There's almost nothing worse than the feeling of being head-over-heels in love with your partner, only to later be totally blindsided by a breakup. If you're happy and content in your relationship, the signs a breakup is coming can be difficult to recognize — and even more difficult to acknowledge and admit to yourself. But while breakups are rarely easy under any circumstances, they can be slightly less painful if you at least have an inkling that something is amiss in your relationship.
"When someone is in a relationship for any length of time, especially when they love the person, even if the [breakup] signs are visible to others and even yourself, you can be in a state of denial," Davida Rappaport, speaker, spiritual counselor & dating expert, tells Bustle. "No one wants to fail in a relationship... So if someone wants it to succeed, they may see the signs, but they may be in the headspace that it can be fixed."
Of course, if two people are both willing to put in the effort to make things work, it's certainly possible to salvage a relationship that's on the brink of a breakup. But if a relationship has deteriorated over time, and one or both partners doesn't care enough to work on it, a breakup is pretty much inevitable. Here are seven signs, according to experts, that a breakup might be right around the corner.
1. Your Arguments Turn Unhealthy
It's normal (and healthy) for couples to argue from time to time, but if you stop arguing in a productive way and start exhibiting unhealthy behaviors while fighting — like refusing to compromise or giving the silent treatment — that's not a good omen for your relationship.
"If your partner does not argue fairly and you both are unable to drop things from time to time and agree to disagree, this could be a sign that your relationship may not be long-lasting and you may be headed for a breakup at some point in the near future," Rappaport says.
2. You Communicate Less
In order for a relationship to last, there needs to be open, honest communication from both partners — and if you notice you and your partner communicating less and less, that's not a good sign.
"One of the most important components of a healthy relationship is good communication skills," Rappaport says. "If one partner in a relationship stops communicating... then this relationship is going to fail very quickly and the couple will be heading toward a breakup much quicker than if there were other problems in the relationship."
3. Your Connection Feels Weaker Than It Used To Be
Building a strong, intimate connection in a relationship doesn't happen overnight, and maintaining that connection takes a lot of work. If you notice that you feel less connected to your partner than you once did, that's a pretty telling sign that something is amiss.
"If you have stopped talking and sharing ideas; if signs of affection and attraction have lessened; if you’ve quit laughing together — these could all be signs that the connection is getting weak, and that a breakup is on the horizon," Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle.
4. Your Goals And Beliefs Have Changed
For a relationship to last long-term, it's crucial that you and your partner are on the same page about important things, like your core values and goals for your future as a couple. If your visions for the future no longer line up, that might mean a breakup is on the horizon.
"If your or your partner’s goals and beliefs have changed this can signal some problems in your relationship that may lead to a breakup," Rappaport says. "Both you and your partner need to be comfortable with each other’s choices. If one of you are unable to accept the fact that one or both of you are changing, this can be a sign that a breakup may be in your near future."
5. Your Partner Doesn't Take You Into Account Anymore
The healthiest couples think of themselves as a team, and make decisions together — or at least take the other person's feelings into account. If this stops happening in your relationship, that's a big red flag for the future.
"We all need to be our own people, and you should stay an individual no matter what," Backe says. "Nevertheless, if your partner stops taking you into account, and if you find their commitment somewhat wavering, it could indicate dissatisfaction on their part. This may signify an impending breakup, or it may just mean you two need to work some things out. Depending on the level of commitment and history of the relationship, there could be different outcomes."
6. One Or Both Of You Stops Making An Effort
Even if you're super comfortable in your relationship and you feel it's a happy one, you should never stop making an active effort to be your best self, and improve your relationship — because if you do, that's when things can start to deteriorate.
"Putting energy into yourself and wanting to be your best are signs that you're into the relationship," Laurel House, celebrity dating and empowerment coach, tells Bustle. "When someone puts effort into something, it makes them more emotionally invested in it and they want to stay closer to their investment. But it might not be the person who stops putting in the effort who loses interest, it might instead be their partner. Seeing that your partner is no longer putting effort into being their best self might make you lose respect [and] admiration."
7. You Don't Show Appreciation For Each Other Anymore
In a healthy partnership, both people will make an effort to be thoughtful and do things for the other person — as well as show their appreciation when the same is done for them — and it doesn't bode well if your partner seems to suddenly stop appreciating the little things you do for them.
"Appreciation is essential," House says. "...When you stop appreciating each other, you start taking each other for granted, and that can create resentment and sadness. It can also make you stop doing things for them. Because why would you make the time and do something nice if they don't notice and don't care?"
Truthfully, avoiding a breakup isn't always possible, simply because some relationships aren't meant to last forever. But if you're always actively working to improve your connection with your partner (and they're doing the same), you have a better chance of salvaging a relationship. On the other hand, if your relationship has changed for the worse over time, don't be afraid if the time comes to let it go — because that's just a chance for you to move on to something even better in the future.