Part of the fun of a relationship is wondering what the future may hold for you and your significant other. Of course, there can also be some uncertainty about whether or not you'll make it for the long haul, and you definitely don't want to be caught off guard as your so-called beloved delivers the classic "it's not you, it's me" breakup speech. So when it comes to getting the proverbial boot, it's always nice to have a little bit of a heads up so you can prepare and respond accordingly. If the following warning signs pop up in your relationship, well, you may want to reevaluate your future.
1. Your partner changes his or her Facebook profile photo.
Yes, this seems totally innocent. And, of course, there are those people who continually update their pictures on social media. However, as dating and relationship counselor Donna Arp Weitzman, author of "Sex and the Siren: Tales of a Later Dater," says, a photo really can be worth a thousand words. (Or, really, just two: "breakup forthcoming.") "If during the early days of your relationship he puts a picture of both of you on his Facebook profile page and later takes it down and puts up one of himself, especially a sexy or attractive picture, he may be preparing to find other relationships," she explains.
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2. Your partner prefers an iPhone to your company.
If he "phubbs" you (i.e., ignores you while looking at his or her smartphone) more than before, he is likely either bored with you or is trolling for another relationship, Weitzman says. "If he seems uninterested in your day and is constantly looking at his cellphone during dates, the relationship is likely in trouble," she adds. "If you confront him about it and he gets defensive or simply ignores you, you need to prepare for the inevitable."
3. Your partner doesnâ€™t want to fix problems when you fight.
Apathy kills relationships. So if your significant other seems pretty indifferent toward conflict resolution when you're trying to work things out, this is a clear sign that she has basically given up. "A partner who wishes to end rather than a save a relationship will display a stubborn (and frustrating) reluctance to talk about the problems within the relationship in any depth beyond blaming her partner," says psychologist and relationship specialist Sene Hicks. "This tends to make all efforts at communication feel pointless."
4. Your partner gets strange about sex.
Changes in your sex life can signal that something isn't quite right. "If you're going to be dumped, the vibe of the relationship changes. Typically, your partner will start treating you more like a friend than a lover," says dating and relationship coach Jonathan Bennett. "Sex becomes an infrequent duty, and your partner withdraws his or her general passion for the relationship." However, more frequent sex and less time spent emotionally connecting can also be a sign that a breakup is coming, according to couples counselor Julienne Derichs. "If all you do when you see each other is have sex â€” no hanging out or going to a movie and dinner, just sex," she says, "then your partner may have downgraded you to merely a booty call."
5. Your partner always keeps you guessing.
If you have a general feeling of not knowing where you stand, chances are a breakup is on the horizon, Derichs says. "Some of the essentials of a healthy relationship are safety, security and stability," she explains. "If your significant other keeps you guessing all the time and rarely makes firm plans to go out, this can be a sure sign that you are being slowly 'squeezed out' of his or her life." This is what Derichs refers to as "the slow dump." Over time, you'll get more and more frustrated (and insecure) about where you really stand.
6. Your partner starts acting more single.
According to Bennett, a clear sign you're going to be dumped is that your partner spends time doing traditionally "single" activities, such as hanging out in clubs with her single girlfriends or going out drinking with his buddies more often. "Many people fear being alone," he says. "So when someone is thinking of breaking up with another person, they begin to slowly wade back into the single life to 'test the waters' again." By reconnecting with single friends and hanging out in places associated with singleness, they're setting themselves up for the next chapter of their lives.
7. Your partner starts working out all of a sudden.
A sudden interest in getting fit is a classic warning sign that a breakup is coming. "Working out can be great for one's health, both mentally and physically," says licensed counselor Christopher Stroven. "However, when the motivation is to attract a new and different partner, working out takes on more meaning than just trying to get healthy." Even just taking on a new hobby other than fitness â€” without you â€” could be a red flag, he adds. "The clue to the partner's motivation is revealed in their transparency regarding their new hobby: Does your partner engage you in discussions and conversation about this new hobby? Does he or she invite you to participate in the new hobby? Does he or she try to hide or withhold certain aspects of the new hobby? New hobbies can be life-giving to relationships â€” unless the motive is to leave the relationship," Stroven says.
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8. Your partner is not as available as he or she once was.
If you never seem to be able to get ahold of your partner or he or she takes longer than usual to text or call back, don't try to excuse away this change in behavior. "This might seem trivial, but it's often overlooked as a red flag," says relationship coach and breakup expert Eddie Corbano, founder of LovesAGame.com. "You can't contact your partner via phone call or text repeatedly? This might be the sign of a partner seeking independence from the relationship."
9. Your partner avoids talking about the future.
Another major warning sign, Corbano says, "is when there were plans and goals for the future of the relationship before, but suddenly there is an avoidance to talk about these subjects that may seem strange or evasive." Your partner may also seem to not want to make any firm commitments, such as buying concert tickets a couple of months in advance or booking that much-talked-about vacation. These are signals that he or she doesn't plan to be in the relationship much longer.
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10. Your partner expresses a lack of interest in commitment.
Relationship coach Audrey Hope says that often people who are ready to jump ship in a relationship will start dropping hints that they don't really believe in commitment in the philosophical sense. What they really mean, of course, is that they don't want a commitment with you. Harsh. "They bring up the subject to tell you they are 'done,' but they don't have the guts to face you," she explains. "They talk in riddles and metaphors. They bring up other couples you know or characters in a movie to begin discussing how these people changed their minds about marriage, commitment and so on."
What Do YOU Think?
Do you recognize any of these signs in your relationship? What do you do when you're ready to let someone go? Share in the comments section.