If you happen to notice subtle changes in your relationship, you won't want to immediately assume it's a sign your
partner is thinking of leaving. All relationships require work, and they aren't always easy, so there will be ups and downs — both big and small. But if it seems like they haven't been themselves, that may be your cue to approach the subject, and see what's up.
There are dozens of reasons why someone might want to
leave a relationship, and you won't know if this is the issue — or if it's something else entirely — until you ask. "It's important to create open communication, despite the fact that your partner might be closed off for now," Nancy Ruth Deen, relationship expert and owner of HELLOBreakup, tells Bustle. "You'll want to schedule time to talk, where you don't feel rushed, and there is an opportunity for both of you to talk."
If your hunch was correct, and you decide to
work on things, bear in mind the situation won't magically improve overnight. "Understand this is a slow process, and you'll need to focus on rebuilding the relationship," Deen says. You two will need to communicate, compromise — and figure out why your relationship got off track in the first place. And then go from there.
Here are a few signs your partner might be
thinking about leaving, as well as how you can discuss the situation as a couple, according to experts.
They No Longer Want To Argue
"Arguments can be a healthy way to express differing opinions, and reach a compromise,"
therapist Jordan Madison, LGMFT, tells Bustle. So while it may seem like a positive change at first, the fact your partner no longer wants to argue may actually mean they're giving up.
This is especially true if you've been having problems, as they may begin to see breaking up as the only possible solution. And that's why talking about it, as soon as you spot this sign, can be key in bringing it all back from the brink.
Therapy can come in handy, too. "It provides skills that both partners can use
to communicate better," Madison says. "It also allows both partners to heal from past hurts caused by each other or their childhood, that are still affecting them in their adult life."
They Aren't Prioritizing The Relationship
"Of course life gets demanding and people get become busy, so spending quality time together every single day may not be attainable," Madison says. "However, if you are feeling as if your partner no longer prioritizes your needs, that may be a sign that they are not caring about the relationship."
In this instance, you may want to give your partner space, if that's what they need. But spending time together in a different setting can also make it easier to talk, and help you overcome a stale relationship.
"Take some time away as a couple," Madison says. "Remember how you two began dating, what drew you to each other, the dreams you two want to accomplish together, and what you love about each other."
"Humans often crave connection and intimacy," Madison says, which is why your partner's lack of desire to cuddle, kiss, have sex, etc., may be a sign they're thinking about leaving.
And this is especially true if there aren't any serious outside circumstances going on at the same time, Madison says, like big health issues or family worries. These things can put a damper on your sex life, and make it difficult to feel connected.
If you've noticed a lack of intimacy, speak up. It may be possible to dig through underlying anger, resentments, and unresolved issues, and figure a way out of it as a couple.
Many times, when someone's thinking about leaving a relationship, they will zero in on silly little problems, and be extra irritated, Mackenzie Riel, a sex and wellness educator for
TooTimid, tells Bustle. So if this keeps happening, it could be a sign your partner's got something more on their mind.
Of course, people are allowed to be irritated, so don't read into your partner's crankiness, or immediately assume the worst if they're in a bad mood. But if they've been short-tempered for a while now, definitely take a closer look.
It can help to ask them what's wrong, as this could be their way of starting a conversation about bigger issues. Opening the floor for a serious heart-to-heart may be just what they need.
They've Been Coming Home Late
It's always OK — and even healthy — to spend time apart. So if your partner wants to chill by themselves, or needs a little space, there's really no need to panic.
Do, however, ask if something's wrong if they've been coming home late, or leaving you out of their plans. "You should ask about the people in their lives and comment on how long it’s been since you’ve seen their mom or best friend,"
Dr. Racine Henry, PhD, LMFT, tells Bustle. "Inquire about why your partner is creating a barrier in your relationship."
After all, there are a lot of reasons why they might need space, and you won't know what's truly on their mind until you ask. If they're willing to work on the relationship, a conversation like this may be just what they need.
They Keep Canceling Plans
"If your partner is no longer being intentional about making sure you spend time together and is changing the routine about your alone time, they could be thinking of leaving," Dr. Henry says.
This might include canceling date nights, bailing on plans at the last second, or leaving you hanging when it comes to making future plans.
"You should bring this to your partner’s attention and make it their job to schedule the next outing," Dr. Henry says. "If they don’t, this is a clear communication that they’re not interested or invested."
They've Talked About Separating Your Finances
If your partner starts acting differently when it comes to how you split your finances, take note. "There is nothing wrong with having separate bank accounts, but if your partner suddenly wants to cut down or eliminate shared expenses, it could be a sign they are planning a life that doesn't include you... or your money,"
relationship expert Margaret Williamson, tells Bustle. "An easy way to find out is by asking, and by presenting a financial plan that shows the benefits and power of pooling your money."
They Don't Want To Talk About The Future
"One subtle sign that a partner is planning on leaving is they stop making future plans with you," Lydia Kociuba, online dating expert and owner of
Hidden Gem, tells Bustle. Maybe they refuse to nail down plans for the weekend, chat about the holidays, or discuss vacations.
Whatever the case may be, trust your gut. "If you bring up future things and they become evasive and the subject gets changed, it's probably a subtle sign — especially if this starts to happen frequently," Kociuba says.
They Keep Picking Fights
As mentioned above, if your partner becomes
too chill, it can be a sign they're checking out. But an increase in arguments can also be a red flag. "When we are frustrated, we tend to lash out quickly and sometimes for no good reason ," Justin Lavelle, dating expert and chief communications officer at BeenVerified, tells Bustle.
If your partner has been considering ending the relationship, frustration is probably one of their main reasons why. They may not be able to see another way to fix the situation, and thus feel painted into a corner.
And that's where communication can come into play. If you'd both like to make things work, that's a great place to start. And from there, you can make plans to open up, iron out problems, and be more understanding, so your
relationship can continue forward.