What Does Walking On Eggshells Mean? How To Work On Your Relationship and Stop Walking on Eggshells Around Your Partner

By: Stephanie Kirby

Updated November 18, 2021

what does walking on eggshells mean

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Some days, or some moments, they may take things in stride and not get upset. But, there are other times when they have a reaction blown completely out of proportion for the situation. This makes you suspicious of telling them bad news or admitting when you've done something wrong. It could be common for people who feel like their relationship works this way to lie to cover up small things to avoid the outbursts they will receive from their partner by being honest.

Why Do People Act Like They're Walking On Eggshells?

There are many different reasons why your partner may behave the way that they do. It could be that they have a mental health disorder that they're dealing with that affects their behavior.

Another reason why people may have unpredictable responses is that they could be experiencing low self-esteem. When they feel bad about themselves or insecure, it can cause reactions that don't match the situation. For example, asking them to handle situations that they aren't confident they can handle can cause them to react angrily. 

While there are other causes of this type of behavior, the most important thing for you to understand is that it's not appropriate. You should not have to be in a relationship where you're constantly walking on eggshells and waiting to see what type of response and behavior your partner will have. If you are in a relationship like this, you must improve your relationship or add it together.

Steps To Take To Improve Your Relationship And Stop Walking On Eggshells

Start By Working On Yourself

You may not control what anybody else does, but you can take steps to control your behavior. This often takes work but can lead to more empowerment. If your partner is unwilling to work on your relationship, you can still improve it by working on yourself. To stop walking on eggshells, the process can begin with you. You can start by building your self-esteem and examining any areas in your relationship that you could attempt to improve yourself.

The quality of your love life can often be largely dependent on the quality of your wellbeing. While it is not always easy to take the health of your relationship into your own hands, you have the power to improve small things step by step with the help of friends, family, and a trusted therapist.  You can equip yourself with the right knowledge, and after then, you can empower your relationship. Know yourself, honor yourself and love yourself first- yes, you have the power to put your needs first in that relationship. Being the best version of yourself can allow you to thrive in your relationship. Your truth and inner knowing are the marvelous things about you, so it can be very beneficial to do the hard work to strengthen them. This can help better your romantic relationships with others.

Understanding that people are different is another thing that can help you stop walking on eggshells in your romantic relationships.  Relationships can improve when people understand that their way isn't always the only right way, or their take is always the only right take. You may note that we are all differently formed and wired, with different attachment patterns, beliefs, operating different assumption models, different values, sensitivity levels, priorities, and general opinions about life.  This can be one of the easy ways to build solid relationships and stop walking on eggshells. It can help you understand people better and know why they act the way they do, and develop more empathy towards people. 

If you notice that your partner may be walking on eggshells around you, it can be beneficial to find out what you are doing that is upsetting your partner and work on it to improve your relationship. Do you want to be loved more? You can begin to incorporate more loving behaviors. Want to enjoy more peace? Try to incorporate more peace into your relationship. Want to enjoy more compassion and understanding from others? Try to take the time to practice more compassion and understanding towards others too. Want to be better understood? Try to be more understanding.

Improve Your Communication Skills

what does walking on eggshells mean

Walking on Eggshells With Your Partner Can Be Difficult

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Lack of good communication skills can cause a lot of problems in a relationship. If you are not communicating properly with your partner or if they're not communicating properly with you, it can cause you both to feel like you're walking on eggshells. Learning good communication skills can help any relationship. When interacting with people, watch your tone of voice; communicate how you feel to your partner without nagging or beating down their esteem. This will help you stop walking on eggshells around your partner and instead focus on sorting the issue at hand. When you notice something going on with your partner, try to tackle it head-on instead of tiptoeing around one another or walking on eggshells. Instead of making up stories in your head as to what you may have done wrong or what the problem could be, learn to ask straight questions- "Are you upset with me?" "Is there a problem?" "Are you okay?" "Did I do something wrong?" Asking these questions is allowed and encouraged and is one of the easy ways to avoid eggshells, especially if you desire a high-functioning relationship.

Set Boundaries & Stop Walking On Eggshells

If you are tired of walking on eggshells in your relationship, it may be time to set boundaries in that meaningful relationship. It would help determine what you are willing to tolerate and what you aren't and find ways to detach in a situation when you know what happened isn't your fault. You don't always have to be the one to take the blame for someone else's mistakes or inconsistencies. You can also learn how to use different communication skills, one of which is reflective listening which helps you communicate to someone gently and kindly that what they are saying feels offensive to you and that it is not okay that they make you feel that way. It is important to know your limits and set boundaries for yourself and the other person if you want to enjoy your meaningful relationship. If this is something you aren't used to doing, it can be difficult for you to do, and it might not go over well with your partner. However, boundaries help to create healthy relationships and overcome the stress of walking on eggshells. If you need help with this step, talk to a therapist that can guide you through the process.

Moving On From "What Does Walking On Eggshells Mean"

Support Your Partner In Getting Help

If you're walking on eggshells, there is behavior in your partner that needs to change, and this takes work. If they accept this and are willing to make changes, it may take the help of a professional to guide them through the process. You can be a part of this by encouraging them and supporting them in getting help. Make sure to build them up and acknowledge them when you see them working to change their behavior for the better.

Your partner's condition may be caused by an attachment issue or other mental health conditions. They may be going through clinical depression or a case of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Understanding the situation and why they act the way they do will help you stop walking on eggshells around them and instead support them to get the help they need. People who have BPD or are experiencing combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) also need professional help to accept what they are experiencing, how it affects those around them, and the change needed. One of the tips for women and men facing danger from a partner with these conditions is to seek help from friends they trust or seek shelter.

Establish New Rules For Your Relationship Together

When it is easy to communicate with your partner about how their actions have affected you, and you both realize that it was just a misunderstanding, this part can be easy. The affected person gets a better understanding of the situation, and they can stop walking on eggshells afterward. But if you both discover and agree that there is a problem, you both need to collaborate and work on the issues. 

If your partner can see that their behavior is wrong and needs to change, it will go a long way in improving the relationship. If this is the situation that you're in, then work together to establish new rules for your relationship. Together you both can decide what is acceptable and what isn't. Offer support to one another and collaborate; this way, it is easy to stop walking on eggshells and improve your relationship as there is no room for guessing or failed attempts at mind reading. Agree to give clear directions on what works and respect each other's needs and opinions- this gives clarity.

Build Positive New Memories Together instead Of Walking On Eggshells

As your relationship moves from unhealthy to healthy, the two of you must build good memories together. Take time to go on dates and spend time together reconnecting. This will help you remember why you wanted to be with the person in the first place and help you both move past the bad times and stop walking on eggshells.

Work On Identifying Triggers

See if you can identify any triggers that your partner seems to struggle with the most. It could be financial conversations, control issues, or stress over a job. You may not be able to spot the triggers, but if you can, it can help you move forward if your partner is willing to acknowledge the problem. If your partner is unwilling to make changes and stay in the relationship, knowing the triggers can help you be aware and predict their response better.

You May Need To End The Relationship

what does walking on eggshells mean

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If you are the only person willing to work on your relationship, it may be in your best interest to completely end the relationship. Staying in an emotionally abusive, not healthy relationship will take its toll on you over time. Your self-esteem and your self-confidence could diminish. While it can be hard to think about ending the relationship, it's also important that you protect yourself, not just physically but mentally and emotionally. 

You need to love yourself and put yourself first in a healthy relationship. Stop walking on eggshells- it is a poor way to get your exercise done! Why allow yourself to endure an unhealthy relationship when you stop walking on eggshells and enjoy quality, healthy relationships? You can get your self-esteem restored, and your confidence regained and train yourself to better sense the energy of users who want you to turn you into a pretzel to please them.

Couples Counseling For Help

If your partner is willing to go to couples counseling, it can be a great way to improve your relationship, and ReGain is an affordable option to consider. When you're both able to get a perspective from someone outside of your relationship, it can help to take away the game of who's on whose side. A therapist is going to stay impartial and will not choose sides between the two of you. However, they will help you both to realize the behaviors you have that are hurting your relationship and learn strategies that you can use to improve it.

Couples counseling is something that you can do in person with a therapist or with an online therapist. You must find a therapist that both you and your partner are comfortable with. If you're not able to be open and share with the counselor, they're not going to help you very well.

Walking on eggshells is not a way to go forward in a healthy relationship. If this is how you live, you must get help and take steps to improve your situation.


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