8 subtle signs your partner is “pocketing” your relationship, according to psychology

If you’ve ever felt like your partner is keeping your relationship under wraps, you might be familiar with the term “pocketing.”

This is a term used in psychology to describe a situation where one person in a relationship hides the other from their close circle of friends, family, or social media followers.

Being pocketed can leave you feeling insecure and questioning your partner’s intentions. You may wonder why they seem reluctant to fully integrate you into their lives.

Understanding the subtle signs of pocketing can be tricky. But according to psychology, there are some telltale signs that suggest your partner might be pocketing your relationship.

Gaining awareness of these signs might help you manage this complex situation.

1) They avoid introducing you to important people in their life

This could be one of the most telling signs that your partner might be “pocketing” you.

If you’ve been together for a while, but you’re still a stranger to their friends, family, or even coworkers, it’s worth asking why.

For example, they might keep coming up with excuses about why it’s not the right time to meet their parents or friends.

Or perhaps they are always reluctant to invite you to social gatherings where you might meet people significant in their life.

While everyone has their own timeline when it comes to introducing their partner to their circle, persistent avoidance could be a red flag. This could indicate that they’re trying to keep you separate from the rest of their life.

It’s fair and reasonable to want to be acknowledged as an important part of your partner’s life. If they continually dodge opportunities for you to meet their loved ones, it might be time to have a conversation about it.

2) They share a lot about you on social media

Surprisingly, an overzealous social media display can also be a sign of pocketing.

While it may seem counter to the traditional idea of pocketing, consider this:

Oversharing on social media could be a way for your partner to control the narrative of your relationship.

For instance, they might frequently post pictures or updates about the two of you but only portray certain aspects of the relationship.

You might notice that these posts are more about showing off rather than genuinely sharing moments of connection. Or maybe they’re always keen on taking selfies but hesitant about including you in more meaningful parts of their life.

This could mean that they’re maintaining a certain image or feeding a persona. It allows them to show everyone that they’re in a relationship without having to actually involve you in their day-to-day life or introduce you to people who matter.

Remember, a healthy relationship isn’t defined by the number of posts on social media, but by genuine integration and mutual respect in each other’s lives.

3) They’re often unavailable or unreachable

If your partner is consistently hard to reach or often cancels plans at the last minute, it could be another subtle sign of pocketing.

In a healthy relationship, both partners make an effort to spend quality time together and maintain open lines of communication.

However, if your partner is always busy, frequently goes hours without responding to messages, or often cancels plans, it could suggest that they are not prioritizing your relationship.

Despite being in a relationship, you might feel like you’re in a long-distance one without the geographical separation.

Interestingly, people who engage in pocketing behavior may do so as a defense mechanism.

Avoidant attachment style refers to those who value their independence and often fear commitment or emotional intimacy.

They may engage in behaviors like pocketing to maintain their sense of autonomy while still keeping a romantic connection.

Being aware of these patterns can help you understand where your partner is coming from and open up a conversation about your needs and expectations in the relationship.

4) They don’t involve you in future plans

Couple talking and listening to each other 1 8 subtle signs your partner is "pocketing" your relationship, according to psychology

It’s natural for a relationship to start thinking about the future, whether it’s planning a vacation, attending a wedding, or just picturing life down the line.

If your partner seems to avoid including you in their future plans, it could be another sign of pocketing.

Perhaps they talk vaguely about the future or change the subject when you bring up potential plans. Or maybe they make significant decisions without consulting you, like booking a trip or moving to a new place.

It can be hurtful and confusing when the person you care about doesn’t seem to envision a shared future.

But remember, it’s not a reflection of your worth or desirability. It’s more about them and their readiness for a committed relationship.

5) They steer clear of deep conversations

While it’s completely normal for some people to open up more slowly than others, consistently avoiding heartfelt discussions could be another sign of pocketing.

Let’s say you want to talk about where the relationship is headed, or you want to share your feelings about something important. But every time you try, your partner steers the conversation back to more superficial topics.

This might leave you feeling like you’re stuck at the shallow end of the relationship, unable to move forward.

But don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone has their own pace when it comes to opening up emotionally, and it’s important not to force these conversations.

But if your partner repeatedly avoids intimate discussions, it might be worth addressing this issue with them, as open and honest communication is key in any relationship.

6) They are vague about your relationship status

Have you ever tried to understand where you stand with someone and found their responses to be vague?

If your partner is avoiding labeling your relationship or is unclear about where things are headed, it could be another sign of pocketing.

I once dated someone who would always refer to me as a “friend” when we were around others, despite our romantic involvement. This left me feeling unsure and confused about our relationship status.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, you are not alone.

It’s perfectly normal to want clarity and commitment in a relationship, but if your partner is continually vague about your status, it might be time to have an open and honest conversation about what you both want from the relationship.

7) You’re never their plus-one

When special occasions roll around—be it a wedding, a company party, or a family gathering—and your partner is consistently going solo, it’s time to pause and analyze.

If you’re never their plus-one, despite being in a relationship, it could be another sign of “pocketing”.

It’s hard to swallow, but the truth is, being excluded from significant events in your partner’s life can be an indication that they’re not ready to acknowledge your place in it.

As much as it stings, you deserve someone who is proud to have you by their side, no matter the occasion.

8) Your instincts tell you so

Finally, the most important thing to remember is this: trust your instincts.

If something feels off in your relationship, pay attention to that feeling.

You might be able to relate to some or all of these signs, or maybe just a few. But if you’re constantly feeling like you’re being “pocketed”, it’s worth taking a hard look at your relationship.

Your feelings are valid, and it’s important to communicate them with your partner. A healthy and fulfilling relationship involves mutual respect, open communication, and a willingness to share your lives with one another.

If you feel that you’re being kept in the dark more often than not, it’s time to trust your gut and address the issue.

You deserve to be in a relationship where you feel valued, appreciated, and fully integrated into each other’s lives.

Final thoughts

Recognizing the signs of “pocketing” can be a tough pill to swallow.

But remember, understanding these signs is the first step towards gaining clarity in your relationship.

This article is here to provide you with insights and help you discern if “pocketing” is happening in your relationship.

But ultimately, the power lies with you to decide what to do with this information.

Time spent cultivating a happy and healthy relationship is never wasted.

Picture of Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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