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

Photo: Sergii Gnatiuk | Shutterstock
man looking at upset woman from a distance

Ever had that uneasy sick feeling in your gut, wondering if your partner is about to break up with you? I know I have.

During one ill-fated relationship, I told my best friend that if I had known I was boarding the Titanic when the relationship began, I wouldn't have agreed to it in the first place.

Perhaps in a spontaneous fit of masochism, I felt destined to continue for the foreseeable future (three days after that). Not shockingly, my gut feeling turned out to be correct.

Starting to feel like your partner is pulling away? You may be right.

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Here are 9 can't-miss signs that a breakup is imminent:

1. Your communication falls off

Those little messages in the middle of the day drop off and become non-existent. The little notes on the mirror or any communication become scarce. Speaking to each other starts to feel like a labored chore.

2. Petty disagreements abound

Disagreements escalate more quickly than they used to. Fighting is never fun, but the faster escalation of your arguments is a sign. If you two always quibbled over a certain topic, which has gone from a minor disagreement to a significant battle, this is a bad sign.

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3. Your partner no longer cares to fight.

This often happens with women, and I can vouch that if I'm telling you I don't like something, I still care to mention it and haven't started planning my exit yet.

If you're finding that they just don’t seem to care anymore, this is terrible news.

4. Your partner suddenly has shiny, new life goals

Sudden interest in veterinary education plans requiring them to move across the country? Check. Expressed difficulty of you coming along for a new plan? Check.

If you are just getting to know them, this doesn’t often apply since you are still finding out what makes them tick. However, if you find they have sudden new interests that don’t include you or would be hard for you to do together, be wary.

5. Your partner acts out

This one stems from a total lack of caring about what you think anymore and/or knowing that they need a change but not being ready or too cowardly to make one.

People on the way out the door begin living for themselves and often will subconsciously sabotage a relationship in hopes that you'll leave them. Have they suddenly started acting uncharacteristically cranky and cruel for no reason?

Acting out is a big sign that things might be starting to go off the rails and/or that your relationship isn't so great in the first place. It's worth a conversation to figure out what is going on.

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6. Your partner has lots of long nights at the office

Is your partner suddenly working late frequently? If they suddenly accept a lot of overtime that they passed up before, this can signify that they are about to leave.

Many people who are unhappy in their relationships start to distance themselves by throwing themselves into their work.

7. Your partner has a sudden renewed interest in their appearance

When people eye the door, they often become very aware of their appearance to the opposite sex. They let their appearance slide a little during your relationship, but suddenly, they're interested in going to the gym, dressing better, and fixing themselves up more.

A telltale sign of this is when they don't seem to be interested in including you in fitness activities. For example, in the past, they might have suggested that you hit the gym together, but suddenly they start going solo.

This is another tell-tale sign that they might be cheating, so beware of that.

8. You have a nagging gut feeling something isn't right. 

Only you know if this is true for you, but if you have felt something isn't right, you are probably right. Honor your feelings and have a conversation with them in a non-accusatory fashion.

Ask if they are happy in your relationship. Check-in with them.

RELATED: How To Tell Your Partner You're No Longer Happy — But You're Not Ready To Break Up

9. You feel clingier than usual. 

This one coincides with the bad feeling in your gut. Often when one person pulls away, it sends the other partner into a mode where they start to question their partner's motives, and it sets off a negative, push-and-pull cycle.

For example, the man notices that the woman is acting aloof and starts to worry about what is going on. So he starts questioning her about things he has never worried about before. He gets more clingy and tries harder.

This freaks her out and makes her pull even further away. This cycle is dangerous because one person becoming clingy and insecure can drive the other one away without there actually being a problem to start with.

Remember that these breakup signs are not set in stone, and just one without some of the others might mean nothing.

As always, it's better to have a conversation than freak out and start boxing up your stuff to strike first. Often, if someone has pulled away, there are steps you can take to save your relationship.

Have you had someone pull away without warning? What signs that a breakup is coming have you noticed in your relationships? Have you ever successfully saved a relationship when you knew things weren’t right? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.

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Elizabeth Stone is an author, dating coach, and personal development coach who helps women restore themselves to improve their relationships.