Let’s be honest, you usually know when your relationship is going badly. But what’s harder to recognize is if your partner is unhappy. Sometimes the relationship is ticking along totally fine—or at least, you think it is—but something has changed in your partner’s mind. They’re just not happy anymore. You’re 100 percent their type on paper but something’s off. And nobody wants to be blindsided by a break up. But if the relationship seems ok, how do you know that one might be coming your way?
Luckily, if you keep your eyes open, there are usually some signs that things have changed. "There are definitely some signs that your partner is thinking of a break up that you can be aware of," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein tells Cosmopolitan UK. And while some of them you might expect, there are others that come as more of surprise. So here’s what you need to look out for:
1. They’re just not available.
This one is a no-brainer—you can sense when someone is ignoring you. And there’s normally a reason why they are. “If you find that the person is much less available than they used to be, something may be going on,” Aimee says. “Did you two used to have much more contact? Do they not return your calls and texts in the same timely manner that they used to?” If they’re not available and seem distant when you’re around them, then something’s shifted and they don’t want you to know about it—yet.
2. They’re seeking out other people.
“Another sign is that they’re going out on their own with friends much more than normal,” Aimee says. “They might be reaching out to people to talk and try to decide if a break up is the right thing for them to do.” Make sure that you’re just not being paranoid with this one, because it’s always important for people to get time with their friends. But you can totally see that they’d be looking for advice if they’re thinking about a break up. So file being shady with their phone as another sign, because if they’re talking to other people about it then they’re not going to want you to see what’s on their mind.
3. They’re moody.
Being in a bad a mood with you can be a sign that someone’s feeling really guilty. “Also, are they suddenly moody, upset, or irritable?” Aimee asks. “That one can obviously mean many things, but when someone is considering a break up, they are often upset and/or withdrawn.” If you feel like you just can’t do anything right in their eyes, you may need to ask them what’s going on.
4. They’re accusing you of not being interested anymore.
Projection, much? Breaking up with someone isn’t fun, so it’s not unusual for someone to try to put it all on you. Either they act like such a d*ck that they hope you’ll break up with them or they just start accusing you of not caring enough. It’s really hurtful and just makes a bad situation worse, but it happens all the time. Because, you know, grown ups.
5. They’ve stopped making future plans.
One way you can tell that they’re not thinking you’re going to last long is if they stop discussing the future. And we’re not even talking marriage, babies, career future — they’re going to stop talking about trips you want to go on or concerts you were planning on going to. Being super vague about what’s coming up often means that the future feels like a blank slate to them, which is not a good sign for your relationship.
Now look, just because they’re thinking about a breakup doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. “If you have reason to believe your partner is pulling away and might be thinking about breaking up, the best thing to do is to sit down and have a talk with them,” Aimee says. “They likely have lots of stuff on their mind and it would be helpful for both of you if you two could discuss it together.” So if you recognise the signs, make sure you say something - it could save your relationship.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.