Breakups are like infidelity: they never just happen. There are usually huge warning signs, but other times they’re a bit more subtle. Here’s how I knew my relationship was about to end weeks before my now-ex-boyfriend got the nerve to tell me it was over.
He agreed with everything.
It felt a bit weird that my partner was suddenly agreeing with everything I said. It wasn’t a sign we were on the same page as I initially thought. In reality, it was a sign that he was being a “yes” man to get me off his back so he could carry on with more important things.
I felt lonely sometimes.
I used to feel happy around my partner. But now, even snuggling up to him while we watched a rom-com felt like something was off. I felt lonely instead of happy, like he wasn’t even there 100%.
He constantly nit-picked.
He never used to be the type of person to criticize me or make unkind comments, but now he was doing it in small ways. For example, he’d ask, “Did you wear that low-cut top to your job interview?” I’d reply that of course I chose something more professional, but the way that he’d asked had rubbed me the wrong way. It was like he was suddenly trying to find anything, however small, that was wrong with me.
He’d give me a pat on the back.
Instead of giving me a hug or kiss when he saw me, he’d give me a back pat. It felt like we were friends. At first I didn’t realize this was a problem because when we were in public, he hated PDA and he usually hated hugging. When he started doing it in private too, I knew it was a huge red flag.
He prevented all our fights.
While I loved that he wasn’t the type of partner who wanted to fight all the time, when issues came up, he’d always say, “Let’s not fight.” What he really meant was, “Let’s not even talk about it” because he’d always change the subject and try to talk about happier things. Looking back, I now see that he just wanted to enjoy the good parts of the relationship without focusing on making it stronger by talking through our differences.
He became vulnerable.
I’m all for a partner who isn’t afraid to show me their vulnerable side and get real, but when it comes out of the blue, it can sometimes be a sign something’s not right. My ex started saying strange things like, “Don’t ever hurt me” and I thought that was so sweet. Meanwhile, he was the one who was going to break my heart by ending our relationship so suddenly. It’s like he was projecting onto me!
He started being mean to others.
I was surprised when, during one of our dates, he spoke so rudely to the waiter. This wasn’t an isolated incident. He was becoming quite rude to others but I didn’t see that as having anything to do with me. Not only was it enough of a sign to get out of the relationship, but it was a preview of things to come. He would start treating me in the same way.
He made startling comments.
He’d say things like, “Cheating doesn’t make someone bad,” which would leave me with my mouth hanging open. He was changing his views on important topics, and it was a sign that we weren’t on the same page anymore.
He encouraged me to look elsewhere.
When my partner would suggest I go to Thailand on my own or spend even more time with my BFFs, I thought, “Wow, I have such a supportive partner!” But this wasn’t what was going on. Looking back, it’s clear to see he was trying to get me to spend more time away from him so he could do his own thing and have a trial run for life without me in it. This was confirmed by how he pushed me to do things with others because he was “tired after a busy day at work” or just “not in the mood.“
He acted insecure.
I used to playfully slap him and tell him to stop putting himself down because sometimes he’d say things like, “You should be with someone who’s better than me.” I can’t believe I let that slip! It was a huge sign that things weren’t cool between us because when you love someone you’d never dream of telling them to look elsewhere for love. Not even as a joke.
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