Does He Want to Break Up? Does She want out?
In the Part One article last week, we explored some of the signals that a person wants to be in a relationship with you. In this article, Part Two, we’ll take a look at the signs and signals that a partner wants to end a relationship.
As in the previous article, there’s no cookie-cutter formula that will show you the complexities of each personality and situation but there are a few energetic signatures of fear and withdrawal to look out for in a person who wants to leave a relationship but is afraid to talk about it directly.
Sometimes one or both people wanting out doesn’t really mean a permanent end to the relationship; it can be a crisis signal that there is a serious issue within the relationship that is not being communicated effectively and there can be an opportunity to move forward. However, these signals often mean that an ending is near. It’s not possible to change what isn’t working in a relationship if one partner is unwilling or unable.
Here are the signs that the two of you are headed for a break even if they insist that things are fine, or don’t want to talk about the relationship:
1) They’re on their worst behavior
In order to avoid the guilt, confrontation and pain of being the one to break a relationship off, some people try to get the other person to do it for them. If your partner is on their worst behavior and doing things to irritate you or intentionally rile you up, they may be hoping that you will take responsibility for ending the relationship for them. They may even do something you consider to be a deal breaker or something off limits and totally taboo within the relationship (like cheating, flirting or betrayal) in the hopes that you will take action.
2) They don’t want to be around your friends
Being in a loving couple means sharing social circles, so someone wanting to break up often starts to decline invitations to hang out with your friends, your family and people who used to see you as a couple. Dealing with close proximity to those who are invested in the two of you as a team will be low on their list of priorities. If they can’t get out of a family function or get-together, they might seem extremely uncomfortable around your relatives or your friends. They will likewise stop inviting you to join them with their social circle and mutual friends may notice the strain too.
3) They connect inconsistently.
The person who wants to bail out of the relationship is often the opposite of a willing and communicative partner. They start to go quiet here and there and don’t reliably answer texts or messages. They may seem friendly and normal one day and the next sullen and weird. Inconsistency is the name of the game here. Skipping dates, dropping plans, or forgetting important events are a sign of declining intention and attention around the relationship. The person who doesn’t want to talk about anything real, seems distracted, or who makes only small talk may have checked out emotionally.
4) Break-up ‘Lite’
Just as a person who wants to be in a relationship with you will actually TELL you that they do, a person who wants to break up will often drop hints and offer signs that they want to “take a break” before it actually happens. Lines like, “I need my space..” or “let’s take a little break…” or “maybe I could get my own place and we can still date” are often run up the flag pole in the hopes that you’ll give them the freedom to leave the relationship or to see what leaving the relationship would be like. Keeping you on the back-burner (but waiting and available for them just in case they change their mind) while they are free to become independent again is break up lite!
5) Loses interest in resolving issues
Fear, arguments and issues are part of even healthy relationships. A willing partner will want to stick it out through the argument and will be willing and eager to find mutual solutions. However, a person who is losing connection to the relationship will start to lose their desire to resolve an argument, to listen to perspectives, or to communicate their side. They seem to give up on the resolution phase of an argument and may even give up on getting you to understand them. You may start to go to bed mad, fail to discuss small decisions (where to go, what to eat) or simply exist in a state of non-discussion. In some cases this is like the calm in the eye of the storm…. they can even be calm and placid… not because they’re happy, but because they’ve given up.
6) They become quick to argue or pick a fight
If fights become more constant, or if fights start to happen about unimportant or small matters, it can be a sign that your partner is giving up on the relationship. Either because they don’t want to be the bad guy and hope that a huge blow up will end the relationship so they don’t have to, or because they’re invested in misunderstandings or living in a state of resentment and anger that constantly boils over into anger and hostility.
7) They strike out on their own
They may plunge their energy into work or activities away from the relationship or spend more time on their own. Every healthy relationship has partners who have independent lives and interests, but when a person is giving up on a relationship these independent energies go into hyper-drive. They may stop referring to the future or the “we” plans entirely. For example, instead of saying, “what do you think about us going to Italy next fall?” they might start to say, “I’m thinking of going to Italy.” They may assert their independence sexually, explore new travels or invest in a life that is independent of you and will stop seeking your input about choices, dreams, options and feelings.
8) They become like a ghost
Sometimes a partner who wants to leave simply vanishes without a trace. It seems like an odd item to have on this list (if they’re gone, it’s no longer a mystery, right?) but you’d be surprised how many people simply cannot fathom that the end of the relationship has come and they have not been informed. Totally disappearing is called “ghosting” and is, apparently, a growing trend in dating. A boyfriend or girlfriend simply stops responding to phone calls or goes out to the grocery store and never comes back because they don’t want to deal with the emotional fall-out of actually breaking up or because they have issues that make it impossible to see how to communicate their feelings directly. Similarly, if a partner says they are joining the French Foreign Legion, or need to go on a trek in the Himalayas for awhile, there’s a chance that they are wanting to break up, but do not want to ever say so.
If you have questions about signs of a break-up, or what wanting to end a relationship can mean in your own situation please visit me for a private consultation.
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