August 16, 2023 | Casey Fletcher

People Share Non-Obvious Signs That Indicate Your Relationship Is Coming To End

When you begin a new relationship, everything seems exciting. The first few months are the "honeymoon stage," where both sides enjoy getting to know one another and experiencing new things together. But, as time goes on, it's natural that these feelings begin to diminish. You grow used to your partner and, unfortunately, sometimes that becomes boring. The more you get to know him or her, you start to see different sides of them, and they're not always ones you like.

Breakups are inevitable in life. Sometimes, no matter how much you love a person, it becomes clear that it's best for you both to go your separate ways. Although the demise of the relationship may occur in a major, obvious, and explosive way, more often it happens slowly. Just take it from these people who recently shared the non-obvious signs that indicate a relationship is coming to an end.

Don't forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 Nearing Nostalgia

When you start feeling nostalgic for the relationship you're currently in. When your relationship isn't even in the past yet and you're already missing certain things about it, you know something's not right. Nothing could technically be going wrong, but once you get those melancholy feelings, you start to realize things you never did before.

Split image - confused man and sad girl

#2 Not Going The Distance

I got dumped after nine years of being with her. Retrospectively, I somewhat knew something was wrong for about a year before the relationship ended, but I definitely didn’t know that I knew at the time. He just slowly became more distant. I chalked this up to the challenges he was facing as he started a new and very difficult career. He stopped making sacrifices for me.

He had to move away for six months to train for his new job and he wouldn’t see me on weekends because he was so “busy.” This made sense at the time, but now I realize that it may have partly been an excuse to not see me. The one time he did visit me, we spent much of the time entertaining his friends. I remember thinking when he left that weekend that maybe he’d want to visit me more now that it meant he could see his friends too.

It didn’t occur to me that seeing me should have been reason enough to want to visit. He stopped saying I love you. I made the unhealthy decision to scroll back through our text messages and noticed that between September 21 and November 8, I said, “I love you” via text 45 times, and he only said it back 13 times.

Somehow, I didn’t notice this as a problematic sign at the time. I'm not sure what I could have done to be more aware of these things as they were happening. I obviously should have noticed, but when you’re blinded by the hope that your love is enough to get you through, it’s super easy to put blinders on. Just try never to take your relationship for granted and be honest with yourself and hopefully you’ll be able to notice these signs and work on the relationship together before it’s too late.


#3 Anywhere But Here

When you're spending time with them and you'd rather be anywhere else. Also, when conversations with them become dry and boring. That's a big one too. If you're no longer interested in the person, there really isn't much of a reason to keep the relationship going. You need to be invested in your partner for it to even remotely work.


#4 Bottomless Pit

When it starts to feel like a bottomless pit. No matter how much effort you put into it, things don't improve and you get less and less back every day. Alternatively, when you realize that you can't problem-solve when the two of you are together, even simple tasks that require nothing more than open communication, something is wrong. Relationships require work, but they also need to be functional. If basic incompatibility keeps the two of you from working together as a partnership, it's doomed.


#5 No Need To See

You don't want to see them anymore. I thought I was just exhausted from starting a new job and being anxious about upcoming changes in my life. Nah, it turns out I just didn't want to see him anymore. It felt like going to work. I spend nine hours a day bugging people about making phone calls and filling out paperwork, then I'd just go straight to his house and bug him about stupid things.


#6 Flights And Fights

When you take a trip together and argue the whole time. It was one of the reasons I knew I needed to marry my wife—when we traveled to Europe together, we made quite the team. We had little disagreements, but for the most part, we never had any major problems with each other. We could probably go anywhere together.


#7 The Importance Of Winning

Relationships that rely on the feeling of love rather than actual dedication are doomed to fail. I’ve personally found a lot of truth in that. All of my previous relationships ended when I realized that I was the only one dedicated to making it work. When things get rough in my relationship, I find it also helps to think of this little mantra: "What’s more important, winning an argument over something entirely insignificant, or your partner’s feelings?"

There were some big red flags in my relationship:

Indifference: even the possibility of breaking up doesn’t seem to phase them. They stare at you blankly as you cry your feelings of hurt out.

Extreme defensiveness: never offering a “real” apology, if any. It did not matter how calm I was when trying to bring up an issue or concern, it would get completely turned around and I was made to feel like a terrible person. There was always some personality trait of mine that was actually causing all of the issues and it was something that I needed to apologize for.

Everything leads back to the general lack of commitment to the relationship. It’s a really, really awful feeling watching the person you love fall out of love with you. It hurts so much that it feels easier to try and ignore it. Sadly, there is no guaranteed relief from a break-up. It can take months, sometimes years to get over one, but eventually, it gets better.

I grew so much by ending my previous relationships. I gained more respect for myself, I’m a better communicator, a more reflective person, and I’m happier, and I’m sure they are as well! I still have some ongoing baggage that haunts me sometimes, but I’m working on it. You need to go through some rough patches to grow.


#8 Joyful Thoughts

I once heard love described as "joy at the thought of someone." Do you still feel joy at the thought of your partner, at least in general? If not, why?


#9 Not Worth Saving

In my last relationship, neither of us had a car to drive, yet we lived 50 plus minutes away from each other. We had things budgeted out so one of us could take an Uber to my house or her house for the weekends. When I occasionally questioned the inconvenient cost of the Uber, she would say, “It doesn’t matter, it’s worth spending that money just to see you.”

After a month or so, plus a couple of fights and tough conversations about things, she changed her mind about taking an Uber up to see me, saying, “It’s not worth the money, I need to save.” I knew a little beforehand the relationship was rocky, but after hearing that, it was clear that there was no way of being able to save it. She’s a very nice person, though. We just have different points of views on things. I still think about her all the time and hope she’s doing well.


#10 Contempt And Cut Conversations

Contempt. Relationships don't survive contempt, and early, small expressions of disgust grow larger and more entrenched as people build on what they have become accustomed to getting away with. Eye-rolling when the partner talks, cutting them off in conversation, dismissing with sarcastic generalizations, belittling the other when in the safety of groups. All these things are signs that the iceberg is straight ahead.


#11 Love Intoxication

Only being physically attracted to your partner when you’re intoxicated. Being physically attracted to your partner is a huge part of a relationship. One of the easiest ways to show how much you love and care for a person is by being intimate with them, and if there's no physical attraction, then there's no intimacy.


#12 Passing Time In The Car

When you come home from work and instead of getting out the car right away, you want to stay in your car longer. Most often than not, you're just trying to collect yourself before you walk into the house and are forced to face the relationship that makes you miserable. It's probably one of the saddest signs that a relationship is going downhill.


#13 Non-Committal Conversations

When they become non-committal on plans, especially those that involve reservations. When the conversation seems less full than it used to be as if you are just going through the motions of asking how each other's day was. When deep, personal conversations either remain more superficial than before or stay mired in prolonged, unresolved conflict. When they ask if you ever think about dating other people (not non-obvious, but how on Earth I missed that one is beyond me). When their five-year plan changes vastly, seemingly out of the blue.


#14 Smothered By Messages

When, instead of getting excited to see their messages, you get annoyed or feel smothered. I was questioning whether or not I wanted to break up with my ex, and this is what really told me it was time to go. If you looked at our conversations, you'd see a bulk of text from her and single-text responses from me.


#15 The Slow Trickle Of Speaking

When the communication slows to a trickle. When you look up one day and realize the two of you haven't had a conversation beyond what to have for dinner or what movie to watch. It's much more obvious when communication dies altogether. But when it slows to a trickle and you notice it's going, that's when you should pay extra attention. When you put in your best efforts to get the conversation flowing again and they don't reciprocate, that's when the relationship is in real trouble.


#16 Making Sense Of Breakup Songs

When breakup songs start making more sense to you than love songs.


#17 Not-So-Warm Welcome

When he came home from work after I had slept over (this is probably a month and a half into the relationship), I skipped out of his room to see him with a big smile on his face, He excitedly greeted the dog while my smile faded slowly. I realized he wasn't even going to look at me until after he was done (we were not in a fight at the time or anything). I should've known at that point.


#18 Go-To With Good News

If something happens and you want to discuss it with someone (get advice, share the good news, sympathy for something, etc.) but your significant other is not the first person you want to go to, then the relationship is on its way out. Not necessarily if it happens once or twice, but if it happens frequently, then they are not the person for you.


#19 Bettering Before The Breakup

If they start "bettering" themselves by going to the gym, taking classes, or dressing more sharply, it could be a bad sign. In a healthy relationship, this is a wonderful thing, obviously, but if things have been pretty grim for a while, this can mean something pretty bad sign. It's important to keep open lines of communication to make sure they aren't bettering themselves in spite of you.


#20 The Sad Sound Of Silence

Silence, and lots of it. When you start texting and calling each other less, it usually means your significant other has found someone new and exciting to talk to. Most of my exes just ghosted me instead of formally breaking up with me, so that is my experience with it. People get bored. I don't know how people find someone to marry or stay in relationships for two-plus years.

My relationships are usually passionate for a year and then fade away. I'm getting a little sad typing this, but meh... I guess this applies to people in their early 20s mostly? Maybe people who are older or wiser have longer-lasting relationships? I really don't know how you all do it. Maybe if I had more money it would last longer?


#21 Turning Toward Attention Bids

This is from a study I heard about, so it could be "obvious" if you know it, but I don't think most people think about it. Attention bids and turning away, versus turning towards. A partner asks for input or attention from their partner however many times a day. If their partner isn't responding affirmatively to (turning towards) those questions, I believe that eight out of 10 times, the relationship is struggling.

I try to keep that general concept in mind when with a partner. Attention bids can be as small as, "Did you hear this news story?" Or, "Look at this funny cat picture," etc. Consciously paying attention to those attempts at connection, and responding positively, will improve a relationship. But ignoring them or responding negatively will weaken and eventually end the relationship.


#22 Desire For Detective Work

When you feel the need to do detective work. Did they really go to that party? Did they really go to visit their parents last weekend? Detective work is a bad sign. It is a signal to the end of a relationship. It's the first step towards the realization that the trust isn't there, and without trust, the relationship cannot survive.


#23 The What Ifs

Before I start, there's no such thing as an early sign that a relationship is for sure coming to an end... but there are a lot of signs to indicate that it may not last, or that it will not be a healthy relationship for all parties if it does. One of the very early signs is when you are focused on who they could be, or who they have the potential to be.

 People are who they are, and it is extremely rare for that to change. Unfortunately, even people who WILL eventually make big changes to who they are will end up having to travel a road you are not willing to follow, not because you won't love who they will become, but because the process of their growth will come with relationship-damaging moments.


#24 Hints From Friends

Friends generally pick up on it before the people in the relationship. When your pals can't say anything nice or shut up when your girlfriend or boyfriend walks in, or they are having pointed conversations questioning your judgment for dating this person, then that's a bad sign. If it's just one friend who has concerns, that might just be a fluke. But if it's multiple friends, then you're probably in a bad relationship.


#25 No Longer A Priority

I'm still not completely sure what went wrong with mine, but here's what I've learned anyway. If you're the one initiating all the conversations and meetings, that's a red flag. If they prioritize something else over you all the time, that's a red flag too. In my relationship, she kept using his studies as an excuse. Literally, 90% of the time I suggested doing something together, she chose to do unnecessary school work instead.

Of course, you can't expect to be their main priority all the time, but if they are consistently putting other things before you, then something is wrong. A loving partner should want to spend time with you even if they are super dedicated to something else. Additionally, if you can't be yourselves around each other, then that's not healthy.

I know these don't necessarily sound 'non-obvious' but when you love someone, it can be incredibly hard to accept that these things are happening. You can tell if your partner has decided to end the relationship: they will draw away for seemingly no reason, they will stop showing small signs of affection such as kisses at the end of messages, they will put little to no effort into conversation, and they will keep deferring everything you want to do with them.


#26 More Effort Than Return

When you feel like it's more effort than the return. You should be happy and your relationship shouldn't feel like a job or obligation. There are instances of people staying together where both are just sort of indifferent and clearly not madly in love, but they can make it work because they each do just enough to remain content with each other and not make each other miserable. This isn't ideal for most people, but it can work. Once you cross that line and feel like the relationship is just draining you of energy, your freedom, your happiness, etc., that's a good sign to just end it.


#27 Cutting To The Chase

She gets a very drastic haircut. When a person feels lost and needs to change everything about their life, they would start where they have control. A woman's hair is both something she controls and is something many deem to be a big part of who they are. I've seen it a few times. I had it happen once with an ex. It's really interesting what a huge red flag it was in retrospect.


#28 One-Way Street Of Emotion

When you are the one constantly providing emotional support, but your partner doesn’t provide any for you when you need it. When you ask how your partner is doing and they will tell you then change the subject without asking how you are doing. Or they always find a way to make a conversation about them. At that point, it just feels like a one-way street and it really sucks.


#29 Losing Touch

If you are someone who likes to receive affection mostly through physical contact, then all of a sudden you're not getting any, it's a sign. I'm someone who very much needs physical touch. It doesn't have to be much—anything from cuddling and kissing to a fleeting, but purposeful graze. I found that my ex and I were still able to have fun conversations, watch movies and basically still be friends, but she went from being very touchy with me to almost avoiding getting close to me.

Obviously, I don't think being in a relationship obligates someone to physical affection, but I don't think I'm the only person here who gets what I mean. When I tried to bring it up and talk about why she seemed so distant, she didn't really know what to say. In the end, we slowly drifted because we just had different things we wanted from each other.


#30 No Tears Left To Cry

For me, it's when I no longer cry. For more context, big fights always cause me to end up in tears. I hate it but I can't help it. I get emotional because I care so much. I just want the fight to end, no matter who started it so we can be happy with each other again. In my previous relationships, I knew I was checking out because I didn't cry anymore. I didn't care if we were in a fight. I didn't care if either stayed mad. My fiance and I rarely fight, but when we do, I cry. He hates it, and he hates seeing me cry, but he knows that's actually a good thing.


#31 Dreaming Of The End

When you start having dreams that they're leaving you. I had these for a few weeks before my ex left. It was my mind telling me what I already knew. I know dreams aren't definitive, but they can give you clues as to how you're really feeling. Having the same recurring dream of my ex leaving helped me to better deal with the break-up once it happened.


#32 It Matters

If he gives you car mats for Christmas and you couldn't give a single care in the world about your car, then maybe he doesn't know you that well. It could be that he's just a terrible gifter, but there are a lot of cases where the gift a person gives to the partner can indicate just how much he cares about knowing who you are and what you like. And yes, that matters.


#33 Ruminating Resentment

Resentment. You know, that one thing they did like six months ago that they apologized for, but you never really got over. You’re crazy if you bring it up again, but you don’t, and instead of talking about your feelings, you just let it boil inside of you. Gradually, everything they do starts to annoy you, so, you start taking overtime at work, or pick up time-consuming hobbies, just so you’re not bothered by them.

The love is over, the writing is on the wall, but you don’t acknowledge it. So then, that new girl you just met at your job, you start bonding with her over innocent stuff, like art. You start to realize you enjoying talking to her about a common interest more than you like talking to your own wife. Your wife never wants to talk about anything fun anymore. She just wants to talk about serious stuff, and nag you about the small stuff, like why you do your laundry a certain way.

Now she’s getting upset cause you’re paying too much attention to this other girl, and even though nothing is going on, you start feeling guilty about giving another woman so much attention. Then, when you finally just ask her to watch a movie with you, you find out that she’s in a committed relationship. So now you’re going through a divorce and that girl you thought was your second chance doesn’t wanna talk to you about art anymore, because you made things weird. All because you resented that one thing your wife did that bothered you six months ago.


#34 Endless Arguments

It's all in how you argue. If you get into arguments, work your way through to a solution, and leave it with both of you more or less satisfied with the outcome, then you've got a decent shot. If your arguments don't really end, or you just stop talking about them, or if one of you has to win every time, there are serious problems ahead.


#35 Two Takers

When you both become takers. Relationships are about giving your all to each other, so when one or both of you becomes a taker rather than a giver, the relationship won’t last long.


#36 Treating Yourself

You start giving yourself the nice bit of the dinner, or sitting in the most comfortable part of the sofa instead of saving it for them like you used to. Doing this doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to break up, it just means that the spark has dimmed a bit. You may not care to shower your partner with pleasantries as much as you used to before.


#37 Walking On Eggshells

Having to walk on eggshells around them out of fear that you will set them off.


#38 Heavy With Guilt

Guilt! I had a lot of relationships before I met “the one.” Whenever my relationship was declining, I would feel guilty about numerous things: meeting solo with friends, being late, etc. Now, I have been with my significant other for six years. She never makes me feel guilty. We reflect a lot about day-to-day stuff. We can talk about anything. We almost never argue.

Long story short, if both parties have the room to feel happy without having to feel guilty, you are going to have a good time. Maybe one important lesson I learned in my l my life is: you don’t need a person to make you happy. Learn to be happy alone and focus on giving happiness in a relationship not receiving it. If both parties do, then you have yourself a good one.


#39 Empty Of Empathy

They show no actual empathy and can’t argue like an adult. They exhibit literal temper tantrum behavior—they won’t listen, nor will they even try to explain their side or try to understand yours. That was a red flag at the time, and I stayed for three years to realize I was dating a narcissist. You really have to be observant of your partner's personality and behaviors.


#40 Hesitant About The House

She didn't want to put her name on the house we were about to buy. She still gave me money to help me get it, but she wouldn't put her name on the mortgage. I forget the reason, but it went in one ear and out the other. It should have been a red flag, but I was naive. We were divorced one year later. She didn't want that house with me because she was already thinking about leaving me. The worst part was that she had already been seeing another guy. I found out about him the day she left me because he pulled up to the house we bought together to pick her up.


#41 Cramping Up

I'm currently going through a divorce. I woke up thinking about a time some summer ago when we were walking somewhere for enjoyment with our children. I got a really bad leg cramp and needed to stop. It was so bad that I even had to sit down on the pavement to get some relief. My kids looked back and immediately ran towards me to help. My husband? He didn’t stop. Not even once. He just kept walking, while speaking with someone on his phone. Even random strangers stopped by to ask me if I was okay. That's when I knew we were doomed. If you’re significant other can’t look out for your wellbeing or even be bothered by it, then you might as well forget about it.


#42 Happy Home Alone

If you don't live together and you have absolutely no will to go on the next date, that means the spark is diminishing. If you live together and you feel the only moment you actually can relax is when he's not home, that's not a good sign. You might feel that way because you are together so often that you need a small break from him.


#43 Out Of Time

When they suddenly don't have the ability to make time for you. Near the end of my last relationship, I was doing all the work to make date nights happen. Then, when it came to her she would always make excuses, saying stuff like "I'm tired," or "I just want to stay in." Near the end, if I didn't go to her, nothing happened at all.


#44 Facebook Check-Ins

When you start checking their Facebook account to see what they're up to, or you start to get curious about who they're texting on their phone. Just the fact that you might have suspicions about your partner is a sign that there's something off about the trust in your relationship. Remember, without that trust, the relationship can never flourish.


#45 Subconscious Googling

When you find yourself Googling the signs of a failing relationship. People have an awareness of the state of the relationship even if they are not conscious of it. I found myself Googling if I should break up with my ex before I realized I was thoroughly unhappy in my relationship. Your mind will often let you know what it's thinking.



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