Here’s How To Know When Your Partner Wants To Break Up, So You Don’t Get Blindsided

I hate breaking up with someone. I think I actually dislike it more than being broken up with, because I can't bear to see people’s hurt feelings. As a result, I have stayed in relationships way longer than I should have. Inevitably, having gone way past their expiration dates, the relationships soured and ended on a far uglier note than they needed to. What I'm saying is, I'm pretty familiar with how to know when your partner wants to break up because I've been there — on both sides of the equation.

While it's never fun to suspect that your partner is ready to exit the relationship, there is some solace and power in at least seeing it coming and knowing how to face it head-on. If one thing is worse than being broken up with, it’s being completely blindsided by it. But the good news is you can help prevent that by recognizing the signs that your partner's heart just isn't in it anymore. To help learn more about those signs, I reached out to an expert in the field: Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the breakup BOOST podcast, who shared which signs you should be on the lookout for if you suspect your partner is ready to call it quits.

1They stop trying to spend time with you.

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Does it seem like your SO has stopped wanting to put in effort to spend time with you? If so, then Leckie says that's a red flag. “If they have been very withdrawn and not spending time with you it is a sign, because when people are invested in the relationship, they want to spend as much time as possible with their partner,” she tells Elite Daily.

2They aren’t communicating like they used to.

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Every relationship finds its own pattern and style of communication, but if that falls off or changes drastically, that can be a bellwether that something's off in the relationship. “[If] there has been a breakdown in communication, such as they are barely reaching out or they are not responding when you text them — this is a sign because it shows you are no longer a top priority in their life,” warns Leckie. “You will likely start to feel like you are bothering them.”

3Having a conversation with them has become a struggle.

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How easy is it to talk to your partner? Does the conversation flow, or does it feel like it takes a lot of work just to talk? If it’s the latter, Leckie says this is another sign that your partner has started to detach. “Conversations may start to feel like you are pulling teeth,” says Leckie. “Because they no longer seem interested in engaging with you. It can start to create an awkward tension.”

4They act irritated with you all the time.

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We all have moments where our SOs get on our nerves, but if this has become the norm rather than a rare occurrence, then according to Leckie, this is potentially a symptom of a larger problem in the relationship. She says that partners who are wanting to separate exhibit some common actions. “[They] may become very short with you, seem irritated, or snap at you,” Leckie explains. “They are acting out and not treating you with kindness or respect,” she adds.

“This could also mean that other issues are bothering them, however, and unfortunately, people often take things out on the people who they love the most,” Leckie cautions. So, in this case, you should look at this behavior as part of a larger pattern to know where it's actually coming from.

5They stop being affectionate.

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If your partner used to be affectionate but has suddenly gone cold, Leckie says this can be another way to know your SO may be preparing to break things off. “This is a sign because when couples are happy together, part of that is being affectionate and close with one another,” she says.

6They aren’t willing to work on the relationship.

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Perhaps the clearest sign of all is when it feels like your partner has basically given up. “[They] no longer want to work with you on solving problems” Leckie explains. “[They] don’t see any hope for the relationship."

In order for a relationship to be successful, both partners have to be willing to put in the work to get through challenging times, and if your partner has stopped, then it might mean they don't see a future with you.

What to do if your partner is showing signs they want to break up.

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One of the hardest things about feeling like your partner is pulling away or wants to break up is feeling like you’ve lost all control, and that there is nothing you can do but wait for the inevitable and hope that maybe it won't happen. But that doesn't have to be so, says Leckie. Her advice is to confront the situation head on. “Instead of ignoring the signs, walking on eggshells, or waiting for the next shoe to drop, ask to meet up with them to have an in-person discussion,” she says. When you do talk to them, she says it's important to keep your cool. “Stay calm, non-accusatory, and non-combative to prevent the meeting from turning into an argument and escalating further than it has to,” she advises. “Being direct and straightforward is the best approach here, because you deserve to know what they are thinking and how they are viewing the relationship. Life can be stressful enough without having to ‘wonder’ what your partner is thinking.”

While the conversation may not go the way you hope, at least you won’t be left hanging and hoping and prolonging your unhappiness. While that is painful in the moment, the thing to always remember with a breakup is that the sooner you pull off that Band-Aid, the sooner the healing begins, and the sooner you’ll be ready for a new and better love. So, take the initiative, face the situation, and move on to better things. You deserve them.