The only thing that's worse than being dumped is being kicked to the curb seemingly out of nowhere. Looking back, it's almost always possible to spot the signs that things between you and your partner were nearing their expiration date. But when you're caught up in the mix, it can be much easier to overlook the red flags your partner wants to break up.
It goes without saying that every meaningful relationship goes through ups and downs. If you're in a relationship that hasn't yet seen both ups and downs, it's probably because it's still early or one of you isn't being totally transparent. While hitting a bump in the road might make you quick to assume that things are falling apart, it's important to remember this isn't always the case. Moments of conflict almost always come with the opportunity for growth.
But if you're wondering about some of the signs that things could really be over between you and bae, then there is certain behavior from your partner that shouldn't go unnoticed. While it may seem like a good idea to just sit back and see what happens, choosing to take action — just by starting a conversation about your partner's behavior — is so much better than being blindsided by a breakup. Here's what to look out for.
1. They Seem Closed Off
Sometimes, withdrawing in a relationship is a temporary phase that happens in response to a stressor. When you don't have the time or space to address other feelings (like feelings for your partner), then sometimes, people operate by shutting down for a little while. However, if your partner is continuously reluctant to let you know what's going on when you bring up your concerns to them, this isn't a good sign.
"If someone is pulling away, it might be a telltale sign that they are feeling smothered or not happy in the relationship," Dr. Nikki Goldstein, relationship expert and author of Single But Dating: A Field Guide to Dating in the Digital Age, told Elite Daily.
Although this is likely to make you want to chase after them to show your support, it's probably better to wait it out. "Don't follow them," says Dr. Goldstein. "If they are pulling away, give them the space and see if they come back. They might just need a bit of time."
2. They Start Seeking Support From Someone Else
In any relationship, no matter how much you love each other, expecting one person to be your only support system is not a healthy expectation. It's so rare that you'll have all of your social and psychological needs met by one other person, which is why having other friends to turn to is so important. But, if your bae is actively freezing you out, spending more time than usual with their friends and family, or is starting to emotionally rely on another person, then this could mean they are contemplating a split.
"If your partner secretly wants to end the relationship, he or she will start looking for support outside the relationship, for when the break does occur. This support will show up in other singles — as new friends," dating expert April Masini, of Relationship Advice Forum, told Elite Daily. "These friends don't hang around when you're around, and you'll mostly hear about them from late-night phone calls or text messages that you're not privy to, or your partner will meet up with them, seemingly innocently, without you."
3. You Start Fighting More About Minuscule Things
"Often, if someone is being overly argumentative about smaller things, they are holding on to deeper issues that they are struggling with," explained Dr. Goldstein. These "deeper issues" may lie dormant under the surface, but they could be brought up by a disagreement over something completely unrelated.
If you and your partner are getting into spats frequently over seemingly small things, it is so important that you have a non-confrontational conversation about it. At the very least, asking them if there's anything deeper bothering them will let them know that you really care about how they feel. While they might not open up about everything that's bothering them right away, starting a dialogue is the first step. And once you find out the deeper issues going on, you can both work to resolve them — potentially avoiding a breakup entirely.
4. Something Feels Off
Sometimes, you just know something's not right between you and your partner. "You should never underestimate your gut instinct," said Dr. Goldstein.
We've all experienced that eerie feeling when you have a hunch about something being wrong, even though you have no concrete reason to believe it's true. It's called intuition, people. Trust it. "Often, woman are told they are being silly or stupid, but don't let anyone diminish what you feel," Dr. Goldstein continued.
The end of a relationship can be a difficult and downright terrifying time. But don't let wanting to avoid a shitty situation keep you from being honest with yourself and your partner about anything and everything you think the two of you need to work on. And if you do end up going your separate ways, remember that there is a whole sea of other amazing people out there who will treat you with the respect and love you deserve.
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