5 Signs Your Partner Is "Slowly Breaking Up With You," According to a Dating Coach
It might be a while before they actually cut ties.
As much as we wish we could, we can't read our partners' minds. So, while one person might think everything is fine and dandy in their relationship, the other person might be silently stewing. Worse yet, they could even be planning a breakup. However, no split comes completely out of left field. According to Jacob Lucas, dating coach and TikTok star, there are certain signs your partner might be slowly breaking up with you. Here, we break down the signs Lucas notes; plus, we asked experts to outline why these signs occur and how to react if they do.
They will be less physically intimate with you.
If you and your partner have less sex or moments of PDA than you used to, something might be up.
"This can happen if you've already emotionally ended the relationship," says Trisha Wolfe, licensed professional clinical counselor and owner of CBUS Therapy. "In other words, you've essentially moved on from your connection, and you're just logistically preparing to break up. Therefore, engaging in sex may be difficult because you feel like you're faking the desire to be intimate."
However, Wolfe notes that sometimes the opposite happens. "Some people become more intimate with their partners during this time—usually as a last-ditch effort to resolve the relationship. The person hopes more sex can restore some of the physical or emotional intimacy that's been missing." If you notice a change in your sex life, check in with your partner.
They spend much more time with friends.
In a healthy relationship, each of you will have individual friendships and make time for your pals. But if your partner increases their friend time dramatically, they could be plotting a breakup.
Wolfe notes that this happens for a couple of reasons. "One, you may be avoiding the relationship altogether and simply spending more free time with others," she says. "Two, you may be subconsciously strengthening your support system for when you do break up with your partner."
Get to the root of the issue as soon as you notice a change in their social calendar.
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They become vague about what they're up to.
As you and your partner go about your days, you likely share random tidbits that strengthen your bond. But if a problem is brewing, this emotional intimacy might wane.
"One indicator of dissatisfaction in a relationship is limited or cursory communication; for example, if you ask how their day was, they might simply reply, 'fine,'" says Beth Ribarsky, PhD, professor of interpersonal communication at the University of Illinois. "However, it, again, is important to recognize that outside factors, such as stress, can impact how someone acts inside of a relationship."
Ribarksky suggests talking about this observation to address the underlying issue, whether its dissatisfaction or an external stressor.
They avoid talking about plans that involve you both in the future.
Normally, you and your partner likely plan concerts, vacations, and holidays months in advance. So if they suddenly stop, there might be trouble ahead.
"This is a way to try to mitigate the pain and element of surprise from a breakup," says Wolfe. "Usually, once someone has absorbed the idea that they can have a future without their partner, they feel comfortable initiating the breakup. It can take several weeks or months to get to this point."
Again, check in if a lack of planning from your partner is troubling you.
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They have no interest in fixing your problems.
Once your relationship hits this point, it's probably over for good—and it might even be time for you to make a move.
"If someone is unwilling to work on the problems in the relationship, this is an indicator that you should break up with them," says Ribarsky. "A relationship is a two-way street, so both partners must be invested in making the relationship work."
When your partner stops putting in the effort, it's time to cut your losses and move on.