9 signs a woman secretly wants out of a relationship, according to psychology

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It’s often not easy to tell when someone wants to end a relationship.

As a woman, I can vouch for the fact that we’re often more subtle, more nuanced in our approach. We might not come right out and say we’re unhappy – but there are signs.

Psychology can help us understand these signs, these hidden signals that show a woman is ready to move on.

In this article, we’ll explore 9 clear signs that a woman secretly wants out of a relationship. And trust me, once you know what to look for, it’s not as secretive as you might think.

1) Decreased communication

Communication, as they say, is the backbone of any relationship.

When two people are in sync, they’re constantly sharing, talking, and opening up to each other. But when a woman starts to withdraw from these conversations, it might be a sign she’s reconsidering the relationship.

Psychology tells us that communication breakdown is often a precursor to a relationship ending.

Whether it’s less frequent texting, reducing face-to-face conversations, or just a general lack of interest in discussing daily life – these can all be warning signs.

At the same time, it’s important to note that a woman’s silence can also mean that there are unresolved issues – she might not necessarily want out of the relationship, but she certainly isn’t happy either. 

2) Lack of interest in future plans together

Remember when I said we’re more nuanced in our approach? Here’s an example of what I mean.

When I wanted to end things with an ex, I remember feeling anxious whenever we’d discuss future plans. I also felt bad, because I clearly didn’t share the same excitement as him.

So, I stopped talking about it altogether. 

This is a common sign that a woman might want out of a relationship.

When you’re in love, you often find yourself dreaming of the future and envisaging what it’ll look like with your partner. 

But if your heart is no longer in it, it’s much harder to picture a life together, especially if you’re not enjoying the here and now. 

3) Avoidance of physical intimacy

Affection is a key indicator of emotional intimacy in a relationship. 

It’s often through gestures of affection that we show our partners we care about them and are invested in the relationship.

A kiss to say good morning, a warm hug when you get in from work, cuddling on the sofa after dinner, all these things remind you that you’re loved. 

However, if a woman is thinking about exiting the relationship, these gestures may start to diminish. She might stop initiating physical contact or become uncomfortable when you’re affectionate.

Of course, everyone has their off days. But if this change in behavior becomes a pattern, it could be a sign she’s creating emotional distance as a precursor to ending the relationship.

4) Frequent criticism and contempt

We all have things we dislike about our partners. Still, if a woman starts overly criticizing and finding any excuse to nitpick, it could be because she’s secretly not feeling the relationship anymore. 

Think about it – when you dislike someone, everything they do annoys you. Even the way they breathe can grate on you. 

The same can happen when you fall out of love. All those little things you tolerated, or even found cute and quirky, suddenly drive you crazy. 

The other thing to consider is that if she’s constantly criticizing, it could be to push her partner away. 

5) Fewer arguments 

It might seem counter-intuitive, but a lack of arguments in a relationship isn’t always a good sign.

Couples fight. It’s part of being in a relationship. It shows you’re both invested enough to care about the outcome and want to resolve issues. 

But when a woman stops engaging in these arguments, it could mean she’s no longer invested in the future of the relationship.

I’m not advocating for constant conflict, but when those passionate disagreements cease entirely, it might mean she’s emotionally checked out. Because you can only fight for something you believe is worth saving.

So if she’s not bothering to argue anymore, it could be because she doesn’t see a resolution – or a future.

6) Changes in behavior and routine

The more time a couple spends together, the more their routines become in sync. You know what time you’ll be having dinner together, or when’s a good time to go for an afternoon walk. 

But if a woman suddenly changes her behavior and routine, it could be that she’s moving on (before ending things). 

Perhaps she’s started spending more time with friends. Or she simply wants to avoid being around her partner, so she sleeps earlier, eats dinner out, and goes to the gym alone. 

The most telling sign is if she doesn’t explain these changes. 

Because a woman who is happy and in love will share most things with her partner – if that isn’t happening, it’s not a good sign. 

7) Less effort in resolving conflicts

Earlier, I mentioned that when a woman is secretly checking out of the relationship, she won’t bother too much with arguments. 

Well, when conflict does arise, she also won’t be quick to resolve it. 

Instead of wanting to talk and understand what the issue is, she’ll drag arguments on for much longer than necessary.

She may even give the cold shoulder or play petty blame games. Why?

Because this is her ticket out. All it takes is for one explosive argument to get out of hand, one unforgivable insult to be hurled, and she’ll have an excuse to leave. 

8) Increased independence 

Now, this next point isn’t to suggest that a woman can’t be in love and independent. 

What I mean is that if a woman suddenly starts doing everything alone, without wanting or needing the company of her partner, it could be a bad sign.

Psychologists suggest that low dependence can be a precursor to the end of a relationship – when one or both people feel they don’t need each other for anything. 

Because let’s be realistic, we’re all capable adults who can look after ourselves. 

But part of being in a happy relationship is giving up some of that independence, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. This lets your partner in and allows them to feel like an integral part of your life. 

So when a woman stops requiring that love, care, and company, it usually signals she’s ready to move on. 

9) Signs of secretiveness or deceit

And finally, if a woman starts acting strange or telling lies, it could mean she wants out of the relationship. 

As explained in PsychologyToday, when people feel less invested in a relationship, they’re more likely to lie to each other.

So if a woman has lost interest or no longer sees a future, she might turn to deceit rather than be upfront. That is until she gathers the courage to be honest and leave. 

The problem with doing this is that more often than not, she causes more harm and hurt than necessary. 

After all, we know how hard it is to move on from lies and secrecy. 

So, to conclude, it may not always be easy to tell when someone wants out of a relationship, especially if they won’t admit it themselves. 

But hopefully, these signs have given you some insight into the behaviors and subtle changes that will present if a woman’s heart is no longer in the relationship. 

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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