Ever had that uneasy sick feeling in your gut, wondering if your partner is about to break up with you?
I know I have, during one ill-fated relationship, I told my best friend that if I had known I was boarding the Titanic when the relationship began, I wouldn’t have agreed to it in the first place. Perhaps in a spontaneous fit of masochism, I felt destined to continue for the foreseeable future (three whole days after that).
Not shockingly, my gut feeling turned out to be right.
Starting to feel like your partner is pulling away? Here are nine signs that a breakup might be coming.
1. Communication falls off.
Those little messages in the middle of the day drop off and become nonexistent. The little notes on the mirror or in fact any communication becomes scarce. Speaking to each other starts to feel like a labored chore.
2. Lots of conflict.
Petty disagreements abound. Disagreements escalate more quickly than they used to. Fighting is never fun, but faster escalation of your arguments is a sign. If you two always quibbled over a certain topic and it has gone from a minor disagreement to a major battle, this is a bad breakup sign.
3. Your partner no longer cares to fight.
This happens often with women, and I can vouch for the idea that if I’m telling you I don’t like something, it means I still care to mention it and haven’t started planning my exit yet. If you’re finding that they just don’t seem to care anymore, this is bad news.
4. Sudden shiny, new life goals.
Sudden interest in veterinary education plan requiring them to move across the country? Check. Difficulty of you coming along for new plan? Check.
If you are just getting to know them, then this doesn’t often apply, since you are still finding out what makes them tick. However, if you are finding they have sudden new interests that don’t include you or would be hard for you to do together, be wary.
5. They start acting out.
This one stems from a total lack of caring what you think anymore and/or knowing that they need a change but not being ready or too cowardly to make one. People who are on the way out the door begin living for themselves and often will subconsciously sabotage a relationship in hopes that you’ll leave them.
Have they suddenly started acting uncharacteristically cranky and cruel for no reason?
Acting out is a big sign that things might be starting to go off the rails and/or that your relationship isn’t so great in the first place. It’s definitely worth a conversation to figure out what is going on.
6. Lots of long nights at the office.
Is your partner suddenly working late frequently?
If they are suddenly accepting a lot of overtime that they passed up before, this can be a sign that they are about to leave or they are cheating. Many people who are unhappy in their relationships start to distance themselves by throwing themselves into their work.
7. Sudden renewed interest in their appearance.
When guys are eyeing the door, they often become very aware of their appearance to the opposite sex. If they let their appearance slide a little during your relationship, suddenly they are interested in going to the gym, dressing better and fixing themselves up more.
A tell tale sign of this is when they don’t seem to be interested in including you in fitness activities. For example, in the past they might have suggested that you hit the gym together, suddenly they start going solo.
8. The nagging gut feeling that something isn’t right.
Only you know if this is true for you, but if you have had that feeling that something isn’t right, you’re probably right. Honor your feelings and have a conversation with them in a non-accusatory fashion. Ask if they are happy in your relationship. Check in with them gently.
9. You feel clingier than usual.
This one coincides with the bad feeling in your gut. Often when one person is pulling away, it sends the other partner into a mode where they start to question their partner’s motives and it sets off a negative, push and pull cycle.
For example, the man notices that the woman is acting aloof and starts to worry about what is going on. So he starts questioning her about things he has never worried about before. He gets more clingy and tries harder. This freaks her out and makes her pull even further away. This cycle is dangerous because one person becoming clingy and insecure can drive the other one away without there actually being a problem to start with.
Keep in mind that these breakup signs are not set in stone, and just one without some of the others might mean nothing. As always, it’s better to have a conversation than freak out and start boxing up your stuff in order to strike first.