Is my relationship dying, or am I being paranoid for no reason?
Is he trying to tell me it’s over without actually saying it?
Humans have agonized over these questions since the advent of coupling.
To be sure, wondering whether your relationship is sinking or simply transforming into something more mature is an all-consuming stress to carry around.
So to help you better assess your situation, today, we’re unpacking signs the relationship is over for him.
Typical Phases of a Relationship Breakdown
People cite denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance as the five breakup phases.
But those are the stages we go through after splitting, which begs the question: What are the typical phases of a relationship breakdown?
While no two unions are identical, romantic decay has a universal pattern. Let’s review how it usually goes down.
1. Outside Friendship Dynamics Shift
Have you been together for a few years? Have you developed routines and understandings? Do you know each other’s friends, and are you comfortable with your partner spending time with them?
That’s all good. Great, even.
But what does it mean when he starts hanging out with folks you’ve never heard of? Does he invite you?
Please don’t read us wrong: You and your man can make new friends. And no, you don’t always need to include the other.
But suppose someone’s being cagey about the situation and doesn’t want to answer questions about their new buddies. In those cases, something is probably up, and it’s a common occurrence toward the tail end of a relationship.
2. Disdain Sets In
Regarding relationship trajectories, disdain is one of the surefire end-of-relationship signs for a man, woman, and non-binary individuals. When it rears its ugly head, things are likely derailing.
It’s a potent form of resentment, and if your partner starts flinging disdain in your direction, it’s almost always a sign they’re fed up and want out of the relationship.
Universally speaking, contempt — a form of disdain — is one of the “four horsemen” of relational dissolution developed by John Gottman, Ph.D., a leading relationship psychology expert. The other three are criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling.
3. Spending More Time Apart
In the beginning, you were glued together. As things progressed, that behavior subsided, but you still spent considerable time in each other’s company.
These days, though, you spend more time apart than you are together. Plus, you’re not always sure where he is when not with you. Even more troubling is his huffy annoyance when you ask.
Does this shift sound familiar? If so, you may be dealing with a dissatisfied partner who wants to end things.
4. Lying Commences
There’s a direct correlation between an uptick in lying and the end of a relationship. The higher the fib quotient, the more likely a breakup is in the offing.
People desperate to make the relationship work may turn the other cheek and pretend not to notice their partner’s prevarications. Ignoring them allows problems to fester and metastasize, setting you up for an even uglier breakup.
5. Cue the Constant Bickering
Are you constantly at each other’s throats? Do you find yourself arguing over minuscule differences? Sure, some couples are natural debaters, but if things have reached a frustrating level, the union’s end may be nigh.
13 Signs He Is Done with the Relationship
We’ve covered the general phases of a relationship’s winding down, but what about the telltale signs that he’s over the partnership and ready to break up?
1. He’s Not Around as Much
We touched on this above: When men are done with a relationship, they spend less time with their partner. It’s a form of “quiet quitting” the partnership.
Now, don’t confuse being busy with stepping back. His absence could be a matter of increased professional or personal obligations. So don’t jump to conclusions.
But if everything is otherwise status quo, and he pulls back, he may be over the relationship.
2. He Forgets To Tell You Good Things
People share things with loved ones. Think about it: When something big or wonderful happens in your life, your romantic partner is probably one of the first people you tell.
When this stops happening, it’s probably time to start reassessing the relationship. After all, why wouldn’t a partner want to share their joys with the person they love?
Do you see where we’re going with this?
3. He Nitpicks
Does he suddenly have an issue with everything you do, say, and wear? Is he constantly nitpicking? Can you do nothing right?
If this sounds all too familiar, get out. For starters, nobody needs this energy, especially from a partner.
Secondly, if he has so many issues with you, then his reasons for being in the relationship may not be on the up-and-up.
4. Communication Dissolves
Has his communication devolved into a series of grunts and one-word vocalizations?
Okay, sure, this is standard fare for some dudes (and dudettes), but if your partner was once a vibrant, communicative person who now struggles to string three words together, things might not be heading in a positive direction.
Communication is the backbone of any healthy pairing. When it breaks down, so does the partnership.
5. You Feel Anxious Around Him
Supportive, healthy partnerships feel good. You enjoy being with the other person, and their presence adds something positive to your life.
When things are trending downward, it’s common to feel anxious when together. You don’t know where you stand, and every conversation feels laced with negative subtext.
So if you’re feeling uneasy around him, it may actually be a sign that you’re not vibing and he wants out.
6. He Acts Paranoid
Is your cool-as-a-cucumber man starting to act paranoid? Is he always on the defensive? Does he snap at you for asking innocent questions?
Ladies and gents, don’t brush this behavior aside. It’s telling.
In 90% of cases, this type of personality shift indicates that someone is trying to hide bad behavior.
Who knows, the reason behind his paranoia may have nothing to do with you — or it might. Better to unearth the truth now than let it balloon until it bursts.
7. You No Longer Laugh Together
Humor and laughter are huge parts of any romantic union.
Of course, partnerships go through tough, dark times when few things are funny, and merriment isn’t on tap. However, if everything else is otherwise fine, yet the two of you cannot find anything to laugh about, he may want out.
8. He Talks About Other People Incessantly
Here’s a hard truth: None — (that’s right, none) — of us hide our true feelings as well as we think we are. Mannerisms and communication quirks always give us away.
A common telltale sign that your man is ready to move on (and may find another person interesting) is that they always talk about said person. They can’t shut up about them.
Now, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if your partner has a new boss, that person will likely come up in everyday conversation.
But if someone pops up out of the blue, apropos of nothing else, the situation deserves a side-eye.
9. He Stops Talking About the Future
When your relationship is over, he’ll stop talking about the future.
Granted, the partnership may be over before he says anything or realizes it himself. But once you no longer share similar goals and cannot see the other person in your future, it’s probably time to pack it up.
10. He’s Passive-Aggressive
There are few things in life as frustrating as being the recipient of passive-aggressive barbs. It’s an awkward dance, doused in plausible deniability, rendering the experience maddening.
If he starts chucking passive-aggressive quips in your direction, bring it up and ask for an explanation. If he’s mealy-mouthed and accuses you of being the problem, it may be time to start wrapping things up.
11. Intimacy Slows
Sure, sex is not a static entity. Couples experience ups and downs in this department all the time. It’s normal.
But if your intimacy has slowed to a grinding halt, and neither of you is asexual, things may be amiss.
As tough as it may be to consider, you may want to inquire if he’s getting it somewhere else — which is a sure sign he no longer wants a commitment with you. (At least not a traditional one.)
12. You Catch Him Lying
We all tell small lies to avoid inconsequential but uncomfortable conversations; we also do it to spare people’s feelings.
But giant lies to a spouse or partner are unacceptable. They’re also a clear sign that your relationship is sick.
The lie could be about anything, from infidelity to work-related matters. If it’s significant, it matters. And if you catch him smearing untruths all over your face, he probably wants out but doesn’t have the guts to be forthright.
13. He’s Never Around Anymore
Has he all but disappeared? Is he but a faint whisper on your texting screen? This is a form of ghosting, and you can bet it means he’s over the relationship. If you’ve been dating for two months or less, cut your losses and move on.
If you’ve been together for years or live together, set time aside to have a serious conversation. If he doesn’t want to talk about it, that’s another thumbs down.
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Red Flags That a Relationship Is About To End
We’ve discussed the signs that he’s ready to end things, but what indicates the relationship is, indeed, tottering on its last leg and bound to collapse?
- Jealousy: Is either one of you consumed with jealousy — to the point of dysfunction? It’s a sign that things are heading south.
- Communication Issues: Is he unwilling to have tough conversations? Are you? If one of you doesn’t have the wherewithal to work through challenges and communicate effectively, there’s nowhere to go but in separate directions.
- No Compromising: One of the most comforting and beautiful things about a healthy relationship is each party’s willingness to compromise. It’s easy when you’re with someone you genuinely love because a part of you strives to make them happy and vice versa. When this give-and-take breaks down, the partnership usually crumbles alongside it.
How To Know if it’s a Temporary Breakup or Permanent
Did you know that 50% of couples reunite after breaking up? So, statistically speaking, it’s safe to say that all goodbyes aren’t necessarily gone if things seem like they’re on the brink.
But how can you tell if your current relationship rough patch is temporary or permanent?
Again, every partnership has unique contours, but there are a few signs that the relationship isn’t completely done and dusted, including:
- He always texts and messages you
- He acknowledges things are rocky but expresses a genuine interest in working through them
- You take a break, and he doesn’t start dating other people
- He always asks you to hang out
- He interacts with your social media positively
- He asks mutual friends about you
How To Turn a Problematic Relationship Around
Sometimes, relationships are unsalvageable because of petty reasons. Other times they’re unhealthy, and breaking up is the best possible outcome.
But if the partnership has potential, and neither of you is ready to throw in the towel, try some of the suggestions below to steady the bow and resume smooth sailing.
When a relationship is experiencing growing pains, sometimes all it takes to make things right is an injection of honesty.
So before ending things, have a brutally honest conversation about what’s bothering you. Many couples in this situation are pleased to discover they’re more aligned with their partner than they thought, and the fix turns out to be easy.
Establish Relationship Rules
Kids aren’t the only ones who can benefit from rules. Adults navigating rough relationship patches also find them helpful.
We’re not suggesting you give each other bedtimes or treat one another like children. But promising to be open and honest is a healthy standard, as is committing to a certain amount of time together each week or month.
Enlist a Professional
Have you invested lots of time, energy, and resources into the relationship? Do you genuinely love your partner? Do they love you but are currently dealing with difficulties?
If you believe your partnership is worth saving, enlist a professional psychologist, counselor, or relationship coach. The objectivity a therapist affords can be exceptionally helpful.
Moreover, someone trained to shepherd couples through tough times can easily spot patterns and give you practical tools to make the process easier.
Sometimes, relationships need space. It happens — often. So why not give it a shot?
If during the separation, he immediately runs off and starts dating anyone with a pulse, he’s probably not ready for anything serious with you.
Finding out will hurt, but it’s better to know. You don’t want to waste energy pasting something together that’s destined to fail.
Conversely, a trial separation may be the thing that makes him realize how much he loves and wants to be with you.
Focus on Yourself
If your union isn’t filling your love cup at the moment, maybe the right thing to do is step back and pamper yourself. Work on your self-confidence and pay attention to your goals and personal aims.
As they say: When you’re feeling your best, you can bring your best to the table.
We hope we’ve helped you better understand what’s going on in your relationship.
Of course we hope everything works out for the best — but don’t forget that sometimes means moving onward and upward.
You’re a superstar who deserves to be treated with love and respect — so don’t settle for less!