- 1 The first bad sign your relationship is failing is when you get ‘the feeling’
- 2 The most obvious sign something is wrong is a change in your sex life
- 3 Other warning signs include not engaging with you and wanting to spend more time with friends or even an ex
- 4 Another potential sign is a change in how she treats you
- 5 Try to understand why she wants out
- 6 Take life events into account
- 7 Have a conversation
- 8 Ask her if anything is the matter
- 9 Test her level of commitment: discuss future plans and long-term plans to gauge whether mutual goals have changed
- 10 Summary
You suspect your girlfriend is going off you – in fact, you’re pretty sure about this… but you don’t have concrete evidence. What do you do?
In this article I’m going to share with you the things to watch out for and an action plan to get to the bottom of this.
Let’s do this.
The first bad sign your relationship is failing is when you get ‘the feeling’
We all have a gut sense. Science-backed data shows that the gut acts like a second brain because it can operate independently of the brain and the central nervous system. It has also been called the “first brain” based on evidence suggesting that the ENS evolved before the central nervous system. Source: Science Daily
So when your brain raises a little red flag to tell you something is wrong, don’t just dismiss our ancient navigation system.
The fact is that, unlike a stranger you meet for the first time, you know your girlfriend pretty well, and when you feel something is amiss, you’re not relying on first impressions. Instead, you have very intimate data and knowledge about your partner, including everything from likes and dislikes to body language cues and response patterns.
So, when you feel something is amiss, something is probably amiss. Now is the time to start paying close attention to her – her words as well as her actions.
If she seems to be acting weird and this is the only concern you have, then ask yourself whether there’s something significant happening or about to happen.
For example, if you have a birthday coming up and she’s planning a surprise party for you, she’s naturally going to be acting weird trying to plan things without your knowledge.
If there’s something happening at work or with her loved ones – something that affects her emotionally (for example her mother being ill) then she could be acting odd due to stress or the pressure she’s feeling.
All that said, if it’s more than just acting a little odd for no apparent reason, then there are more things you need to look at.
The most obvious sign something is wrong is a change in your sex life
By a change, I mean your sex life tanking. This is perhaps the most obvious sign. Healthy relationships include regular sexual activity. Admittedly, this tends to change for most of us with marriage. But even then, there is a baseline that enables you to gauge that ‘all is normal’.
If your sex life has taken a significant downturn then that could be a sign that things are amiss.
But don’t be too hasty to jump to conclusions; consider all that is happening both in and out of the relationship – particularly in her work or immediate family. Outside pressures can dampen sexual appetite more than you can imagine.
Consider (or test, if you have to) whether she at least responds to affection. For example, if you touch her arm lightly or hug her, what is her automatic response? If she recoils, even for a moment, something is definitely amiss.
Take into account that romantic relationships usually do change over time. In fact, as people grow older together, chances are those little habits or traits they each found cute in each other start to grate and eventually become unbearable.
Following that logic, if your relationship may have started out like a bonk festival and sex is now more like a Friday night thing if she doesn’t have a headache, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s repulsed by you.
Unfortunately, this seems to be the way the majority of relationships evolve in the West.
But, evolution aside, you know your relationship’s own baseline, so you’ll know right away if something is amiss, especially if you go to zero sex.
Other warning signs include not engaging with you and wanting to spend more time with friends or even an ex
I remember a time when a friend came to me for advice. His girlfriend at the time was going out for a meal with an ex boyfriend. He had argued with her over this and she had fought back, making him feel controlling and even convincing him that what she was doing was normal.
Whether you find this acceptable or not, is mostly down to your own personality and social conditioning. But the fact remains that, in a healthy relationship there are boundaries and compromise. And part of that compromise includes sacrificing or foregoing some things in order not to upset one’s partner.
My friend was not comfortable with his girlfriend going out on a dinner date with an ex boyfriend, and perhaps she should have respected and acknowledged that this is not an everyday event and the right thing would have been to tell the ex boyfriend that a dinner date was not appropriate, since she was in a relationship.
But the dinner date went ahead and my friend sat at home with his tail between his legs. Perhaps not surprisingly, they broke up a few months later. Something was definitely wrong in that relationship.
Wanting to spend time with friends is not quite the same as hooking up with an ex, but it is the same as spending time away from you. Now, being apart and maintaining relationships with friends is healthy and normal, but wanting to be apart as much as possible is not.
As with the sexual frequency in your relationship, you probably have a good grasp of the baseline when it comes to how many times she hangs out with friends.
The thing you’re looking for is a significant change in activity. If she suddenly wants to spend more time with her friends, and she’s not particularly responsive to you physically, then, it has to be said, things are beginning to look bad.
Let’s now hatch a plan to tackle this situation.
Another potential sign is a change in how she treats you
If your girlfriend has started to treat you in a way that makes you feel she’s lost that sense of respect needed in all good relationships, that may be a sign that things are worse than you thought.
If she’s always treated you poorly or even badly, then you need to ask yourself what the hell are you doing in this relationship in the first place.
But if she’s gone from being a fair, loving partner to a coiled spring who explodes at the least provocation, then it’s time to sit down and think about your next move.
Let’s do that now.
Try to understand why she wants out
The first thing to do before confronting her is to dig deep in your mind and try to understand what the problem is. You don’t need to be a relationship expert to figure stuff out – at least at this stage.
You may already be aware of the issue, but you may not want to acknowledge it, especially if the root of the problem is you.
This is perhaps your last chance to make your relationship stronger by understanding your shortcomings (if those are the problem) and doing something about them to change the situation.
The alternative is to remain in a bad relationship and, eventually, break up.
Don’t be tempted to skip this step and ask friends for relationship advice. This step is all about you and what you already know. Think hard and admit to everything you need to admit to.
Once you’re done with your inquisition, it’s time to turn your thoughts to your partner. Why could she be going off the relationship?
Take life events into account
Remember to account for stuff that happens. For example, if this is a particularly stressful time because of finances or job security or illness or family matters, then it’s natural that your partner may be distant.
Also, from time to time we all feel a little off about one thing or another. Happy memories of something you cut out from your life or a missed opportunity can plunge any of us into a bad mood for a day or two.
Likewise, an injury or ongoing pain can seriously disrupt
You can’t expect somebody with high stress levels and worry to pause the anxiety and drop their pants at your whim.
If it turns out that she’s having a tough time, the best thing you can do is support her until things improve and putting your own thoughts about your relationship on pause. You’re not going to get a realistic reading if your partner is stressed out due to external things.
Have a conversation
Now that you’ve spent some quality time with yourself thinking, is the time to talk to your partner. Let her know there’s something important you’d like to discuss.
Let her know what it’s related to without sounding like you’re blaming her (i.e. don’t say I want to talk about your behaviour).
Ask her if anything is the matter
Unless the opposite is obvious to you, start by assuming that whatever is wrong is down to an external factor or more. Assume that she’s dealing with something.
Let her know you’ve noticed a change in her behaviour, or that she seems somewhat withdrawn or even distant. Don’t make it about you. Don’t say I noticed you don’t like me anymore.
Let her explain herself and let her know you’re ready to support her (assuming that you want to stay in your current relationship).
If you draw a blank and nothing external seems to be the issue, then it’s time to turn the conversation inwards.
Test her level of commitment: discuss future plans and long-term plans to gauge whether mutual goals have changed
Now it’s time to ask her about where she sees the relationship is going. It’s important to keep the vocabulary positive and not make it sound like an accusation or imply that there is a problem.
I’m not saying act like it’s a happy relationship and all is well, but come at it from the opposite end all doom and gloom either.
For example, do ask about her levels of commitment rather than point out a lack of commitment. Ask her if there are things that need to be revisited in the relationship, such as pledges made in the past.
Find out if she’s looking for a relationship break and what the reason for that is. That alone shows that she’s not happy in the relationship and either wants to reconsider or wants to put distance between you and her so she can muster up the courage to break up with you later on.
Talk about any mutual goals you’ve both discussed in the past. Check that those are still burning ambitions for her. Listen to her attentively because there may be clues as to the real issue in her language and the way she expresses herself.
If she does want to break up with you, she may just tell you at this point. Although this will be an awkward conversation for her if that’s the case, it’s also the perfect opportunity for her to make it all stop once and for all.
When a person wants out of a relationship, there are usually common signs you can easily spot. Often times is a change in behaviour; things like your sex live taking a dive, or a change in the way she treats you.
It’s important not to label everything as unhealthy signs though, as the source of unhappiness could be external to the relationship. Take into account any current situation that may be stressful, such as job changes, job security, financial woes, family matters, etc, as those could be the issue.
Make some time to have a conversation with your girlfriend and ask her about any external stresses and how you can support her. If she tells you nothing external is the issue, then ask her what the matter is.
To coax the answer out of her if she’s not forthcoming, test her levels of commitment by asking her about your shared goals and if those are still applicable. Ask her, if you need to, whether she’s looking for a relationship break.
At this point in the conversation, if your girlfriend wants to break up with you, she’ll probably admit it. The conversation acts as a facilitator for her to come clean.