I have a confession to make.
I used to be absolutely terrible when it comes to ending relationships.
I had a girlfriend back in tenth grade, and I wanted to break up with her for ages.
When I finally got up the nerve to do it, she was actually beside herself. She felt like it came right out of the blue. She cried and cried and begged me to reconsider.
I felt like I was going to be physically sick.
After that, I never did it again for ages.
Instead, I would do things to make the other person want to break up with me so that I wouldn’t have to feel that way again.
So if your partner has been acting weird and doing these X things, trust me when I tell you that it’s very possible they’re secretly looking for a way out of the relationship.
I hate to say it, but I’ve done just about all of them.
1) They spontaneously explode with anger
Anger is a major sign that a person is uncomfortable or stressed out.
People respond with anger when they feel stuck or trapped in places they don’t want to be, and that can include jobs, social situations, and, of course, relationships.
Because when a person is frustrated and has no way out of the situation and no other outlet to express this frustration, they often release it as anger.
This doesn’t mean that your partner will always be angry at you.
It could be, but it’s equally possible that they’ll lash out at other people and things. They may very well direct their anger in other directions when they know they don’t have any good reason to be angry with you.
2) They spend all their time with their friends
This is a big clue that your partner is secretly looking for a way out of the relationship for two reasons.
First, if they’re spending way more time with their friends than usual, it also must mean they’re spending less time with you.
They’re avoiding you because they have something on their mind, and they’re trying to figure out how to deal with it.
The other reason this is a clue is easy to figure out.
When people are in a bind, who do they go to?
Right, their friends.
They go to find sympathy and advice from people who care about them. Well, normally, that would be just fine, but when they’re going to their friends and talking about getting out, but they’re not talking to you about it, that can really hurt.
3) They look at other people
Hey, I know that just because you’re in a relationship, you’re not dead!
We’re social animals, and we always look around at what other people are doing. We also can’t really help but steal a second glance at someone we think is attractive.
But what if your partner is looking at other people way more than they normally do?
This is a big sign that they want to get out of the relationship.
In fact, they’re doing a mix of shopping and daydreaming, playing What If, and imagining how being with these other people would feel.
And if they’re doing it right in front of you, either they really don’t care anymore or they’re terrible at keeping their own secret.
Well, the secret’s out now!
4) They flirt, but not with you
Even more extreme than just looking at other people is flirting with them.
And, of course, you’re only going to know if this is happening if they’re doing it in front of you. What does that mean?
Essentially, it means they’re doing it on purpose.
Trust me, because I’ve done it.
I was in a relationship in college that was really going badly. But she was also quite unstable and constantly said she didn’t know what she’d do without me.
I didn’t know what to do. I knew I stay, but I also couldn’t bring myself to drop the bomb on her.
So, I just acted like a jerk.
I didn’t even have to fake it. If I was attracted to someone, I’d start flirting and just go with it, even if she was right there.
It didn’t take long before she was sick of it and decided we were through.
I know now how disrespectful that was, but at the time, I didn’t know how else to get out because I wasn’t very emotionally mature.
5) They stop working on your relationship
If someone wants out, it really means that they’ve given up on the relationship.
If you’ve had your struggles like everyone has and have been working on things, they’ll stop making an effort.
They’re done, and this will be the sign that shows it to you.
If you’ve been in couples’ therapy, they’ll stop going.
If you’ve been trying to add romance with a weekly date night, they’ll stop joining in.
Believe me, this strategy works if they’re secretly trying to get out because you’ll feel like they’ve given up (which they have), and this will generally make you want to give up, too.
If you made a plan together to keep trying, but your partner has changed the plan unilaterally, that’s going to let you know that their heart really isn’t in it anymore.
6) They fly under the radar
You text, and they don’t answer. They don’t even read it.
OK, so you call them, but their phone’s off.
They were always in communication before, so why the sudden blackout?
You know the answer by now, don’t you?
If it were just communication alone, it would still be a worry because big changes in how contactable they are can really be significant.
Now, if they have a new job or some sort of crisis going on, this might make sense. But if this keeps happening again and again, it can definitely be a sign.
And believe me, it’ll come hand in hand with some lame excuses like, “I ran out of charge,” or “It was accidentally on silent.”
Sure, yeah – every time?
7) They stop having sex with you
Look, couple’s sex lives are all different.
You might be tempted to look at averages and weigh your sex life against them.
The truth is that the how and when of your sex life is unique to your relationship. You may be hooking up twice a day or twice a year – there’s no one-size-fits-all formula.
But what doesn’t fit is when your partner suddenly stops having sex with you as much as usual or completely stops altogether.
Of course, there can be lots of reasons why this can happen, and a lot of them can be embarrassing and hard to talk about. It doesn’t always mean they’re trying to get out of the relationship.
This is just one symptom, but when it comes with several of the other things I’ve talked about, they might be secretly looking for a way out.
8) They act secretive and shady
Destiny’s Child hit on some big truth when they put out Say My Name way back in 1999.
“Say my name, say my name
You actin’ kinda shady
Ain’t callin’ me baby
Why the sudden change?”
This song is still relevant because it’s so on point, never mind Beyoncé’s incredible vocals.
While this song is really aimed at cheaters, it can also apply to any secretive, shady behavior from a partner who’s trying to get out of a relationship.
I’m talking about going out every night, staying out really late, being hard to locate, or simply not being as open as normal.
The big secret might not be someone new, but if it’s that they want out, that can still really hurt.
9) They pick fights
Is your partner suddenly a total grumpy-pants?
Or worse, are they picking fights about little things that never seemed to bother them in the past?
Could they be digging up old conflicts from the past that you thought were dead and buried?
What’s causing this sudden change in their behavior?
Like a lot of these signs, this one in isolation isn’t enough to worry about. They could just be dealing with stress or even processing grief, and their frustration comes out this way.
At the same time, though, it could be because they want the relationship to be over and done with.
And picking fights is usually a good way to drive things towards a breakup.
If your partner does these nine things, it could be that they’re secretly looking for a way out of the relationship.
I know this is not what you want to hear, but if it’s happening and they’re not willing to discuss it, it might be time to face the issue head-on and talk about it.
At least then, you’ll know for sure instead of being stuck in emotional limbo.