One of the hardest things about being in a relationship is watching it disappear in front of your very eyes. What sucks more than knowing it’s coming to an end? When your partner knows before you do. As much as we’d like to think we are always in control of our relationships, there’s a very brutal reality about your fairytale romance: there are two of you in it, and both parties are entitled to want out at any given moment. Sometimes that means you’re going to get left, stranded, and blindsided when your rose-colored glasses told you your relationship was safe. Well, sometimes you get dumped and sometimes it happens before you even realize your relationship is coming to an end. And sometimes – which means most times - the moments leading up to the end are worse than the actual act itself, but they’re also there in plain sight. Here are some things to keep an eye out for in your relationship.
How to tell if you’re getting dumped
Are you cuddling less? Does your presence make your partner squirm in disgust? If so, he’s either cheating on you or he’s planning on giving you the boot. Physical distance is a pretty measurable sign, especially if the majority of your relationship was spent on top of one another. If you were used to sex, cuddles, and PDA and they all suddenly disappear into thin air, chances are something is wrong.
Emotional distance is the most painful indication of drama. With physical distance, you get a visual sense of where the two of you stand; with emotional distance, it’s abstract. There is nothing ‘real’ to validate your fears. All you can do is lie in bed and worry about the ‘inkling’ you have and this unexplained pain you feel, which usually just feels like a hole in your stomach and a gigantic clump in your throat. When someone detaches emotionally, it’s almost always a sign of dissipating feelings. That or there’s infidelity involved, in which case it still indicates a quickly approaching darkness.
Being around the same person all of the time is intense; the only reason you’re able to tolerate being around a boyfriend or girlfriend is because that intensity is gingerly masked by love and sweet sugary feelings. Once the love begins to evaporate, you’re left with some asshole barking in your ear all day, complaining about being ditched or ignored, or about the trash not being taken out. What do you do? You get angry. If you start noticing your partner is snapping at the smallest things, there’s a good chance he’s just over making the effort to remain calm. Decorum is exhausting and we usually just keep it together when we feel we are getting something in return.
Remember dragging your feet to that dreaded class in high school? You didn’t want to be there; you had to be there. That’s exactly what it’s like when you’re in a relationship you don’t want to be in: you’re just too coward to walk away. (Like you could have easily dropped that class in HS, but instead you chose to attend with a pout every day). Relationship-ending boredom is easy to spot: it’s not easily cured with adventures to the theme park or spontaneous stripteases.
Passive aggressive much? The shitty behavior is another indication that your Romeo has given up. In fact, it’s usually an attempt to get you to do the dumping. Guys think they’re being so obvious with shitty behavior, they’re baffled by your inability to ‘get the point’. It’s supposed to be obvious, but you usually like to live in the land of denial (have you read my book?), so they eventually end up dumping you to make the whole thing go by quicker.
I don’t want to get dumped! What can I do?
Well, you can definitely beg, but that’s not very cute – or effective, for that matter. First thing’s first: don’t just assume you’re getting dumped. These signs are meant to indicate ongoing behavior, not your partner having a shitty day or two. We all get bored, we all get pissed and we all get a little shitty – it’s life. Deep within, you usually know something is wrong and whatever it is, be it temporary or a death strike to your romance, you have to do something about it. The situation is usually hopeless. If your partner isn’t making an effort to make things work, it usually means it’s not going to, no matter the number of bandages you try to apply, because all that does is prolong the inevitable. In some cases, however, there might still be hope. Here are 2 things you can do:
- Participate and make an effort - It’s easy to fall into the rabbit hole of fear. While you’re busy being an investigator, you’re probably missing out on the same relationship you suspect your partner of wanting to abandon. Do you sense boredom? Bring in some excitement (get sexy, have fun, try new things). Is he irritable? He might be having a shitty week at work. Stop barking in his ear, offer support, and let him deal with it on his own. Men just need to breath sometimes.
- Communicate – If you’re sensing distance, or that something is wrong in general, the only way to figure it out is to stop over analyzing and just speak the fuck up. Unless, of course, you enjoy lying in bed letting your imagination run wild and automatically assuming the worst. If there is a problem that can be fixed, the first step is to identify it – and you can’t do that alone. None of the above signs hold up unless you talk to him first, because there’s a good chance you may be misreading the entire situation. Once relationships surpass the honeymoon phase, they begin to hit hurdles and communication is the only way to get through them if there’s any hope for your romance.
Loving someone who doesn’t love you back sucks, but the only way to get over it is to let the reality set in. If you start noticing abnormal behavior like the signs mentioned in this article, don’t just write it off and wait for him to tell you it’s over, because that may never happen either and you’ll just be stuck in a toxic situation from there on out. Sitting in bed counting the hints isn’t going to get you anywhere, either. Sit up straight, take a deep breath and do a pulse check if you need to.
And remember, relationships end. It’s okay. The next one is better, anyway.
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