It’s exhausting to interpret what your partner means when they send you mixed signals. You might even feel like you’re in a dating game of bluff and betrayal.
Luckily, relationship experts say these miscommunications sometimes indicate a bigger problem. Instead, they can result from conflicting attachment styles and a lack of clear communication.
Don’t Take It Personal
Mixes are often misinterpreted and can confuse us about the intentions behind someone’s behavior. If you’re experiencing this, it may be Time to get a little help deciphering what is being said and done.
According to relationship expert Shirani Pathak, LCSW, mixed signals can happen in dating, romantic relationships, friendships, and professional and family relationships. They can also indicate a more significant problem, such as an inability to communicate effectively.
If you’re unsure whether or not a person is sending you mixed signals, it’s helpful to remember that they are simply trying to express a range of emotions. That’s why it’s essential not to take them personally.
Instead, try to see the situation as an opportunity for growth and compassion, says Munoz. “Mixed signals are usually an indicator that the person is trying to work through something inside of themselves,” she tells mbg.
She adds that they may be conflicted and want opposing or contradictory things, such as absolute freedom or safety and security. By putting their conflict into perspective, they can become more patient with themselves and open to hearing what you have to say.
One of the most common types of mixed signals is what relationship experts call breadcrumbing, which happens when a person texts you frequently, talk about a future with you, and shares personal information with you, couples’ therapist Alicia Munoz, LPC, tells mbg. But then they ghost you or change their behavior or tone, she adds.
But, if the signals make you anxious or uncomfortably unsettled, you should confront them about it and figure out what is really happening. Then, you can decide if this is a good idea or not.
Don’t Get Angry
If you’ve ever been in a relationship, chances are you’ve come across someone who’s giving you mixed signals. These can be confusing, but they are sometimes good.
They’re simply a form of miscommunication, says couples’ therapist Alicia Munoz, LPC. She adds that they could also act guarded or avoid eye contact with you. For example, a person might text you often about the future of their relationship but then suddenly ghost you or avoid you for no reason.
These are all just signs that they have an inner conflict, she explains. They may want opposed or contradictory things, like absolute freedom and security. If you see that they’re struggling with their issues, you can get them to work through those emotions more healthily.
Another common sign of mixed signals is breadcrumbing, which occurs when someone texts you often and talks about a future with you but then suddenly ghosts you, avoid you for no apparent reason, or acts guarded, Munoz explains. This can be incredibly frustrating because it’s a sign that they are waiting for someone else to come along.
It’s hard to know whether these people are trying to play games with you or are just not good communicators, but they may mean what they say. That doesn’t mean that you should give them a pass, though.
Just be careful about getting angry. This can be not nice because it can cause you to become defensive and not communicate properly with your partner, which isn’t healthy. Instead, focus on your emotions and how you feel about the situation. It might not be easy to do, but it’s essential to do so if you’re struggling with this in your relationship.
Don’t Take It Too Personal
Trying to decipher mixed signals can feel like washing your hair with mud. It can also be exhausting and may yield different results.
The best way to prevent yourself from taking things too personally is by not assuming the person sending you mixed signals is manipulative or wishy-washy, says relationship expert Anjali Pathak. Instead, show up as your true self, she says. If you do, they will interpret your behavior correctly.
It can also be helpful to recognize when someone is trying to send you mixed signals because they are going through an emotional tug-of-war with themselves, suggests couples’ therapist Alicia Munoz, LPC. She says these kinds of mixed signals often occur when dealing with internal conflicts, such as wanting to be accessible yet feeling unsafe or secure.
Another common sign that a person is giving you mixed signals is that they act interested one minute and distant the next. This can happen when a person is flirting or getting to know you. They might steal glances at you but don’t look at you the next time you’re around.
These are all signs that a person is trying to send you mixed signals, but it’s important to remember that they’re not acting this way intentionally, explains Pathak. They could be having a hard time and need to understand what’s happening in their head and how to express it.
However, if these mixed signals make you uncomfortable or affect your mental well-being.s Time to discuss the situation with them. Then, you can decide whether to continue dating them or not.
Getting mixed signals from someone you’re dating can be pretty frustrating. It can make you feel like you’re playing a game of telephone with them, and it can also make it harder to know when they are serious about you.
To get the most out of these miscommunications, it’s essential to accurately interpret your partner’s messages and understand what they mean. This can be tough, especially in the early stages of a relationship, when you’re still trying to build trust and intimacy, but it is possible.
Relationship therapist Shirani Pathak, LCSW, tells HealthyWay that mixed signals usually mean your partner struggles with an inner conflict. They may want opposed or contradictory things, such as absolute freedom, safety, and security.
When you can see that your partner’s messed-up communication is a sign of a deeper issue, it’ll be much easier to figure out how to respond to them and move on. That doesn’t mean you should ignore them, but you shouldn’t give in to their annoyances and try to play along.
As for how to deal with this type of miscommunication, you can try a few different strategies to figure out what they’re actually trying to tell you. For example, you can talk to them about why they’re having such a hard time communicating and ask if there’s something specific they’re trying to say.
Finally, feel free to speak your mind if the mixed signals are starting to take a toll on your mental health and well-being. This can be a big step towards figuring out what’s going on, and it’ll help you feel more in control of your life and relationship.
Don’t Overthink It
Communication is critical to a healthy relationship; mixed signals can make this even more difficult. The person you love may be telling you one thing but doing another. This can be confusing and frustrating, especially when you’re still trying to figure out their true feelings about you.
Fortunately, there are ways to accurately interpret your partner’s behavior when they’re not telling you the truth. Read on for more tips!
Don’t Overthink It
When you feel confused about a relationship, the last thing you need is to start overthinking. This can lead to a mental mess called cognitive dissonance, in which distress stems from being caught between two different ideas or values.
Get Some Background Information
If you’re getting a lot of mixed signals from your partner, it could be that they have some bad news or are dealing with some other issues. Take some time to look into their life and see if this is the case.
Give it Time
Regardless of the reason, these mixed signals should be exemplary. They might even ease up with Time, so don’t let them ruin your relationship before it even has a chance to take off! “Mixed signals are a normal part of dating,” says relationship expert Alysha Pathak.
Keep in Mind That People Don’t Always Send Mixed Signals
While there are times when mixed signals are a sign of poor communication or wishy-washy behavior, they can also be a sign that your partner is trying to find themselves. They might want to keep you on the back burner until they meet someone better.