Do you suspect you're seeing and feeling the warning signs of a breakup? Are you worried that your partner is about to end your relationship or marriage? Or perhaps you're thinking about breaking up?
Either way, there are definite signs to look out for that could potentially signal the end of your relationship.
If a breakup is imminent, it'll generally be the result of repeated periods of unhappiness and/or doubts - either for you, your partner, or both of you. Often these periods of dissatisfaction, irritation, anger, frustration, hurt and disappointment increase in length and happen more frequently.
In a long-term committed partnership, the signs that your relationship is in trouble are very likely to appear in stages and cycles. It's not unusual for these cycles of ups and downs to continue over several years.
But that's not always the case, of course. Sometimes a breakup can happen totally out of the blue, without any warning signs whatsoever.
Nevertheless, a breakup (or divorce) is always a process with a beginning, a middle and an end. Some may happen more rapidly than others, but when you look back, you'll probably be able to identify the stages. 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.
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? Or would you have seen it coming, because of those little niggles in the back of your mind that you could never quite get rid of?
Or, maybe you haven't been straight with your partner about how unhappy you've felt lately. How unsure of your future together you've been feeling. Maybe you're the one who's falling out of love?
Perhaps you've accepted the ups and downs of your relationship as part of the ‘norm’. While they are normal to some extent, a big increase in the number and duration of the downs could well be a warning sign of a breakup.
Often, towards the end of a relationship, one or both partners has no idea how the other person really feels. Assumptions are made, or warning signs are ignored.
I so know it can be really scary to contemplate a future without the person you loved (or still love). The word 'single' can strike fear into the hearts of many! But, the alternative is to stay in a broken relationship - and while that may not feel as scary, it's way worse for you - and your partner - in the long run.
So, take a deep breath, and let's take a look together at the most common warning signs of a breakup.
The breakdown of a relationship often happens in stages. Each stage has its own warning signs. The nature and the length of these stages also differ enormously from one couple to another.
Here are the factors that influence what each stage looks like:
Below I've listed the stages I've seen my clients go through when their relationship were in danger of ending.
Each stage has its own signs that your relationship is not what it should or could be.
Whether you're worried that your partner's about to end your relationship, or you're the one on the verge of calling it quits, take a look at the list below.
These can all be warning signs of a breakup. Do any of them speak to you?
As a couple...
If any of these sound familiar to you, your inkling that your relationship's in trouble could be right.
So what else should you be looking out for?
I'm sure you'll agree, some of these are pretty obvious signs that your relationship is not as healthy it could be. If you recognise any them, now's the time to take action.
The best place to start? Talking to each other! If your relationship is on the rocks, a meaningful conversation will help you both figure out if it can still be saved. If communication doesn't flow freely in your relationship, my Advanced Communication Kit for Couples can help.
If you think your partner's the one who's about to leave, there's still much that you can do - even if your partner doesn't appear to be interested. Have a look at Save The Marriage (Relationship) Today for a review of a formula developed by Lee Baucom, PhD.
Alternatively, if you're struggling to make sense of your own feelings, you can connect with a professional, licensed relationship therapist right away. An outside perspective and some professional guidance can make a huge difference when you're facing confusing and distressing times in your life.
If you're not sure you want to stay in this relationship, my Comprehensive Relationship Test can help you to make that difficult decision.
After that you're very likely to be clear about your next step. You can take control and end your relationship or marriage - if that's what you decide to do. Or, you might decide that it is worth fighting for. Then you'll know which way to direct your energies!
Some of the warning signs of a breakup could actually also indicate deeper emotional and/or psychological problems - either for you or your partner.
Things that contribute to the end of a relationship can sometimes be, in their own right, the signs of depression, an impending nervous breakdown or simply stress. These can all rapidly lead to all manner of relationship problems, not to mention personal problems too.
So, if you think you're struggling with any kind of emotional issue (or your partner is), I'd really love you to get the help you need to overcome those difficulties right now. You can find tonnes of info right here on my site to get you on the right track. Or you can connect with an online therapist right away (see the blue box below).
If you're worrying about the warning signs of a breakup, this isn't the time to stick your head in the sand (trust me!).
Whether you're the one thinking of leaving, or it's your partner, take some time to find out what's really going on - for both of you. If you decide to work together to fix whatever's broken, great! Or if you decide it's time to go your separate ways, that's just fine t0o.
Always remember - you (both) deserve to lead happy, fulfilling lives and to have meaningful relationships. And I'm wishing you well, every step of the way :-)
Image courtesy of: Linda Tanner