Body language can maintain that connection.
Your relationship dies a little every time you see your partner and your face doesn’t light up. A real smile meets the eyes. A genuine smile combined with soft touch says, I enjoy being around you. Laughing together is also an important sign of affection. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Learn to giggle at your gripes.
2. Purposeful touch.
In the beginning, no one has to remind us to touch each other. Subtle touches are flirting cues. The best relationships follow the principle I call “ABF”, “Always Be Flirting.”
Use nonverbal cues to strengthen your relationship. Everytime you touch your partner with love you give them a hit of oxytocin, the bonding hormone. This is why hugging, cuddling, spooning and holding hands is critical in a relationship. A back rub or foot massage will also do the trick. A side benefit: a recent study (link) even shows that oxytocin makes men more likely to stay away from other women.
3. Eyebrow flash.
The eye area offers the most powerful nonverbal communication. Looking into your partner’s eyes with your full attention is loving, attentive, erotic and sensual. Add an eyebrow flash, which is a subtle raise of the brows, combine it with a smile and you’re saying, I am so into you.
4. Active Listening.
You knew to actively listen to your partner when you just met. Maintain this throughout the relationship. Face them, point your legs toward them with open body language and give your full attention when they’re speaking. Repeat their words back to them in some form and mirror their body language so they know that you’re on the same page.
5. Pelvic tilt and rolling hips.
There is a universal pose that men are wired to appreciate in women. The booty pop that emphasizes a healthy waist to hip ratio is endlessly seductive. When you still offer a flirtatious pelvic tilt and walk with rolling hips around your husband, you’re showing that you’re still turned on by him.
6. Walking together.
Walking together and holding hands or linking arms shows that you’re a team. It says, I’m yours and you’re mine. Walking ahead of someone or behind them can indicate aggression, hostility or insecurity.
For bonus points work out together. Working up a sweat, like dancing for example, with your partner synchronizes your energy.
Are there specific things men can do and specific things women can do or are all gestures unisex?
There are definitely differences in how men and women show their interest in each other with body language. If a man is trying to tell whether a woman is into him he should look for the way she unconsciously touches herself around him. She may stroke her hair, her throat or her thigh. She also might touch a wine glass or other object seductively. If she angles her body away from you she may not be interested.
If a man is blinking a lot or rubbing his eyes, those things are considered a tell. What he’s saying may not be the total truth. For women trying to asses men look for the eyebrow raise. This subtle and quick gesture when you meet says he is interested. He will probably also keep his eyebrows raised while you’re talking. This means that he’s open.
What is the value in saying or not saying “I love you”?
By the time anyone says, “I love you” they should be feeling love long enough to make sure that it’s not just lust or infatuation. People show their love in different ways. We all speak different love languages. Loving someone is a choice.
It is important to state “I love you” clearly because one can never assume. You may assume that someone knows how you feel about them but they might not have a clue. Similarly, what one person may interpret as love the other may see as “just hanging out.”
Resist asking someone whether they’re in love with you. Instead say, “I feel like I know how you feel but it would be nice to hear you say it.” One thing’s for sure, never say “I love you” if you don’t mean it.
The funny thing is that all of the men’s advice sites tell men to let the women say it first and the women’s magazines say let the man say it first. No wonder we have communication issues!
For those already in long term relationships there is no value in not saying I love you. No matter how long you’ve been together or whether you’ve said it a million times, your partner still needs that validation.
How do you know someone loves you if they don’t say it?
Reading body language is like having a secret codebook into how your partner is feeling. If you catch him looking at you secretly or gazing into your eyes. He may be in love with you. Men are visual creatures. If he chooses movies with your favorite stars or wants to share his faves with you, you make his heart go thump-thump-thump. He’s probably in love with you. If he buys your favorite foods at the supermarket, he’s thinking for two and most likely in love with you.
For women, if a man introduces and talks about you to his family and friends this means he sees you in his life for the long term. Men don’t like to make mistakes. They don’t introduce every bedmate to their inner circle. If he imagines out loud how it might be to marry you, he is probably in love with you.
If he wants to take care of you and provide for your needs emotionally and practically he may be in love with you.
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