Is Your Boyfriend A Breakup-Phobe? 11 Signs He’s Keeping You In Relationship Limbo

For awhile, your relationship seemed bullet-proof. You were in sync and totally happy together, but that’s changed recently. You want to work things out, but your boyfriend seems unconvinced that things can get better — so why does he stay? Is he sticking around just because he doesn’t want to be single? Here’s how to tell if he’s a breakup-phobe:

  1. He says he wouldn’t want to hurt you. It’s awesome to feel cared for and loved in a relationship, but if he’s telling you things like, “I really don’t want to hurt you” or, “You’re such a great person, you deserve so much more,” it starts to feel super creepy. You might get the feeling that he pities you more than loves you. This might cause him to stick around in an unhappy relationship even if he doesn’t really want you anymore, because he doesn’t want to do you any harm or he’s a big people-pleaser.
  2. He hints at the future you could have. Speaking about the future with your boyfriend is great, but not so much if he’s mentioning your future without him in it. For instance, if he says, “That’s the kind of guy I see you with” when you spot a hot guy in public or reminds you how much you loved it in Portland and suggests you should move there. Um, what? It’s almost like he’s hoping you’ll take the hint and leave him so he doesn’t have to do the breaking up.
  3. He tries to pick fights. This seems to be happening often and it’s usually over any little thing. It’s infuriating and you can’t be blamed for biting his head off if he’s acting so childish. The thing is, he might be using this as another way for you to be the one to step up and end things. He needs to grow some balls.
  4. He was alone for a long time and hated it. Before you came into his life, he was alone and usually rants to you about how crappy that time was for him. Sometimes you can’t help but think that he would stick out a crappy relationship just so that he doesn’t have to be single again.
  5. He doesn’t like change. He’ll find any excuse to avoid big changes, even positive ones. It took him ages to leave his crappy job, for example. He might just be afraid of the unknown so he settles even if his heart’s not in it.
  6. He buys lots of new shiny things. No, not for you, but for himself. A Yale study found that when people feel insecure in their relationships, they place more value on their material possessions. So if he’s buying lots of stuff for himself, it could be that he’s trying to fill a relationship void with material goods, instead of getting out of it. It’s sort of like the person who covers their feelings with food.
  7. He doesn’t want to resolve fights. When you get into an argument, he’s quick to change the subject or try to move on from it without really resolving it. This is crappy because it feels like things remain unfinished. It’s like he doesn’t want to fight for anything anymore or make an effort, but then he doesn’t fight to the point of breaking up either. WTF?
  8. He doesn’t include you in massive life decisionsWhen he’s thinking of changing jobs or moving to another city, he doesn’t first consult with you. You might hear about it when he’s telling a friend in front of you and be totally shocked that he didn’t mention it. He’s preparing for what his life will be like without you in it, as though he needs to pluck up the courage to live it.
  9. He gives you attention just when you pull away. Ever want to scream out, “WTF doesn’t he break up with me if he’s not happy?” It’s so infuriating to think that a guy would rather stay with you and suck it up than set you free. When you’re fed up with him and pulling away or telling him to stuff it after a hectic fight, he throws on the attention sprinklers and soaks you to the bone with love. It’s his way of keeping you there because he’s so terrified of breaking up.
  10. He stuck it out with his exes. Lots of his past relationships were full of drama, but he didn’t end things or leave the women. He either stuck it out or they were the ones who dumped him. If that looks a little too much like his history, it does make you wonder if he’ll do the same thing to you.
  11. He makes you feel anxious. If he’s in relationship limbo all the time, he’s probably a yo-yo of emotions. He’s irritable, moody, and sometimes really cold. Then he’s anxious or looks like he’s a million miles away. He’s happy with you one minute, but not really the next. WTF? It’s crappy to have to deal with his confusion and honestly, you don’t deserve to be strapped into his crazy roller-coaster. If he’s not going to take a stand and make a move, then it’s up to you to set yourself free.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.