My last breakup was nothing short of gut-wrenching. The pain of being dumped feels like no other.
It was a sickening mix of sadness, loss, grasping for understanding, and the hope I could fix things to get her back.
And for me, it totally came out of nowhere. So, in the aftermath, I drove myself crazy with incessant thoughts about why.
“What did I do wrong?” “Why would someone suddenly break up with you?”
If you can relate, then rest assured that I’ve done the detective work for you.
This article will cover everything you need to know about the possible reasons why your girlfriend decided to end the relationship (and what to do next).
10 reasons why your girlfriend unexpectedly broke up with you
1) Her feelings changed
I’m sorry to kick us off with what probably feels like a bit of a vague answer. But I’m guessing you also want the truth, right?
Love is complicated. And the frustrating reality is that sometimes we don’t fully understand why we fall for someone and not for someone else.
We don’t always know why our feelings fade or change, they just do.
Slowly over time, or even quite suddenly, she may have just started to feel differently about you and your relationship together.
It just got to a stage where she could no longer ignore the doubts she was having.
Often, it’s not clear cut. We can end up feeling as though things just “aren’t right” without being able to put our finger on the exact reason why.
This could be why she offered very little explanation for her decision, or gave confusing answers. She may not know herself.
This is infuriating to be on the receiving end of. But I also suspect that you can think of a time when you have felt this way toward someone.
It will no doubt feel like a sledgehammer to the chest to hear, but maybe she is no longer sure whether she likes you enough to be in a romantic relationship with you.
Feelings change. We know that. The problem is that yours for her have not, whilst hers for you have.
2) She wasn’t getting her emotional needs met
When we get into a relationship, there are many things that end up tying us together. One of those elements is the emotional connection we create that helps us bond.
Lots of factors play into creating an emotional connection in a relationship so that we feel like we’re getting our emotional needs met.
We’re talking about things like:
- Affection (including physical touch, sex, kind words, and gestures)
- Feeling understood and accepted
- Getting validation
- Having enough independence
- Feeling like a priority
- Having enough space
When certain emotional needs are put under strain, it can topple the entire relationship. It creates a distance between a couple that just keeps growing.
If she felt there was a lack of intimacy, connection, support, security, independence, or attention in your relationship, she might decide to break it off.
Sometimes we can’t even figure out exactly where the problem lies. We just feel a disconnect, even when once upon a time we once felt so close.
Below the surface what is often going on is that emotional needs aren’t being met.
3) She can’t see a way past your problems
If there were a lot of conflicts in your relationship, it could have all gotten too much.
Perhaps she got tired of arguments or the same issues that kept cropping up.
This can even be the case if you didn’t fight about the problems you had. They still might have existed for her, and she was privately struggling to find ways around them.
Maybe she didn’t want to hurt you by telling you how she really felt. Maybe she wanted to protect you from knowing how bad things had become for her. Or perhaps she simply didn’t want to deal with conflict at all.
Whatever the case, if she couldn’t see a way through the issues, she may have decided to leave.
If we still have feelings for someone, but we don’t think it’s going to work out, then with a heavy heart maybe she just couldn’t continue the way things were any longer.
Think about whether there had been any clues about her discontentment. Maybe it was something she said or the way she was behaving.
After my break up I really didn’t think we had that many problems, I thought she was pretty happy. But hindsight is a remarkable thing.
Later I came to realize that there were probably signs about how she was feeling, but maybe I didn’t want to see them at the time.
4) The relationship reality didn’t live up to her expectations
This reason is less about a specific problem in your relationship, and actually more of a reflection of a common problem in many relationships.
Hollywood has done us a great disservice in many ways. The same goes for those countless Fairytales of Prince Charming and the perfect Princess. Even the modern-day dating app culture of disposable romance certainly isn’t helping.
We demand a lot from our romantic relationships. Sometimes we demand too much. I’m going to touch more on this later in the article because it’s actually one of the keys to creating happy and contented relationships that do last.
But if she has gone into the relationship wanting a fairytale, then real life is always going to be woefully inadequate.
Without even realizing it, the silent expectations creep in. We want the Rom-Com relationship. We often don’t want the less-than-glamorous reality.
When faced with reality, it can be too much for some people to take. Especially if they’re not emotionally ready for grown-up relationships.
Sadly, there is very little you can do about someone else’s unrealistic expectations.
5) The attraction has faded
Another problem in longer-term relationships is when the attraction starts to fade.
In a way, this is sort of related to the above point. Because in the beginning, everything tends to be naturally exciting.
We get flooded with feel-good hormones that make us feel the lust, that can eventually turn into love.
As this Harvard University article points out, this strong attraction is chemically driven:
“High levels of dopamine and a related hormone, norepinephrine, are released during attraction. These chemicals make us giddy, energetic, and euphoric, even leading to decreased appetite and insomnia – which means you actually can be so “in love” that you can’t eat and can’t sleep.”
The sticking point? It doesn’t last.
Commonly called “the honeymoon period” most couples find that this strong sexual attraction starts to subside eventually.
How long it lasts depends on a few factors. But it’s usually somewhere between six months to two years.
The sad truth is that plenty of couples call it quits when this feeling starts to fade. She may no longer feel the same attraction, and so she has decided it’s best to break up.
If this is what happened, and you decide that you want your ex back, in this situation, there’s only one thing to do:
And that’s to re-spark her romantic interest in you.
I learned about this from Brad Browning, who has helped thousands of people get their exes back.
If that’s the root you decide to go down, in this free video, he’ll show you exactly what you can do to make your ex want you again.
What I like about his advice is that he gives you useful tips that you can apply immediately.
6) You weren’t compatible
I know to a lot of people it’s an annoying platitude to hear after a breakup:
“It clearly wasn’t meant to be”.
Personally, I used to find it irritating as hell. But then I actually realized it can be a great way of simplifying a more complicated truth:
Sometimes relationships don’t work out because you’re just not fundamentally compatible enough (aka, you aren’t meant to be together).
It can be that for her your values, personalities, desires, and goals in life didn’t feel like they matched up.
Initial attraction isn’t enough to sustain a relationship when the deeper elements aren’t there.
We don’t always realize that we’re not a good fit in the beginning, because we’re too busy getting blinded by all that chemistry and sexual attraction.
But when we get to know each other more, these differences start to show themselves.
You might not have felt this, but maybe she did.
I once had a girl say to me “I think the problem is that I get on with you more than you get on with me”.
And she was right. The connection I felt with her wasn’t as strong as the one she felt from her side.
But ultimately, it meant we weren’t compatible.
7) There’s someone else
I really don’t want to put more painful thoughts into your head, but there is a chance that there could be someone else in the picture.
After all, cheating does happen. I’ve been on the receiving end of it, and it’s not nice. Plus in my case, she denied it constantly until someone else had to tell me the truth.
She may not have cheated on you, but she might have met someone else. Feelings could have grown elsewhere that put into question how she feels about you.
Even though I’ve added this to the list of reasons, my best advice to you is:
Don’t dwell on the thought.
Think of it this way…
There’s a good chance you’ll never find out if another guy was part of her decision to end things or not.
And if she has cheated, good riddance.
It might put even more of a sting into the breakup, but it doesn’t make any real practical difference.
If anything, it only cements the knowledge that it’s all for the best.
8) There were things that she couldn’t tell you
1) A) One of the most important parts of any relationship
2) B) Something that most of us struggle to do well
And that can create problems.
Sometimes we try to sweep problems under the rug, sometimes we struggle to find a middle ground between different communication styles, and sometimes we don’t know how to go about expressing ourselves in a healthy way.
If you were having problems communicating with her, it’s possible that she was struggling to communicate back.
Maybe she was feeling overwhelmed by her emotions or confused.
Whether it was because she felt like you didn’t listen or whether she couldn’t find the right words…whatever the reason, she might have been unable to express herself properly.
Encouraging good communication and good listening in a relationship isn’t easy, and plenty of couples fall foul of problems in this area.
9) She didn’t feel like she was getting enough out of the relationship
It happens all the time. As soon as we get comfortable, we stop putting as much effort in.
Date nights turn to sitting on the sofa scrolling through our phones. Wooing and chasing her turns into asking her to wash your dirty gym clothes.
Ok, I’m exaggerating. And I’m not saying all guys get lazy in a relationship. But hey, sometimes we do.
And when this happens, she can start to feel neglected.
The internet is full of women asking how they can get their husbands and boyfriends to pay them more attention and appreciate them more.
Women are often the instigators of divorce. In fact, stats estimate as many as 70% of marriages are filed by wives.
Experts suggest it could be because they still do the majority of both the emotional labor in a relationship and the household chores.
A man who properly pulls his weight is not a factor to be ignored in whether a relationship lasts.
So much so that one study found that divorce was twice as likely when a husband neglects the housework.
It can lead to frustration and resentment when a woman feels she is putting more work into the relationship than her partner does.
To put it bluntly, she starts to wonder “what’s in this for me?”.
10) The relationship ran its course
It’s important to remember that no relationship is perfect. Even when you’ve both tried your hardest, sometimes things don’t go according to plan.
The reality is that the overwhelmingly vast majority of relationships have an expiration date.
I’m sorry if that sounds incredibly unromantic. Whilst some relationships do manage to go the distance, many do not.
Statistics show that around 50% of all marriages in the US end in divorce or separation. And that’s only marriage. Many more regular romantic relationships fall apart eventually.
Why exactly is such a complicated mix of reasons that we’re never going to come up with concrete answers.
Maybe we have unrealistic expectations of love, maybe we are cultivating an increasing throwaway culture in the world of romance, and perhaps monogamy is a social construct that is too much to ask of human beings.
Some people do make it work. But work is probably the right word. You both have to really want it and put in a continuous amount of effort over the years.
But in many cases, a relationship can just run its course. People change, and life circumstances change.
Endings create a lot of sadness, but it’s also just a part of love and loss. The ending of a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean it has “failed”.
Each connection we have brings things to our lives that are valuable. But sometimes there comes a natural ending when we just have to let go.
The truth about getting closure
Maybe when your girlfriend left you, she didn’t offer much of an explanation. Or maybe she did offer a few vague veiled words, but it didn’t make any real sense to you.
Sometimes during a breakup, we do get answers about why, but we don’t really want to hear it, or we can’t accept it. Other times the breakup talk leaves us feeling more confused than ever.
But the thing is that the truth is so complicated. It also has more than one side to it. Your truth and her truth can end up being very different interpretations.
But the biggest kicker is this:
Knowing “why” actually doesn’t make things any easier.
Yep, I want to put it to you that the so frequently banded about the idea of getting “closure” after a breakup isn’t all it is cracked up to be.
Honestly, is there really an answer you could get that would really make you feel better?
Explanations and understanding do not take away the pain. Plus during the shock of grief and sadness you are experiencing, it is hard for your brain to truly absorb that information.
In short, searching for reasons “why” can be a huge red herring.
You might think that it makes all the difference in your grief-stricken state, but in reality, even if there was a way to 100% understand, it doesn’t change anything.
Obsessing about why it has happened will only continue to make your head spin.
Whatsmore, it is likely to keep you stuck. When you could be healing.
My story: trying to accept I may never know why
I obviously spoke in the intro of the article about my own breakup. But I haven’t said much more about it.
So I’d like to share a little bit of my own story in the hope my experiences can offer you some insights into your own situation.
When my ex-girlfriend broke things off, it felt sudden to me. We did talk about it, but I didn’t really hear anything that helped me get my head around it all.
She didn’t feel the same anymore and she didn’t know why. When she thought about a future together something just didn’t seem right.
It was nothing really concrete that I could understand.
I thought, “Surely, feelings can’t change overnight, there must be more to it”.
But despite all the talks we had, back and forth over the next few weeks, it didn’t help my healing. And I didn’t get any closer to closure or making peace with what had happened.
For me, it came out of nowhere, but for her, it hadn’t. Which makes sense, nothing really comes out of nowhere. This decision had been building in her for some time.
I came to realize that the more and more I searched for answers from her the more misery I was actually dumping onto myself.
I got fixated on looking for something I couldn’t find. And all the talking in the world didn’t change the brutal and crushing fact that, for whatever reasons, she just didn’t want me anymore.
Things started to get much better as soon as I accepted that the key to feeling better lay inside me, rather than any explanations she could offer.
What to do if a girl breaks up with you?
1) Give it some time
You know I’m about to throw at you the whole “time is a healer” cliche right now don’t you?
But it really is true.
Time and space is usually the best thing for both of you after a breakup. And that goes for if you are going to get back together, or whether it’s over for good.
It gives you time to clear your head and get some perspective.
2) Think about the problems you had in your relationship
As well as torturing myself with questions about why, after my breakup, I also developed an annoying habit of rose tinting our entire relationship.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the times we laughed, smiled, cuddled, and felt connected. But this wasn’t a totally honest picture.
I was thinking about all the good and ignoring the bad.
But when you break up, it’s the precise time when you need to remind yourself that it wasn’t so perfect.
Focusing on the bad times can really get you through those initial stages. It’s not about becoming bitter. It’s just about knowing that no relationship is all good.
Only thinking about the good times and ignoring all the bad parts is just going to slow down the healing process.
3) Respect boundaries
I’m talking about respecting both your own boundaries and hers.
For example, you might want answers but she doesn’t want to talk. If she doesn’t want to speak or meet up, you have to accept that.
Similarly, you might have your own boundaries right now that you think will help you to deal with things.
My ex wanted to stay friends right away, but it hurt me too much to see her. So I said that won’t work for me, not right now. I also decided to remove her from all my social media accounts for the same reason.
It wasn’t about being petty. It was about what was best for me at the time. So my advice to you is to honor your own boundaries.
4) Help yourself to heal
A breakup is essentially a grieving process.
We not only have to let go of that particular person, we’re also asked to let go of an image of a future we thought we might have.
And that can be scary as well as sad.
Depending on things like the depth of your feelings for her and the time you had been together, how long it takes you to move through that grieving process is going to vary.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that you can do things to help yourself. So let’s dive into some of the most effective things to do right now.
The best ways to deal with a breakup
- Try to accept where you are right now
For me, starting to heal and get over my ex all started with one simple act.
Simple doesn’t mean easy though.
When shit happens, I’ve come to understand the first step is always acceptance. Without accepting where you are right now, there’s no way to move forward.
Acceptance means acknowledging that you’re feeling sad, angry, confused, etc.
There is no point in pretending “I am fine” when you aren’t fine, you’re hurting.
If you can acknowledge that, then you can start to take steps towards moving forward.
It also means letting it sink in that you’ve split up. It’s already happened. All the wishing in the world that things were different isn’t going to change it.
- Find healthy ways to process pain
Keeping stuff locked inside is going to do you no favors. I know men can have a bad reputation for not always sharing how they feel. But I also hope this is changing.
We all need support. And breakups mess you up. So lean on friends. Talk to family members (you’re never too old to get a hug from your mama, that’s for sure).
If you’re struggling or you want an objective third person’s take on things, you could decide to talk to a therapist or a relationship coach (FYI I’d really recommend Relationship Hero for relationship coaching).
Talking is always a good way of processing pain.
I personally found exercise was a real lifesaver for me. It helped me to get all of my frustrations and built-up energy out, just by breaking a sweat.
Writing too is a great way to process thoughts in your head. Don’t confuse journaling with having a diary, it’s totally different.
Journaling has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and stress, and as a tool for self-reflection. Basically, all the stuff you need after a breakup.
- Take care of yourself
At the risk of sounding like your mom, don’t forget to take care of yourself.
That means, get enough sleep, eat well, dress well, and be good to yourself right now.
They may sound like trivial things, but believe me they have a huge impact on your overall mental health. And so when you’re feeling low, they become all the more important.
- Look for positive distractions
There’s no way to totally sidestep the pain from a breakup, and you shouldn’t either. Because it’s part of processing the loss.
But that doesn’t mean you have to wallow in your pain, or pile on more. So it’s usually a good idea to look for some distractions that can help you feel normal again.
Go out with friends, do hobbies, consider taking a trip (even if it’s just spending a night somewhere else), and try some new things.
After breakups in the past, I started boxing lessons, I’ve taken horse riding lessons, and started Italian classes.
In fact, the amount of times I’ve been dumped, I should be a genius by now!
Even if you don’t feel like it at first, making sure you fill your time with other things can provide you with the support you need. You’ve got to focus on yourself right now. And that means finding things that start to make you feel better.
I cringe a bit saying this, as I feel like I’m trying to be very Oprah here. But you need to know:
The end of a relationship isn’t a failure, it’s simply a new chapter.
Sometimes we end up going in separate directions in life. But that doesn’t take away from the time you’ve shared.
When you are ready, you can look back on the good and take away positivity from the times you shared.
Although my top tip is, don’t try to do this too soon. It will only hurt and tempt you to rose tint the relationship.
When something doesn’t work out for whatever reason, you can ultimately learn important lessons, and still, be grateful for the times you had.
For example, some lessons I got from the end of my last relationship were:
- I definitely didn’t communicate my needs and wants as much as I should. Instead, I kept issues to myself to try and avoid drama. Problem is, these things have a habit of resurfacing eventually. Lesson learned: Be more open and communicate about what I think and feel, even when it’s uncomfortable.
- Continue to put in effort. I certainly wasn’t asking her to wash my dirty gym kit, but if I’m honest I did let things slide a bit. Romance wasn’t really a priority for me. But I realized it is actually really important in a relationship. Lesson learned: Keep making time to connect and put effort into doing fun things together.
When the dust has well and truly settled, I honestly think going back over your past relationships and asking yourself how you might do things differently in the future can be totally invaluable.
How to create the best relationship of your life
I’m going to try to write this next section without getting too cheesy.
But you’ll have to forgive me if I pull out a few cliches. Because cliches are cliches for a good reason — they are fundamental truths.
And the Mother of all fundamental truths is that the loving relationship you have with yourself is the most important in the world.
Now hear me out.
Because I don’t mean in some cringeworthy “You got to love yourself man” kind of way. (Although that is also true). But in a really practical way too.
If you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself you will always struggle to have one with someone else.
Even when we think we have a good self-relationship, most of us don’t.
Think about it…
Have you ever:
- Projected your expectations onto a partner?
- Looked to your partner to make you happy?
I’m willing to guess the answer is yes because we all have.
There are countless subtle ways that we create a weird codependency in relationships. We expect so much of our needs to be met outside of ourselves.
Then we get kicked in the ass when it inevitably doesn’t work.
Trust me, the better the relationship you have with yourself, the easier you will find it to naturally attract strong and awesome relationships with other people.
I kept learning this lesson the hard way until I watched a short video from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê.
In it, he talks you through the 3 Keys for Living a Joyful and Fulfilling Relationship. These were insights I had: A) Never heard before B) Genuinely blew me away and shifted my perspective.
Rather than focus on fixing my relationships, I came to realize I just needed to create simple yet profound shifts inside myself…and the rest would follow.
I went on to watch his free Masterclass. In it, Rudá explains how many of us chase love in a toxic way that ends up stabbing us in the back.
I felt like he was talking directly to me.
I know it’s oh so tempting to carry on obsessing about why a relationship might not have worked out.
But please believe me when I say that the very best thing to do is to stop putting a spotlight on her and turn that light back on yourself.
I cannot recommend Rudás tips enough.
They were a guiding light out of the darkness for me when I was going through my own breakup.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.