If there’s one person in this world who should love you exactly for who you are, it’s your partner.
(Well, and your mom. But let’s disregard that for a second.)
Unfortunately, not all partnerships are on that level of loving acceptance.
If you don’t make a great match but are together anyway or if your partner isn’t fully invested in the relationship, it might give rise to some hidden issues bubbling underneath the surface – such as them secretly wishing you were just a tiny bit different.
And while some people express that desire openly – “Why do you never do X, I’d like it if you did more Z, stop doing Y, it’s annoying” – others may try to be more polite about it, wrapping it up in subtleties and passing it off as something minor (even though it is not, in fact, minor at all).
Want to know if your partner secretly wishes you were different? These are the 9 signs to watch out for.
1) They give subtle hints
My ex once told me, “Have you ever wondered about dyeing your hair blond?”
“No, why?” I replied.
Right. He basically told me he’d like to see me blond but didn’t have the courage to ask openly.
Paying attention to subtle hints of that nature is a very effective way to recognize if your partner wishes you were a little bit different.
And it doesn’t have to be just about your appearance, either. Your partner can hint at certain personality traits, hobbies, or career paths.
No matter what it is, they’ll usually pretend it’s no big deal when you push the issue but won’t actually explain what made them ask in the first place, which is a big sign they don’t want to disclose their true intentions.
2) They talk about specific people they like way too often
If your partner mentions their friend Caroline once in a while, it’s no big deal.
But if they bring up how amazing Caroline is on a weekly basis, there might be something more serious going on.
“She always dresses really chic, you know?”
“She’s so driven, it’s really inspiring.”
“We’re just friends, don’t worry, I just really like her working style.”
Now, Caroline might very well be just a friend, but that doesn’t mean it’s nice to hear all that praise about her day in and day out.
What’s more, the fact that your partner mentions her so often in front of you might signal that they’re trying to point out what they’d like *you* to do without direct confrontation.
If they like the way Caroline dresses, maybe that’s also a comment on how *you* dress.
Of course, this is a very passive-aggressive way of dealing with relationship issues.
An honest and kind partner will approach you about a specific problem without dragging Caroline into it. Then again, a kind partner who loves you for who you are probably won’t feel the need to compare you to other people in the first place.
3) They aren’t particularly fond of your friends
Whether we like it or not, our friends often reflect who we are. If your boyfriend hangs out with men whose behavior you detest, chances are… he acts the exact same way when you’re not around.
This is why the way your partner talks about your friends is a good way to gauge how they perceive you as well.
You should obviously take this with a grain of salt – we’ve all had a friend who wasn’t on the same wavelength as us, and yet we continued the friendship out of habit – but it’s useful to take it into consideration.
If your partner often complains that your best friend Daniella goes shopping too much and is too materialistic, maybe they’re also trying to hint at the fact that they’d like you to tone down your own shopping habits.
Pay attention to what they say about your friends and – if appropriate to the situation at hand – ask them if they think the same thing about you. If your partner gets all nervous or defensive, there’s a good chance you’ve just seen through them.
4) They send you videos or articles they find “interesting”
That ex who wanted me to go blond? He also had a tendency to send me an occasional video or article he found “interesting”.
When I opened it, it was a blog about how to use common sense around the house or a forum on curing clumsiness.
Is there a more passive-aggressive way to tell your partner you want them to change?
Didn’t think so.
If your partner doesn’t like certain behaviors of yours, they should tell you face-to-face and maybe then they ought to send a few helpful websites.
5) They never take any interest in your hobbies
When we fall in love, we want to get to know everything about the other person.
Suddenly, we find them endlessly fascinating – we strive to learn what moves them, what drives them, what interests them, and what makes them happy.
But if your partner’s never interested in your hobbies or passion projects (for example, if they never ask you about it, don’t put in the effort to celebrate your minor achievements with you, or never try it out for themselves just to spend more time with you)…
…it might mean they don’t like you as you are in the first place.
A partner who loves you will genuinely care.
A partner who wishes you were different? Not so much.
6) They keep encouraging you to embrace their own hobbies
The other side of the coin is adamantly trying to get you to enjoy their own hobbies.
I have a friend who loves hiking and cycling. He spends most of his free time out in nature, which also means that he wants a partner who has the same lifestyle and goes on dates with him in the great outdoors.
There have been a couple of times when he dated someone who very much wasn’t an outdoorsy type, but instead of breaking up, he kept trying to “convert” them to his hobby.
As you can probably guess, the relationships never worked out in the end. They simply weren’t a match, and no matter how much he tried to make his girlfriends fall in love with hiking up a mountain, they just wanted to curl up on a sofa with a good book.
If you don’t love the same things as your partner, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It just means your lifestyles may not be a match.
Instead of letting them force you into shoes that don’t fit you, find a pair that’s comfortable and stick by it.
7) They’re affectionate only when you play along
Let’s say your significant other wants you to go to cooking classes together. You hate cooking, but you decide to go and give it a try for their sake.
You’re met with so much affection it makes you feel like you’re on cloud nine. Your partner keeps praising you, hugging you, and generally acting very warm toward you.
Ultimately, though, you realize that cooking just isn’t your thing. You’ve completed the course, but moving forward, you don’t put as much effort into cooking at home as your partner would have liked.
Suddenly, their attitude changes. You’re not playing along with their expectations of you, which means that the access to that loving part of them has been cut off with one clean sweep.
No matter if your partner’s doing this intentionally or accidentally, it usually means they don’t accept you in your entirety and wish you were different.
8) They pick fights a lot
This doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone (some people hate confrontation, for example, so they’ll stick to passive-aggressive remarks and hints).
But combined with all the other signs on this list, this one is just yet another confirmation that your authentic self isn’t being appreciated.
Oftentimes, people will pick arguments about minor issues because they’re itching for a fight for completely different reasons.
For instance, Peter might be irritated with Claire because he hates how messy she is, so he’ll keep causing arguments about one messy shelf in the bathroom instead of discussing the overarching issue in depth.
The fight you’re having with your partner about the recycling bin may not be about the bin at all but rather about your lackluster attitude to sustainability and societal issues as a whole.
9) They never compliment you
Lastly, the lack of certain gestures often tells you just as much as a fight would.
When you’re dating someone, compliments should be on the daily or weekly menu. They’re how you show one another your appreciation and love.
If your partner never compliments you, though…you know what it might mean.
It’s time to talk and lay everything out in the open. It’s time to be honest, once and for all.