TikTok users are convinced *this* move is a relationship red flag, so we asked body language experts to weigh in

Does walking ahead mean trouble for couples? The pros spill

the lower half of a couple's body walking outside in the fall where the man is ahead of the woman
(Image credit: Guido Mieth/Getty Images)

Walking ahead of your partner doesn't *seem* like catastrophic behavior, but is it a make-it-or-break-it maneuver in a relationship? TikTok says yes. 

Dating experts on the platform seem to suggest waving the red flags and sounding the alarms when your S.O. is far ahead of you on the sidewalk. This not only indicates that you are both out of sync literally and figuratively, but it suggests your partner is unconcerned with your needs. 

Some people scrolling through social media are not quite convinced. Is the dating dealbreaker wreaking havoc on FYPs as serious as some profess it to be? We spoke to a dating expert and body language expert to figure out what the cause could be, so lace up your sneaks. (Don't worry, we kid!)

Is your S.O. walking ahead of you a red flag?

More often than not, a partner walking ahead of their significant other isn't necessarily trouble in paradise...at least not right away.

"So if your partner does this, or someone you're out on a date with does this, your first thought should be, 'What's going on with them?' Are they distracted? Are they stressed? Do they just have a lot of things on their mind," says body language expert Patti Wood. "The other thing to do is say, 'What's going on with the circumstances' so it doesn't trigger you immediately to make a judgment."

It could be an oversight; it could be that your partner is preoccupied; perhaps he or she just needs some space and it has absolutely nothing to do with your connection.

"There's a lot of reasons why a guy could be walking ahead of a woman that has nothing to do with the way he's valuing her or wanting to protect her, so we want to take it with a grain of salt," says dating expert Rikki Dymond

Both play devil's advocate and suggest that it's possible a partner walking in front of you could be a sign of protection or asserting their authority. If you're ahead, perhaps that means you're simply confident. There are plenty of scenarios to explore, and it's not always easy to pinpoint an explanation. (You might recall similar issues with the TikTok-famous Green Line Theory.) 

One thing that remains consistent, regardless of where you and your honey are while out and about, is how the speed makes you feel.


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When to be concerned if your partner walks ahead of you?

If this is a consistent behavior you're going to want to take note. 

"The best thing that you can do is think how it makes you feel," Dymond says. "Is it something that's happening all the time? Is he always ahead and you're feeling like you're rushing to catch up and you're not important in his life? That's a conversation you want to have."

A time to reevaluate your connection is when you bring the situation up to your S.O. and insist that the behavior is making you upset and uncomfortable. If he or she decides to brush it off and not make any effort to change, that's when you'll want to take a step back. 

"That's a huge red flag and something to consider because he's not valuing your opinion or your feelings," Dymond adds. 

On the other hand, Wood says, "If you don't feel comfortable asking for what you want and need, that's an issue."

So while yes, it could indicate that relationship dynamics are off, walking ahead of someone isn't necessarily a black-and-white situation. Don't jump to conclusions, even if it seems your S.O. is jumping leaps and bounds ahead of you. There's more to assess before determining your connection is unsalvageable. 

Rikki Dymond
Rikki Dymond

Rikki Dymond is a dating coach and Flirtini dating expert. Her mission is to "help women reconnect with themselves and use their natural feminine energy to bring forward mature and lasting love."

Patti Wood

Patti Wood is a body language expert with over 25 years of her experience. She's been featured on CNN, PBS and Good Morning America, to name a few, to discuss her expertise. She's available for one-on-one coaching in presentation skills, interviewing and body language coaching. She's also written several books, including Success Signals: Understanding Body Language. 

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.