How to spot the warning signs of an impending relationship 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're 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 any warning signs whatsoever.

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'm leaving you" or "I don't love you any more" 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 indicating that your relationship was 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 have you 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...


Thanks for a great website. Very interesting and helpful articles.

- Margaret

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 these stages differs enormously from one couple to another.

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
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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 even repair what is broken - with some help.

13 signs that your relationship is on a sliding scale

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

Below is a list of some of the things to look out for (though I'd rather you look at them as signs that your marriage or relationship is in need of intensive care) - and 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 partner'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 (if you're still at this stage - do get my Stop Arguing, Start Talking Communication Kit for Couples!)
  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 your partner 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 doesn't exist (wow, what a bad habit!)
  13. You're inconsistent - you make promises about being there and then make yourself scarce
Communication Kit for Couples

Some of these are obvious signs that it's over. Act now! Do something... think about each of your roles in the difficulties, rather than just blaming each other. Start at least with my Relationship Makeover Kit for deeper and more meaningful conversations.

You really need all the help you can get before you potentially make the biggest mistake of 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're really worried right now, speak to a qualified online relationship counsellor as soon as possible.

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Signs of declining mental health instead?

Some of those signs could easily indicate personal emotional and psychological problems.  What you're 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

Do you need expert advice right now?

Get the advice you need - talk to a qualified, non-judgmental and supportive counsellor of your choice at PrestoExpert...


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... or learn more about getting help on my page Online Relationship Advice

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