If your partner is suddenly acting differently — maybe they're less affectionate, or suddenly really busy — it can leave you wondering,
This may feel like the case if the issues are ongoing, and you're does my partner want to break up with me? feeling less connected as a result. In situations like these, it's important not to assume the worst or jump to any conclusions — your partner may be going through something you may not know about, and is distant as a result. But you do want to discuss the issues, ASAP, in order to figure out what's going on.
"If you see these signs, you might want to discuss them just to clear the air,"
certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "It’s possible you’re off base and you’re not about to be dumped. But, you still should find out why your partner is acting in a way that creates distance between you both and makes you worry about the relationship ending."
This is the part where you'll want to sit down and have a talk — even if it feels awkward or completely nerve-racking. "This conversation could open up a discussion about ways the relationship can improve," Bennett says. "Or, it could be a way for your partner to finally admit [they] want to break up. So, if you decide to bring up the topic, be aware that it could end badly. However, if your partner is going to end it anyway, hearing about it sooner is ultimately better."
But until you have this discussion, you may not know what's going on in your partner's head. Here are 11 signs your partner may be thinking of breaking up with you, according to experts.
They're Leaving You Behind
If you two
have separate lives going on outside your relationship, in the form of friendships and fun hobbies, count yourselves as super healthy. It's important to have your own thing going on, but that doesn't mean it's OK for your partner to leave you behind.
If your partner is excluding you from activities, or choosing their friends over you, it could be a sign they're distancing themselves. As Bennett says, "[They] might be laying the foundation for a life separate from you." If the change is particularly dramatic, and you're doing little or nothing together, it's time to have a talk, Bennett says.
You're Completely Absent From Their Social Media
Not all couples
share their lives online. But if your cute couple-y photos used to be all over your partner's timeline, and now they're nowhere to be found, it could raise some red flags.
"If your partner acts like he or she is single on social media (no photos of you, no indication of relationship status, etc.), it could mean he or she is testing the waters of the single life," Bennett says. So make sure you talk with them about it, ASAP.
They Avoid Talking About The Future
Talking about the future can be scary for even the most solid of couples, and yet it's something that needs to be done. You should be able to chat about things like vacation plans, or whether or not you plan on moving in together, without your partner clamming up.
"If you try to discuss the future, especially detailed plans, and your partner seems evasive and non-committal, it could be an indication [they don't] see you as a part of that future," Bennett says. If you do notice your partner having a hard time making future plans, talk to them about some of their reservations, and see whether they are still thinking of your relationship in the long-term.
They're Noticeably Less Affectionate
"Usually, if your partner is thinking of ending the relationship, [they] will show less affection," Bennett says. "This means less cuddling, fewer romantic text messages, and less attention generally." Again, if you try to
foster affection and it isn't quite working, these may be signs of someone who isn't happy, and may be distancing themselves as a result.
They're Contributing Less To The Relationship
If your partner is leaving you high and dry when it comes to making plans, or helping around the house if you live together, it might mean they no longer view themselves as member of a partnership.
"Obviously, if your partner was acting [this way] from the start, then these aren’t atypical,"
dating and relationship coach Mary Sambrosky tells Bustle. It might just mean they're not contributing equally to your relationship (and that'll require it's own, separate talk.) But if this habit seems to have come out of nowhere, it may be they're thinking about backing out.
They're Making Themselves Scarce
If your partner is suddenly MIA on your date night, and/or can't seem to answer their phone, take note. "This is a tell-tale sign," says Caleb Backe, a health and wellness coach at
Maple Holistics. "A functional relationship features two partners who are both eager and excited to spend time with one another." It could be that they've become busier at work, or something else is occupying their mind, but if your partner is going out of their way to spend less time with you, it may be a sign, says Backe.
They're Suddenly Secretive
"Whether it is about their day, an event, or their feelings, you hear far less from them," relationship expert Rhonda Milrad, LMSW, founder of
RelationUp, tells Bustle. "You get the feeling that you don’t know what is going on in their life."
While everyone's entitled to a little privacy, a person who is happily coupled up will
want to talk about their day. If your partner is suddenly secretive, or difficult to talk to, discuss it with them as soon as you can.
If you do finally get them to come over for a visit, or go out on a date, you might notice their mind seems to be somewhere else. "Even though you might be spending a lot of time together, it may not be quality time," Backe says. Do they seem distant? Are they staring into their phone instead of talking to you? While they could just be in a bad mood, or feeling distracted by work, an ongoing problem like this one could be a sign of waning interest.
Your Sex Life Is Dwindling
It's totally normal to have moments in your relationship where you're too busy, or simply not in the mood to have sex. But if this is out of the ordinary — and it's upsetting you but your partner doesn't seem to care — take it as a possible sign.
"Sexual spark is one of the most important aspects of any romance and while it
doesn't necessarily maintain itself over the course of a lifetime, any big drop-off in the amount of sex you're having is a red flag," Backe says.
They Aren't As Nice As They Used To Be
While your partner has absolutely no excuse to be mean, Backe says a cranky attitude may be a sign they're thinking about breaking up. "Generally speaking we're nice to the people we're fond of," he says. And if that fondness is dwindling, their desire and ability to be kind may dwindle, too.
You're Feeling Criticized All The Time
Another possible sign? An uptick in how often your partner criticizes you. "More negative than positive interactions imply a lot,"
therapist April Neff, LMSW tells Bustle. "What we say is just a reflection of the thoughts we let out." So if your partner is nitpicking at your actions, your relationship may not be in the healthiest spot.
There is always the possibility that your partner could simply be struggling with an issue that doesn't have anything to do with you —
such as depression, or stress at work. That's why it's important to talk and not jump to conclusions. If you'd like to patch things up, and move in a healthier (and far less stressful) direction, communication will be key.