How to spot the warning signs of a breakup

Part 1, Part 2

Are you suspecting that what you'e seeing and feeling are the warning signs of a breakup?  Is your wife/girlfriend, husband/boyfriend about to end your       relationship or marriage or are you thinking about it?

If you are worried that your partner or spouse is looking for a way out, you need to be fully aware of the warning signs.

Your partner, or maybe you, will have come to the conclusion that it is all over after repeated periods of unhappiness.  Often these periods of dissatisfaction, irritation, anger, frustration, hurt and disappointments increase in length and appear more frequently.

In a long-term committed relationship, the signs that your relationship is in trouble are very likely to appear in stages and cycles.  It is not unusual for these cycles of ups and downs to continue over several years.

However, sometimes a breakup appears to happen out of the blue without apparent early warning signs.

Nevertheless, a breakup and even divorce is always a process with a beginning, a middle and an end - you'll know when you look back. Statements like ’I am leaving you’ or "I don't love you anymore" are unlikely to have risen out of a 'sudden' realisation - even if it seems like that to you.

You may also want to know if your partner is showing signs of infidelity!

Are they really normal 'ups and downs'?

Would you be surprised if your partner suddenly told you he or she doesn't love you anymore?

Would you be shocked like so many of my clients were?

Maybe you haven't been straight with your partner about how unhappy and scared about your future together you really are. You could have taken the ups and downs of your relationship or marriage as part of the ‘norm’. It may not have occurred to you that the swings in the mood of your relationship were warning signs that your relationship in real danger of petering out. Maybe you are falling out of love?

Do you truly know how your partner is feeling? Are you making assumptions about his or her mindset? Or you have deliberately chosen to ignore the signs and symptoms of a potential ending, because the thought of feeling alone and abandoned (again) are just too frightening to even contemplate.

Put your brave suit on now - you can do it! We're going in deeper...

7 Factors that underpin the warning signs of an impending ending

The breakdown of a relationship happens in stages, with each stage having its own warning signs. The nature and the length of the stages of a breakup differ per couple.

Here are the factors that influence what each stage looks like:

  1. Your commitment at the start
  2. Your commitment, care and consideration as your relationship grew
  3. The length and 'intensity' of the partnership
  4. Your relationship histories - your attachments and previous endings
  5. Your life stages and ages - first long-term love, small kids, teenagers, elderly parents, mid-life, etc
  6. Any traumas that happened during the course of your relationship
  7. Your personalities

When it's time to end your relationship or marriage

Couple: not in touch

If you're not sure you would want to stay in this relationship, use my Relationship Compatibility Questionnaire to help you decide now.

After that you'll be clear about your next step. You can take control and end your relationship or marriage or turn the warning signs of a breakup into your favour and repair what is broken in your marriage or relationship - with some help.

13 signs that your relationship is going down the pan

What are the signs that your relationship is in major trouble?

Here are some of the warning signs of a break up (though I would rather you look at them as signs that your marriage or relationship is in need of intensive care) - they count for either one of you:

  1. You are not talking much about personal ‘stuff’ - you have little idea what is going on in your spouse's/girl/boyfriend's life
  2. You're complaining about the same things over and over again (see also: How to Stop Arguing)
  3. You can't come to an understanding or agreement over important issues
  4. You end up feeling frustrated, angry and hurt, whenever you try to talk about them
  5. You're feeling increasingly depressed - if you both feel like this on account of your relationship, then your feelings are definite warnings signs of a break up
  6. You're becoming increasingly irritable and/or withdrawn
  7. You're unhappy and may have even mentioned, or threatened with separation
  8. You're going out more frequently or staying longer at work and you're increasingly leading separate lives
  9. At least one of you is having an affair.
  10. You're acting ‘out of character’, or perhaps you have 'not been yourself' lately
  11. You're arguing more frequently as a couple and perhaps even treating each other with contempt
  12. You are 'stonewalling' - ignoring your partner when you're miffed, pretending that he or she does not exist (wow, what a bad habit!)
  13. You're inconsistent - you make promises about being there and then make yourself scarce

Some of these are obvious signs that it's over. Act now! Do something about these warning signs of a breakup. Think about each of your roles in the difficulties, rather than blame each other.

You really need all the help you can get before you potentially make the biggest mistake in your life.

Learn how to survive a downturn in your relationship and turn it around, even if your partner doesn't appear to be interested - see: Save The Marriage (Relationship) Today for a review of a formula developed by Lee Baucom, PhD.

Or, if you are really worried right now, speak to a qualified online relationship counsellor as soon as possible.

Signs of declining mental health instead?

Some of those signs could easily be signs of personal emotional and psychological problems.  What you are seeing or experiencing could be the Signs and Symptoms of Depression or stress which are rapidly leading to relationship problems.  Whatever it is - it is time to take stock and take action!

Hop over to Part 2 of this article to find out about the Stages of a Break Up, together with advice about what to do next...

Part 1, Part 2

Image courtesy of: Linda Tanner