25 Signs He Wants To Break Up But Is Scared And Doesn't Know How

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man looking worried because he wants to break up but is scared

Being in a relationship — or even just being attracted to someone — has a weird way of affecting the way that we see the world around us.

Things that would normally appear to us as red flags seem to be easily explained away or brushed aside, making it easy to ignore the signs he wants to break up.

Yes, it’s the delusion of love at its finest. The worst thing that can happen to you when it comes to love is to delude yourself about your partner’s happiness when they’re with you. Doing this only will cause you to be blindsided when he leaves or cause the problems that are making him unhappy to worsen until they no longer can be contained.

Disagreements about key issues, lack of emotional intimacy, and a dead sex life can all signal that your relationship is over for him.

RELATED: 9 Can't-Miss-'Em Warning Signs That A Breakup Is Imminent

Make sure to keep an eye out for the following warning signs he wants to break up. Don't fall into the trap of sticking around when the signs that he's losing interest are all around.

25 Signs He Wants to Break Up But is Scared and Doesn't Know How

1. He’s been clamming up and conversation often feels forced.

Does he stick to a script around you? Do you regularly have to fish for conversation topics or feel like you need to interrogate him just so that he will say something to you?

A man who isn’t happy in his relationship generally won’t want to talk to his partner any more than he has to, and that means you should be worried.

2. You feel like you have to tiptoe around him in order to avoid making him leave.

If you have to watch everything you say and do for fear of losing him, that may mean he is looking for any reason to leave. Generally, if you have to walk on eggshells to keep him around you, it’s time to face the facts. By the time that this happens in a relationship, it’s almost always over.

3. He’s been picking arguments with you, criticizing you over every little thing, and just being a total jerk.

There are only two reasons why a man would do this to someone: he’s either an abuser who hates you or he's trying to get you to dump him. Either way, it’s best to drop him like a hot potato.



4. Trying to get him to be affectionate with you is Mission Impossible.

Men are always affectionate to the women they are attracted to as well as the women they are happy being with. If you literally have to force it, or worse, beg for him to be affectionate with you, he’s not happy being with you.

If he no longer tries to make you feel good, this is one of the signs he wants to break up with you and that the relationship is dead.

5. Getting him to actually go out with you is like pulling teeth.

This is not an issue with any man that’s legitimately happy in his relationship. If you have to book time with him weeks in advance and regularly worry that he won’t even show up, it’s not that he’s too busy. Rather, it’s that he hates your company and has stopped making you a priority.

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6. You often feel more alone with him than without him.

Generally speaking, if you feel this way about your relationship, it’s because this actually is the case. If you legitimately feel like he’s left you alone in your own relationship, the relationship can’t really be salvaged in most cases.

7. He’s started lashing out in anger or regularly complains about a particular aspect of your relationship.

Sometimes, it only takes one or two issues to really make a man feel miserable in his relationship with someone. If he regularly gets snippy around you over a particular subject, he’s not happy being with you and he’s telling you how to fix it.

8. You’ve noticed that he’s stopped inviting you as his “plus-one” at events.

He always used to bring you around his work dinners and friends’ weddings, but now, he spends more time without you. This is often done when he’s trying to “fade you out” from his social life and, eventually, leave.

9. He just seems agitated, upset, or annoyed all the time.

Though this could be a sign of depression, it also could be a sign that he’s really just not happy being with you. After all, people who like and enjoy their partners find joy in them.

Psychologist David Helfand explains that these emotional responses are typical when a breakup is near.

"Anger historically is considered an acceptable male emotion to display. Vulnerability, embarrassment, or sadness are generally not," Helfand says. "Therefore, a male partner might pick fights more frequently, or be easily agitated by their partner if they are displeased with the relationship or contemplating ending it."

10. He makes a lot of joking remarks about breaking up with you.

As bad as this may be to say, there’s often a lot of truth in humor. When you joke about something like this, it’s often because it’s something you’ve considered doing quite a bit.

If he’s thinking about that so much, that’s a sign he’s not loving his life with you as much as you think he is.

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11. He's emotionally distant.

When you’re together, he checks his social media, seems distant, and otherwise just looks like he’s forced to be there.

Have you ever been to a party that you really didn’t want to go to? Do you remember how you were thinking about trying to come up with an excuse to leave but couldn’t? This is the same thing except, rather than a party, it’s a relationship.

12. You’ve caught him making fun of you and saying really terrible things about you behind your back.

This is one of the signs that tell you that you need to break up immediately.

At best, he has no respect for you and has no problem throwing you under the bus to make him look good. At worst, he feels miserable and trapped in the relationship but is too afraid to tell you the truth.

Either way, this behavior should be an automatic dealbreaker. When this happens, you know your breakup will be final.

13. Nothing you ever do seems good enough for him.

If you’re with a person that you don’t want to be with, feeling appreciative of anything they do will just not happen. There’s nothing that you can say or do that will make him be appreciative, no matter what you try.

If you keeping worrying that he won't notice all the sweet gestures you make, then it’s time to break things off. This isn’t a healthy or happy relationship.

14. His friends and family have started to act very icy towards you.

If his people were always nice to you, but then they started to cool off or even snub you, this is a pretty bad sign. This suggests that your partner may have said some pretty awful things about you to them, particularly about the state of your relationship.

15. If you weren’t putting in any work, you’re not sure there would actually be a relationship at all.

Do you feel like the relationship you’re in requires you to do 90 percent of the work? Are you the only one planning things, speaking his love languages, and showing that you care? If this is the case, he’s really not happy being with you, and he’s about to bail.

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16. There's no more talk of a future with you.

If he has stopped talking about a future with you or has started saying "I" instead of "we" when speaking about future plans, this is a very literal sign he doesn't see you in his future anymore. When this happens, you know it's time to call it quits in a relationship.

17. Things just feel off.

Trust your gut! If things feel different, wrong, or off and you aren't quite sure of the reason, that may be a sign he wants to break up.

Everyone has bad days, but if those bad days seem to outnumber the good, that's not a good sign for your relationship. Sensitive people are especially aware of subtle changes in energy, and those changes shouldn't be brushed off.

18. He has stopped telling you about his life.

While everyone is entitled to keep some things to themselves, couples share almost everything. If you never know what he is up to anymore or he fails to mention big life events or major crises, he's phasing you out.

19. He's not interested in fixing things.

If you have brought up issues and tried to talk them out or find solutions, but he isn't receptive to those conversations, he may be on his way out the door.

Relationships require work, and if he isn't interested in putting in the effort to fix problems, he doesn't see a future with you.

20. He's made major life changes.

If your guy suddenly changes jobs, decides to move, pursues higher education in another state, or makes any other significant life changes without considering your relationship, chances are he's ready to move on.

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21. The "I love you's" become far and few in between or stop altogether.

Whether in person or over text messages or phone calls, if you notice your man has stopped saying those three little words, only says them when you say it first, or even shortens it to "love you," this is definitely a sign that he wants to break up.

For the most part, healthy relationships have consistency when it comes to words of affirmation and expressions of love. You shouldn't have to draw an "I love you" out of him.

22. He's stopped expressing interest in your life.

If he no longer asks questions about your day/week, doesn't follow up after you've had a big project at work or a nerve-wracking doctor's appointment, or ask about your family when they've been going through a rough situation, it's likely that he is slowly detaching himself from you.

23. He no longer puts effort into his appearance.

Depression may play a role in his declining hygiene, but if he doesn't show any other signs of mental health struggles and repeatedly shows up to dates looking less than presentable, he's probably stopped caring about you and your relationship.

24. He hides his phone.

Privacy is different than secrecy. Maybe he used to let you play DJ in the car using his phone, and now he won't let you touch it, or you knew his passcode and he changed it without ever giving you the new one.

This could be a sign of cheating, either in the form of an emotional or physical affair. Relationships can recover from infidelity, but he might not want it to if he's beginning a new romance behind your back.

25. He suddenly doesn't agree with you on anything.

Disagreements between couples are completely healthy and normal, but every compatible pair should agree on a few key things.

If he suddenly wants completely different things in life after you've already agreed or compromised on a set of plans, that may be a sign a breakup is coming.

You should let go of a relationship when this happens because it's clear things just won't work anymore.

Don't be blindsided by a breakup if you spot these warning signs, but don't completely lose hope, either.

Not all breakups are final, and there is always a chance for reconciliation with the help of relationship advice or relationship coaches.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey.