7 Subtle Signs Your Partner Wants out of the Relationship

There might be nothing more gut-wrenching than realizing your partner wants to call it quits. But what if they want out, and you can’t quite tell? You know — indistinct mannerisms you can’t quite pinpoint. After all, not every significant other is going to pick a huge fight or illuminate a neon sign when they want to break up with you. Here are seven more subtle signs your partner wants out of the relationship.

Suddenly, all of their friends are ‘in crisis’

Incoming Call Cellphone Next To Bed

Is it really an emergency when the phone rings so late? | iStock.com/allanswart

Don’t get us wrong — you and your main squeeze hanging with your own friends is healthy for your relationship! However, when your partner is looking for an exit, he or she might start spending more time with friends and colleagues than with you. That in itself seems like a pretty straightforward sign the relationship is in trouble.

But your partner might be a bit more subtle than that, and start telling you every time they see their friends it’s an emergency. Putting the emphasis on the other person being in need makes it appear more acceptable for your significant other to be spending time with someone other than you.

The intimacy fluctuates drastically

Woman in bed with boyfriend

Be on alert if your bedroom chemistry is suddenly out of sync. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Of course, physical and sexual chemistry goes through its ups and downs throughout the course of a relationship. But there is a difference between a couple in a rut, and one individual wanting out.

It isn’t a good sign if your partner suddenly wants sex at random times of the day whether you are game or not, then isn’t in the mood when you are. If your partner’s sex drive seems super sporadic and not in sync with you, it could be a sign they want to explore this avenue with other people.

Communicating has become difficult for them

Communication breakdowns happen frequently when your partner is subtly hinting they want to split. Your partner might become vague about things they are going through at work or plans they have without you. (More on the latter a bit later.) If your conversations start feeling more and more like you don’t know what they want, it could be time to address whether the relationship is in jeopardy. While we are on the subject of communication …

Texting takes the place of talking

It’s perfectly normal to call and text your partner when the two of you aren’t right next to each other. But you should be on alert if texting has replaced talking and other forms of communication completely. Does your partner have a ton to say via text, and very little to say to you in person? Or does he or she decline your phone calls and send texts instead, even when you know they are available to talk?

Put forth an effort to talk more face-to-face, even if it’s about something small. If your partner is resistant, it could be a subtle sign they want to break up.

They change random things

Brunette man getting a haircut from a man wearing a bow-tie and suspenders

Changing a hairdo is just the beginning. | iStock.com

If your partner wants out, they may start showing signs that they need a change. It may start with a drastic new haircut they didn’t tell you about. (A haircut might be nothing, but this becomes a red flag if they didn’t clue you in to the change they were making.) There are more subtle signs, like rearranging things in their living space or starting a new TV show without you. If these little changes start piling up, your significant other could be considering changing their relationship status as well.

You ‘magically’ aren’t seeing each other as much

Okay, so maybe this one isn’t as subtle. You are probably clued into your significant other’s desire for a breakup if they are making a point to spend less and less time with you. But the subtle brushoff, like if you constantly “just miss” seeing each other, might not come off as a big warning sign.

Sure, your partner might be swamped with work or dealing with a family issue, and you haven’t seen each other as frequently over the course of a week. But be aware of how often this “we just missed each other” stuff happens.

Everything’s a ‘maybe’

Question Mark Combination Lock on wooden background

Are there too many question marks about your relationship’s future? | iStock.com/USGirl

A lack of commitment to big life choices is, of course, a surefire warning sign that your partner isn’t envisioning a future with you. But more subtle signals of lacking commitment might not clue you in quite as quick. Everything from not wanting to make dinner plans for later in the week to lacking interest in weekend activities or vacations can be a sign your partner is looking for a way out of the relationship. This should be especially worrisome if your partner was more committal and better about making plans at other points in the relationship.

So what are you supposed to do when these signs arise? There’s no better solution than to have an open and honest conversation with your significant other. Whether it leads to a definite breakup or a reconciliation, it’s best to confront these signs head on before they manifest.

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