There's nothing worse than being
blindsided by a breakup. When things have been bad for a while, you can at least come to terms with the fact that your relationship may be coming to an end. But when things seem to be going fine and your partner ends it out of nowhere, it can be both painful and confusing. If you want to avoid being blindsided by a breakup, there are a few key things you need to be paying attention to.
As Nancy Ruth Deen, relationship expert and owner of
HELLOBreakup, tells Bustle, many people get blindsided by breakups because they focus on what they want the relationship to look like versus what it actually looks like.
"This is common particularly in the beginning stages of a relationship," Deen says. "What story have you created about your partner's actions? Are you using wishful thinking, or forming thoughts based on their expressed feelings?"
Creating expectations that don't match up to reality is one surefire way to be completely taken off guard by a breakup.
There's nothing wrong with fantasizing about the possibilities of your relationship. But it's important to keep yourself in check. So if you want to avoid being blindsided by a breakup, here are some things you should pay attention to.
How Your Partner Responds To Your Needs And Feelings
When you want to talk about your feelings, is your partner responsive? Do they give you a safe space to share? Do they empathize with you? If your partner reacts negatively or has you wishing like you never brought it up, Deen says these are not good signs. Feeling
emotionally safe in your relationship is important if you want it to last. If your partner's behavior doesn't allow you to feel safe, you may be headed for a breakup.
The Energy You're Giving Off In The Relationship
Do you feel like you're trying to
force things to work? Are you anxious over the possibility that your partner may be checking out or talking to someone new? According to Deen, "This energy can subtly push your partner away." Anxious thoughts can lead to changes in your behavior whether you're aware of it or not. When you're constantly worrying about what your partner's doing when they're out with friends or who they're talking to on social media, it can show.
Changes In Communication
"Connected couples nurture meaningful contact," psychotherapist
Kristina Ferrari, M.S.Ed., tells Bustle. If you notice that your partner has stopped responding to texts or they cut conversations short, they may be checking out. A partner's who's still in it will stay invested in keeping up consistent communication.
Also, if you notice that the conversation in general begins to dry up, that's a red flag. "Comfortable silence is a sign of a healthy relationship,"
Tom Ella, relationship expert and a host of dating podcast The Undesirables, tells Bustle. "Awkward or strained conversation with your partner can be a bad sign."
Changes In Your Partner's Moods
Stress can make anyone irritable. But if you notice that your partner gets easily frustrated or angry with you for the smallest things, your relationship may be in trouble. As Mackenzie Riel, relationship expert with
TooTimid, tells Bustle, "This may eventually evolve into complete avoidance." Communication here is also key to figure out what may be bothering your partner.
Distance And A Lack Of Physical Affection
If your partner stops being affectionate or they always make excuses about not being in the mood, those are pretty big signs that your partner is pulling away. "It's difficult for someone to engage in physical affection if they're doubting the relationship," dating coach
Myles Scott, tells Bustle. "Distance is used as a technique to disengage from emotional connection."
Your Friends' And Family Member's Opinions On Your Partner
"Listen to those closest to you, even if it isn’t something you want to hear," Josh Robbins, spokesperson for
DatingPositives, tells Bustle. No one knows your relationship better than you and your partner. However, the people closest to you may see something that you're missing or choosing to ignore. If you're open to their opinions, you can get a better idea of what your relationship is actually like.
"One of the best ways to tell if you're in the calm before the storm is to trust your instincts," Ella says. For instance, if you feel uneasy with your partner's new friendship with someone at work, don't ignore that feeling. It's important to be rational, but it's also important to listen to your gut. If things have started to feel off, there's a reason for it. It may be time to have a conversation with your partner.
The best way to avoid being blindsided by a breakup is to communicate. As hard as it may be to hear that your partner isn't completely happy, it's necessary if you want to save your relationship. As Deen says, "Getting a sense of where your partner stands will help predict the longevity of your relationship, and if they're on the same page as you." So keep the lines of communication open, and be sure to pay attention to the subtle signs that your relationship may be in trouble.