What are the signs when a relationship is over and is headed for a collapse?
We asked experts to shed light on this question.
Charese L. Josie, LCSW
Owner & Founder, CJ Counseling and Consulting Services
Here are some warning signs that your relationship is over:
Other people and things come first
It’s natural that relationships evolve over time; however, if they evolve where other people and things become a priority than that is a sign that your partner does not care about the consequences of such, especially if you express your displeasure.
Arguments begin when you ask for something
It’s common that relationships may become combative. If you find that the simplest question or attempt at a discussion becomes combative, then that may be an indicator that your partner is frustrated by your simple presence.
No intimacy or only intimacy
No intimacy or affection is a sign of relationship discourse. The opposite is also accurate. If your partner is readily available for intimacy and that is the only time you are shown attention than it may be a sign that your relationship has been reduced to physical needs and no longer an emotional connection.
If your partner is secretive with their phone, whereabouts and simple daily events, then it is an indicator that you are not deemed relevant enough to know these intimate details.
Your partner no longer has boundaries in the relationship
If your partner has shown a complete disregard for your relationship then it may be an indicator that the relationship is over. Examples include leaving and coming without you knowing their whereabouts and your partner is upset if you ask.
Your partner is blatant that you are not a priority and conducts behaviors or has relationships that are known to be bothersome. The also is true if your partner does not show any consideration for the time they enter and leave the home and does not inform you of their intentions.
A lack of phone calls/text messages initiated or returned
If you realize that your partner only reaches out to you if they need something that is beneficial to them then that may be problematic. In these moments, your partner does not ask about your day and does not want you to ask about their day. If discussions occur, it will be brief without any substantial context.
Your partner begins to separate items and finances
Not only is your partner separating emotionally but when your partner begins to separate items and finances than they are making plans towards a separate life.
As we all know, infidelity is not socially acceptable; however, unfortunately, it occurs in a lot of relationships. These behaviors are usually accompanied by untruthfulness, reassurance that the partner is misreading a situation and other behaviors to maintain both relationships.
When infidelity is known and feelings are made verbal about the other partner, it is a sign that the other relationship has developed from just physical intimacy to emotional.
In our current time, social media plays a large role in our lives. If you are in a relationship and your partner is one who frequents social media, yet there is no indication of a relationship anymore, then the relationship is no longer public which may signify an attempt to subtly inform others that the relationship may be over.
Social media posts reflect a desire to be single or frustration with relationships
Notice if there is a change in the tone of your partner’s social media post. If the post becomes combative, aggressive and focuses on unhealthy relationships, this is a message meant for you and others.
Dating and Relationship Expert, Dating Scout
You no longer care about each other’s whereabouts
Your relationship might be over when you no longer make the effort to reach out and ask what they’re doing or where they are. When you don’t see each other, it’s totally fine with you.
You can go about your day without having anxious thoughts about who they’re with or what they’re doing. In fact, you seem to like it when your partner doesn’t give you updates or isn’t around.
You let a day end in anger
A relationship is not always sunshine and rainbows: fights and disagreements are always part of the equation. Still, as a couple, you try to patch things up and meet halfway
When your relationship is doomed, you let the fights get the best of you. The talk turns into a screaming match where you exchange accusations and bring back old wounds. No one backs down—the day ends and you’re both livid and unable to compromise.
You get attracted to others
A lot of relationships end because of third parties. Perhaps, it is the most hurtful way to end things because loyalty, trust, and hearts are broken all at once.
When you start being attracted to other people, it means that your feelings for your partner are fading. You are consciously or unconsciously enjoying having feelings for the other person.
You dread seeing your partner
One sure sign that your heart isn’t in the relationship anymore when you don’t want to see your partner anymore. Your relationship has gone too toxic that you even dread about having a conversation with them. You can’t stand being in the same room without having an argument over small things.
These small arguments, however, rooted from silly things such as the unpaid electric bill, or unwashed dishes in the sink can be indicators of something bigger such as unresolved conflicts in the past.
You criticize and bring down each other
For couples, it is completely normal to joke around each other. However, it isn’t healthy when the bite outweighs the humor and it does nothing but bring your or your partner’s self-confidence down.
If one or both of you make each other feel inadequate and in turn, makes harboring ill-feelings quite easy, it is probably time to reassess the relationship. Criticism without compassion will make any relationship break at some point.
The purpose of your relationship is lost
You know what your partner means to you. Your partner showed you how to be loved and respected. You both learned each others’ needs to be in a relationship. And then, you both established your purpose as a couple.
So, when one fails to sustain that purpose, for example, companionship, your relationship will never be whole again. You will tend to look for another source to fulfill that need.
Christine Scott-Hudson, MA, MFT, ATR
Licensed Psychotherapist | Marriage and Family Therapist | Owner, Create Your Life Studio
If you or your partner are disrespectful or insulting to each other, your relationship is in deep trouble. Without mutual respect, your relationship has nowhere to go but down. Appreciate, complement, and show gratitude towards each other instead, and speak it out on the regular!
Build each other up instead of trying to knock each other down. Home needs to be a safe place to land. Contempt is a sure sign you are on the road to ruin. Respect is mandatory for a relationship to thrive.
Respect is necessary for the health of your partnership. If you are speaking to each other with contempt, get help fast from a licensed couple’s therapist.
Physical and emotional abuse
If there are signs or actual behaviors of physical or emotional abuse, pay attention to them. Ignoring red flags of contempt, disrespect, and abuse in the beginning because you want your relationship to work will always cost you later.
Examples of physical abuse are behaviors like pushing, shouting over you, screaming in your face, physically taking things away from your grip, grabbing you tightly, squeezing, pinching, hitting, slapping, punching, biting, kicking, shoving, forced sexual contact, restraining, and destroying your property.
Examples of verbal and emotional abuse are: any negative or disparaging comment about your appearance, including weight, skin color, shape, size, hair, teeth, clothing, abilities, genitals, etc, any put-downs about your intelligence, brain, mind, mental health, etc.
Any insults about your worth or value as a human being, all of these types of repeated verbal assaults could lead you to feel not good enough, not smart enough, and/or not loveable, repeated criticisms about personal vulnerabilities you’ve shared with them in the past, such as abuse histories, phobias, fears, or sensitive information about your past.
If your partner has a pattern of abuse towards you, please get help
Find a supportive Psychotherapist who understands and who specializes in domestic violence. You need a private, separate space of your own to examine and look more deeply into the unhealthy dynamic, including your own personal family history, underlying vulnerabilities, and possible codependency, etc. so that you can begin to heal and move forward in a healthier manner.
Chief Communications Officer, People Looker
You don’t talk as much
You just couldn’t get enough of each other turns to you have a hard time locating the other… unless some specific circumstance explains the sudden drop in communication, you are most likely being given a signal.
Cheating is generally a sign that it is over
This may not be the case in all relationships, but it is certainly indicative of a problem or something lacking in the relationship. If a partner is wandering and you are still in the courtship phase of the relationship, this should be a definite sign that you need to move on.
You are happier when you are not around your partner
This may require some sleuthing, but it is a good indicator of the path of your relationship. Around you, your partner is dull and depressed but around others, your SO seems to be his/her old self.
This usually applies to both, but if everything turns into a fight, chances are one or both of you may be looking for an excuse to end the relationship.
Everything is stagnant
Unless you have been married for 40 years, this might be a sign that it just isn’t meant to be. New love is supposed to be filled with fun and wonder. If you are sitting on the sofa bored out of your mind it is probably because one of you, or both, are no longer engaged with one another.
Withdrawal from progress
Plans start to get canceled. Your partner starts to move things back to his place that he had previously been keeping at your place. He or she starts to avoid planning anything in the future, such as vacations or plans to move in together.
Relationships are a progression of feelings and commitment and when one person starts to stymie that progress, it is a red flag that the relationship may not last.
Arguing all the time
Arguing can be healthy for a relationship sometimes, as it actually shows signs that there is still some passion and fire in the relationship. However, arguing all the time and over every little thing is a sign that there is a problem.
Relationships that are falling apart can be frustrating. When we are frustrated, we tend to lash out quickly and sometimes for no good reason. If the relationship is a constant battle, you are on notice that it might be coming to an end.
It can be a big clue that things are changing. If your partner is posting about attending events and gatherings without you or if you are seeing people mentioned/tagged in their posts that you don’t know, those may be signs that your relationship may be coming to an end.
They will not make long term plans
The problem is you if you are trying to make long term plans after the second date, but if you have been in the relationship a considerable bit of time and your partner refuses to discuss the future… take the hint that there may be no future.
Your partner’s friends can be a great tell
If they suddenly turn cold or distant, this may be a hint that your partner has been talking and a move or breakup could be in your future.
Family Lawyer, Law Office of Julian Fox
If your partner is treating you’re like worthless, denigrating you, or disregarding your opinions, he or she may be losing interest. Contempt can be expressed in words, tone, or facial expression. When a man loses his ability to provide the standard of living his partner is expecting, the reaction often turns to contempt.
In my 30 years of practicing family law, I’ve seen people get back together after cheating, addiction, and debt, but I rarely see couples reconcile if they express contempt in the initial meeting.
Empathy, caring, and love are the opposite of contempt. These actions say ‘you’re important’ which is almost as critical as ‘I love you’.