It's no secret that every couple has healthy disagreements on occasion. Sometimes, however,
arguments in relationships can a deeper meaning beneath them. For example, if your partner appears distant and seems to "shut down" during arguments, it could be a sign that the relationship is on the rocks. In other words, if you have some concerns you just can't shake about your partner, especially when it comes to arguing, it may be time to rethink the relationship.
"When a seemingly innocuous conversation, quickly gets contentious and one person is jumping to end the relationship, something is going on and the relationship could be in trouble,"
marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson, tells Bustle.
After all, relationships are a two-way street, and if you notice your
partner seems distant or you're noticing that they are putting in less effort than you are, there's no harm in addressing the situation directly to find out what's really going on.
It's important to be aware of what your partner is saying during arguments, in order to fully comprehend what they're
actually trying to get across. And if your partner uses any of these seven words or phrases, it could mean they have one foot out the door. 1 "I Think I'm Going To Go Away For A Bit"
While your partner taking a second to regroup after an argument is not a huge deal, take note if they say they need to go away for a bit after, to get some space. Having distance is necessary for all couples, but taking an indefinite break from the relationship can be cause for worry.
What's more, even the wording is unclear: There's no clarification of when your partner is coming back, or how long they're leaving for.
"Saying they need to clear their head followed by 'I think I'm going to go away for a bit,' is the ultimate checkout. It's basically a separation an emotional and physical timeout, a break." Lisa Concepcion, founder of LoveQuest Coaching, tells Bustle.
If your partner tells you this, it may be wise to sit down with them and have a formal conversation about how long this break may last, and what it will look like, so you can both express what you need.
2 "My Friends Warned Me About You"
If your partner starts involving outside people into your fights, it's a possibility that they're not being
completely transparent about their feelings.
Dr. Jess O'Reilly, Astroglide's resident sexologist, you should let your partner know that if their friends have something to say about you, you'd prefer to hear it directly from them. For example, Dr. O'Reilly says you could say: “I’m not worried about what your friends think. What do you think? Please speak for yourself."
All in all, your partner may be using their friends as a means to start the conversation about breaking up. If this happens, it's best to ask them what they mean by that, beyond what their friends have said.
3 "You Should Just Go On Your Own"
If you have a family event coming up this weekend, and your partner pulls out last-minute, even though it's important to you that they come and support you, Concepcion says this could be a sign they're pulling back and allowing you to experience life single. In other words, "when they lose enthusiasm for events and suggest you roll solo, that's a sign [they may be] looking for an excuse to end it," Concepcion says.
However, just because your partner decides to sit one event out doesn't necessarily mean that they want an out altogether. Perhaps your partner simply had a bad day and decides not to go so that they don't spoil the happy mood. But, if your partner continues to keep missing out on important events, then it may be time to sit down and chat.
4 "I'm Not Talking About This Again"
If your partner is no longer willing to put in the effort to resolve a conflict and
meet your emotional needs, the relationship may be at risk of crumbling apart.
When your partner refuses to talk out a conflict with you, "It often indicates that there is a lot of resentment and at least one partner feels like there is no point in even addressing their hurt/frustration," Richardson says.
However, before throwing in the towel, you and your partner may find it helpful to try
couples therapy, where you two can learn more about each others' needs, personalities, and conflict styles. 5 "I Need To Clear My Head"
Think of this line as another way of saying "I need space." When your partner says this, it's possible that they are feeling overwhelmed, confused, or lost in the relationship, and they need a temporary breather.
"Needing to 'clear the head' is a desire to connect with themselves for deeper answers," Concepcion says. "[They're] literally saying their partner is cluttering their mind, making them feel pressured and overwhelmed so they are essentially pulling back."
It's also worth noting that just because your partner tells you they need to "clear their head" doesn't necessarily mean it's the end. Some people find it helpful to take a minute to regroup and calm down, so they don't explode at the other person without thinking through what they want to say.
6 "I Know You're Sick Of Me"
Some partners may be too afraid to end the relationship themselves, so they'll often spur words or messages that make it "easier" for the other person to end the relationship for them. An example of this would be your partner putting words in your mouth and saying that you're the one who wants to end the relationship.
"If your partner is assuming that you are looking for an out, it could be because they themselves are looking for and out and they would like you to make the first move," Richardson says.
The most efficient way to find out what your partner is thinking is to have a calm conversation about how they're feeling, and see if anything is bothering them.
7 "You're Acting Like My Ex"
your partner compares you to their ex, especially in a way that puts you down, it's not only hurtful, but also likely distracting you from the real issue at hand.
"If your partner compares you to their ex during an argument, let them know that it’s not useful and it’s hurtful," Dr. O'Reilly says. "Simply let them know that you can’t focus on this conversation if you feel as though there is an imaginary third party in the room."
In other words,
comparing your relationship to others (including one of your previous ones) is extremely toxic, and if your partner does this, it may because they're hoping to get back with an ex, or they're trying to sabotage the relationship in one way or another.
Moral of the story: It's so important to listen to your partner's words when you're arguing, while also seriously thinking about the "bigger picture" of the relationship as a whole.
If you have any concerns, try communicating with your partner directly, and see what they have to say.