In all of the breakups you’ve ever experienced, how many of those breakups were you actually able to anticipate? For some of you, you may have started feeling that the end was near during the first time your partner didn’t return your call. For others, it may have been right around the time when you found your partner canoodling with someone else. But for most of us who aren’t as gifted in breakup premonitions, we often just realize the signs when the breakup has already happened.
There are tons of reasons why people break up, but not everyone is vigilant enough to spot the things that foreshadow it. So between the point when you spot an issue and the actual breaking point, what are the signs that show you that the relationship you’re in is doomed? How can you know if you’re headed for a breakup?
Signs you’re about to break up
Here are the most common signs that your relationship is going downhill really fast.
#1 The littlest things about your partner irritate you. You used to love how your partner would touch your feet under the table when you’re having dinner. Now, it irks the heck out of you. At the start of any relationship, you fall in love for a bunch of little reasons.
But in time, some of those previously lovable habits become intolerable, and you feel like you might explode with rage. It’s possible that you’re no longer as attracted to your partner as you once were, and this can be enough to lead to a breakup. [Read: 10 steps to take to tell your partner you’re unhappy]
#2 Conversations turn into conflicts. You once loved being able to spend time with your partner to talk about anything under the sun. But now it feels like everything they say annoys you. And when you call them out on it, they get defensive, and you start to argue. It may be because you’ve become markedly different in the span of your relationship, and you’re no longer on the same page.
#3 You fight about trivial things, and it escalates. It may start off with a fight about who does which chores, and then it turns into a fight about not being grateful or about being lazy or about not caring about good housekeeping.
Then there’s the screaming, the tantrums, the tears, and the occasional breaking of plates! The fight you end up in is hardly ever about the original issue anymore, but instead of apologizing or letting it go, you’d rather insist that you’re right and that your partner is wrong, even if it means letting go of some harsh words… or furniture. [Read: 23 dos and don’ts of relationship arguments]
#4 You spend more and more time apart. Spending time apart is actually healthy for your relationship. But when you no longer mind not seeing or talking to your partner for days on end, then this may mean that you’re actually starting to prefer not having them around you.
People in relationships need quality time to build and foster a stronger bond. But when spending time with your partner starts to feel like a chore, it will only be a matter of time before you start making their absence permanent.
#5 You feel more comfortable when you’re away from your partner. You’re starting to feel like there’s a mask that you need to put on whenever you’re with your partner. You do this to avoid conflict or to hide something you don’t want to share with your partner. In fact, you feel so much more at ease when you’re with other people.
Keep in mind that this is different from wanting some time alone or with your own social circle, as this is something everyone needs from time to time. But when the mere presence of your partner makes you feel like you can’t move freely, it’s a sign that you may eventually want to break free from your relationship.
#6 You almost always think negatively of your partner when you’re not together. Instead of missing them and wanting to be around them, you instead think of all the annoying things they do. If the only time you’re not thinking negatively of them is when they are actually doing something nice, then this can be a sign that you only want your partner for the things they can do for you.
There’s a popular quote that says, “If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders.” And if it only wanders to the shortcomings of your partner, then your heart is showing you that the love is no longer there. [Read: 10 ways to get through a rough patch in a relationship]
#7 You’re always thinking of what ifs. What if you were single, would you be focusing more on your career? Would you be able to have time to pursue other hobbies? What if you were with someone else? Would you be happier? It’s okay to think of these things from time to time, but when it happens too often *to the point that you come up with elaborate fantasies about all these what ifs*, you might end up resenting your partner for keeping you from living the life you want to live.
#8 You start to become very critical of your partner. You’re always seeing things you wish your partner would do better. You wish they were more appreciative, more affectionate, more thoughtful, more hardworking, or more anything!
This didn’t use to be an issue in the past, but now it feels like you can no longer see the person you love because you now only see a person whom you think is inadequate. From your partner’s point of view, they may feel unappreciated, and may therefore start to resent you. Resentment and criticism are a pretty awful mix in a relationship, if you ask us.
#9 You’re not intimate anymore. At the start, you could hardly keep your hands off each other, but now, you barely even hold hands. Intimacy doesn’t even have to be sex per se, but even cuddling, kissing, and nuzzling together are out of the question for you. Heck, you might not even give your partner a peck on the cheek when you’re together.
You have no more desire to be affectionate with your partner, so you physically recoil at the mere notion of having sex, despite the fact that your partner hasn’t done anything to merit your disgust. That’s never a good sign.
#10 You’re seriously considering a break or you’re already on one. Breaks can help both of you adjust better into the relationship, as they give you some space to think of what you really want. But there are only two outcomes to a break: you can either get back together stronger than ever, or your break can turn into a breakup. And there have been many instances of people using a break to cushion the blow of an impending breakup.
How can you know if your break will transform into a breakup? Simple: you’re much happier when you’re on your break.
#11 You keep track of previous wrongdoings to use as ammunition in future fights. This is horrible relationship behavior, but even the best of us succumb to this sometimes. Some would say that they do this to gain the upper hand in any argument, but is winning an argument really worth reopening past issues to hurt your partner?
Doing this may help you win your arguments, but in the grand scheme of things, you’re just showing your partner that you still haven’t forgiven them for minor misdeeds. How can they manage to stay in a relationship with someone who will bring up every single wrong thing they’ve done, when you’re just fighting over something totally trivial? [Read: 7 signs you’re trapped in a troubled relationship]
#12 You can’t get over a past wrongdoing. There are many different types of relationship wrongdoings ranging from forgetting to take the trash out to outright infidelity. But if you’ve been deeply hurt by something your partner has done *e.g. forced you to quit a job you loved, violently yelled at you, ridiculed you in front of other people, etc.*, and you can’t forgive them, do you want to carry that burden with you for the duration of your relationship?
If what your partner has done is something serious and deeply cruel, you can either work to get past it, so it never happens again, or you can set into motion the chain of events that will free you from a bad relationship. [Read: 8 sure things you need to do before forgiving a cheater]
Keep in mind that these signs will only lead to a breakup within a month if neither of you exert any effort to remedy the issues. And if you really think about it, can you even stand being in a relationship with someone for more than a couple of weeks if you constantly feel any of the above signs? [Read: 10 telltale signs your relationship is doomed]
The sooner you realize that your relationship is headed for the dumps, the sooner you can find a way to remedy it. Or you can always just call it quits while you’re ahead and let go of a toxic relationship.
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