There's a lot that goes into building a strong relationship—great communication, physical and emotional intimacy, and respect, just to name a few key factors—but one aspect of a healthy partnership that often goes unacknowledged is body language. Surprisingly, how your body naturally reacts when your partner is present says quite a lot about your bond.
"Body language tells us about how someone we are interacting or talking to really feels or thinks on the inside, revealing even more than actual words do," says Mary Ann Mercer, Psy.D., psychologist and co-founder of Positive Life Answers. "It can reveal a lot on the status of your own relationship and, in particular situations, when you are addressing a topic with your significant other." Here, the experts share the six body language signs that indicate that you and your partner have a strong relationship.
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Touching each other often.
If you and your partner are super handsy—as in touching each other when one passes by and holding hands when walking down the street—it's a sure sign of a loving and solid relationship, according to Dr. Mercer. "Holding hands reveals emotional closeness and long-lasting love in a relationship," she says. "If you can't remember the last time your partner or spouse took your hand, be aware that something is going on between the both of you."
Mirroring each other's movements.
Mimicking the body language of your significant other is a sign of strong connection, according to Laurel House, dating and relationship expert and host of the Man Whisperer podcast. "While you can create the synchronicity, with connected couples it often happens naturally," she says. "Just as two people might yawn together, a subconscious sign that there is a connection, or desire for a connection, mirroring body language makes individuals feel not alone."
Strong eye contact.
Often, what you're thinking about is expressed through your eyes—they hold a significant amount of emotion. "Sometimes it's a lingering look as the looker gets lost in the moment, and other times it's just a few moments that say so much," says House. "If you're standing on opposite sides of the room and lock eyes you're immediately connected—like a moment in a sci-fi movie, time seems to freeze, and so do all of your surroundings."
Leaning in towards each other.
Whether you're standing across the room or sitting next to each other, leaning in the direction of your partner shows that you are interested in their thoughts and feeling, Dr. Mercer explains. "Leaning away means you may be disinterested in connecting with your partner while leaning your upper body toward your partner and lining up your face with theirs shows that you totally adore them," she says
If you and your partner kiss each other hello and goodbye on a regular basis, it's a strong sign of a healthy relationship. And, if your kisses last several seconds, you're likely in an even healthier relationship. "Kissing is obviously intimate, but depending how you and your partner do it, it can mean different things for couples. For example, kissing on the lips is the most intimate," says Dr. Mercer. "Importantly, there's a difference between a peck on the lips that you might give a first-date partner or family member."
Showing open palms.
Talking to someone who's crossing their arms may seem like the most closed-off stance, but Jacob Kountz, marriage and family therapist trainee and clinic manager at California State University, says what really matters is their hands. "Research has found that showing the palms of our hands during conversation displays openness, honesty, and directness. Basically the things most people search for in a strong relationship," he says. "Moreover, it's also good to pay close attention to hand gestures while they are speaking—for instance, if they are using hand gestures while speaking and it doesn't seem exaggerated, chances are they are doing their best to be warm and direct with you."