Even when things haven’t been great in your relationship, the idea of breaking up can be depressing and jarring. There’s something so comforting about not being alone, even if things are less than stellar. For this reason, I’ve seen many of my counseling clients go into a deep denial when faced with the possibility of being single again.
It can be a painful process but it’s better to face the situation head-on than be blindsided. If you are feeling unsure in your relationship, here are some signs that you are headed for a breakup.
You aren’t spending time together
When you first get together with a new partner, you will probably want to spend every waking moment with them. It’s natural that, over time, this need will lessen and you will fall into a more normal rhythm as a couple. You might enjoy your comic convention and he might check out a cooking class but, at the end of the day, you still look forward to having dinner together and sharing the details from your respective days.
If, however, you’ve stopped wanting to hang out or find yourselves making excuses or other plans to avoid “couple time,” your relationship might be running its course.
Pro tip: In situations like this, think about the last time you really spent time together. If it’s been a while, ask yourself when things changed and why. Feel free to discuss this with your partner.
You haven’t had sex in a while
Just like with everything else, sex is probably most intense right at the beginning of a relationship. After all, you are just getting to know each other and those early days of exploration are so much fun! Over time, though, it’s normal for desire to wane a bit but, for the most part, you should still want to be intimate with your partner.
If you haven’t been doing the deed lately or if, when you do, it’s completely lackluster, it might be a sign that things are coming to an end (no pun intended).
Pro tip: Find out if your partner is happy with your sex life. You might just need to spice things up a bit to reignite the fire!
You’re not making an effort
In the early days of dating, you probably went the extra mile when it came to looking good and making a great impression. Whether it’s wearing a special outfit or planning a romantic evening at home, we often make a real effort to give our significant other the attention that we think they deserve.
Many couples will stop trying as hard once they feel more secure in the relationship but most will still try to do little things to let their partner know they care. If the kind gestures and courtesies have all but ended, you might want to prepare for singlehood.
Pro tip: Pick up their favorite snack from the store or let them know how impressed you are by their commitment to their workouts and see if they return the favor!
No one is talking about the future
One of the main reasons we couple up is so that we can build a future with someone. Some people wants kids, some want dogs, and others just want to cohabitate in a tiny house in the middle of nowhere. Whatever the vision, most dream of settling down with that special partner as we navigate our way through life. When those types of reveries and discussions come to an end, something is definitely wrong.
Pro tip: Try to picture your life with your significant other five years and then ten years down the road. If this makes you uncomfortable or seems impossible, your relationship could be on its last legs.
You can’t agree on anything
Everyone has a difference of opinion sometimes. It’s normal. In healthy relationships, each person learns to compromise in order to find a middle ground. One of the reasons for this is that when we care about someone, their happiness is just as important as our own.
When you stop trying to be conciliatory and considerate of your partner, you will find it a lot harder to agree on anything. Once this happens, it’s just a matter of time before it takes a toll on your relationship.
Pro tip: Pay attention to the nature of your disagreements. Does it seem like your opinions genuinely differ or is it more that you both seem tired of trying? It will give you an indication of what’s really going on.
You’re annoyed all the time
Does your partner suddenly annoy you just by existing? Do you find yourself cringing when they come home or enter the room? Do you feel more comfortable when you’re by yourself? Do they seem extra critical of you and your actions?
Our significant others can get under our skin, even under the happiest of circumstances, but if you are annoyed more often than not, your relationship might be in trouble.
Pro tip: The next time you or your partner seem vexed, ask yourself if the situation seems petty or trivial. If there’s no real reason for feeling annoyed, a conversation about the future might be beneficial.
You’re happier apart
You’re out with your friends when you suddenly realize that you haven’t felt this good in a long time. You’re humming along to the music in the restaurant, the giggles are coming easily, and you’re less stressed about the mountain of work waiting on your desk. The bubble of bliss pops, however, as soon as you get a text from your partner. What gives?
One major benefit of having a significant other is having a mutually supportive companionship. Once that feeling is gone, it probably won’t be long before one of you initiates a breakup.
Pro tip: Take a few moments to think about the last time you were truly happy while spending time with your partner. If it’s been a long time, you might have some decisions to make.
You miss the “good ol’ days”
Do you find yourself thinking back to the good ol’ days when your relationship was actually fun and fulfilling? If so, it probably means that things got derailed somewhere along the way and your present union just isn’t doing it for you. It’s a terrible feeling when the past seems better than the present and, unfortunately, it could be a sign that a breakup is on the horizon.
Pro tip: Stop focusing on earlier times and see if that makes your current situation feel any better. Sometimes, we can remember things as being better than they actually were!
Things seem shady
Have you become more immersed in your cell phones? Are you hiding things from each other? Have your exes been part of regular conversation lately? Does it feel like there’s a lack of trust on either or both sides? If it feels like things have become pretty shady, this could be a serious sign that you won’t be in your relationship much longer.
Pro tip: Call this one out for what it is. If your partner is being secretive or you are missing a former lover, address the situation and make a choice about your current relationship. Don’t let things get toxic!
You’re afraid it’s ending
If you feel like things are falling apart and that the end is near, it probably is. Most of us have a pretty good sense of when a breakup is imminent so, if you have that inkling, trust your gut. If this is a relationship that you feel is worth salvaging, talk to your partner immediately and ask if there is any way to work things out. If they feel that too much damage has already been done, you may have to accept and respect how they feel.
Pro tip: If it seems like you will be parting ways, don’t try to hang on to something that hasn’t been working. Instead, honor your time together and value the lessons you learned from this relationship.
Focus on the future
Whether you are preparing for, in the middle of, or recovering from a breakup, don’t get stuck in all of the bad feelings and negativity. Sure, it never feels good to end a relationship but there’s probably a good reason why it’s over.
Instead of dwelling on what went wrong, focus on all of the things that can go right. Reconnect with friends, find a new hobby, and, when you are ready, dip back into the dating pool. Don’t see this as a loss — celebrate it as a fresh start!