It seems like it would feel obvious when a relationship is about to end, but that's not always the case. You might be so blinded by your own feelings or hopeful expectations that you're missing some subtle signs that you're avoiding a breakup. Although it's true that some breakups can be avoided with some work and effort, other relationships may already be so tarnished, a breakup is going to happen inevitably, whether it's now or in the future. If you're starting to see all these ominous signs, it might be time to take action so you can get your life back where you want it to be.
"No one wants to be rejected," says relationship expert and psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. over email. "Breaking up means you’re facing loss (even if you’re the party who wants it) and you’ll be back out on the dating scene, which may sound exciting to some, but is generally a lot worse than being in a relationship. When we don’t want something to happen, we tend to avoid thinking about it or seeing the signs."
It can be hard to face the reality that a relationship is over, but sometimes, it's for the best. Here are nine subtle signs that you're avoiding an inevitable breakup.
1You're Doing More Things On Your Own
You might cope with your unhappiness in the relationship by deciding that it’s time to focus on making yourself happy. "You start to take more time away from the couple stuff and do things on your own," says relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad, LCSW over email. "You feel that separating your lives and focusing less energy on building commonality is the way to remain happy in the relationship."
2Sex Feels Obligatory
It's one thing to have an off day and not feel like being intimate, but it's another to always feel like sex is a burden. "You consciously are having sex a certain amount of times a week because you feel that you need to do so in order to keep the relationship going," says Milrad. "Your intimacy is not being motivated by your passion for your partner, but by your desire to ward off a sign that there is something wrong with the relationship.
3You Imagine What Your Life Would Be Without Them
"Some days, you fantasize about how life would look without your partner or dream about being on your own," says Milrad. "These thoughts show you that you are more worried about the future of the relationship than you let on. You push these thoughts away and avoid taking a look at your concerns."
4You Stop Trying To Fix Any Problems
Starting to feel more detached from your partner is a sign the relationship is running it's course. "You no longer try and fix problems between the two of you," says Milrad. "You feel that your efforts have gotten you nowhere. Instead, your new coping strategy is to detach and not invest in trying to change things. The hope is to be able to remain in the relationship and avoid facing the fact that the two of you may not be compatible."
5You Keep Telling Yourself It Will Get Better
Relationships do have road bumps, but you may be chalking up the problems in your relationship to the fact that you are going through a rough patch, even though it has been going on for awhile. "You keep hoping that things will shift and tell yourself that it will get better soon," says Milrad. "This thinking allows you to avoid facing the reality that your relationship may be in trouble and not just going through a period of hard times."
6You Excuse All Their Faults
You excuse all their faults and make explanations, acting as if they are small and no big deal. "You are becoming a master of this game of letting your partner off the hook," says relationship expert Audrey Hope over email. "For example, if they are not calling as much, or flirting with someone else, or being overcritical and borderline abusive, you will take out your imaginary book of excuses and find a good one to use."
7You Find Yourself Lying More Than Usual
As part of convincing yourself everything is okay, you might find yourself lying to others more than usual. "You tell your family and friends that everything is fine and great, and yet you stay home and have a private cry into your pillow," says Hope. "You don’t tell anyone how scared you are or how you really feel because that will make this upcoming fear real."
8Your Habits Have Changed
The stress of your relationship can cause you to turn to soothing habits You might notice yourself drinking and eating more than usual, or old habits are creeping in. "You are not feeling well or looking your best, and you are sleeping late and missing work" says Hope. "The first thing to go in a potential breakup is you."
9Your Friends & Family Are Getting Involved
"Your friends and family are telling you things about the relationship and how you are acting, which gets you mad at them," says Hope. "Hearing the truth is like a wall, a mask, a scary closet that you will not enter. You get angry at the messengers and are clearly putting your anger in the wrong places."