Reader Requested: "He's Pulling Away, How To Know The Signs a Couple May Be Headed for a Breakup?"

Every relationship, whether it's a romantic partnership or a close friendship, is a journey filled with its own set of highs and lows. These fluctuations are a natural part of human interactions, and they often serve as opportunities for personal growth and strengthening the bonds between individuals. However, there are moments when these challenges become so profound and pervasive that the prospect of a breakup looms large on the horizon.

Today's post comes as a request from a reader. Bethany asks: "I've been with my boyfriend for three years, but he seems to be going back and forth as far as commitment. Although we're deeply connected, I feel like I'm stuck in a holding pattern. I'm not sure I trust the connection anymore. It's awful because I can feel him pulling away. How do I know if he's thinking about ending our relationship?"

In these trying times, it's always advisable to work on the relationship, to attempt to mend the tears in its fabric, and to address the issues that have caused the emotional distance or discord. I'm an advocate of relationships and commitment so of course I'll say that! After all, relationships aren't just fleeting connections; they are often deeply intertwined with our emotions, experiences, and dreams. But to successfully navigate these turbulent waters, it is crucial to first recognize the subtle or not-so-subtle signs that suggest a couple might be drifting towards the painful decision of parting ways. So, let's see if we can't dig deep into what signs you can look out for.


In the realm of relationships, knowledge is indeed power. Understanding the red flags that point towards an impending breakup can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their future. It allows them to assess whether the relationship is salvageable or if it's better to part ways amicably. Moreover, recognizing these signs early on might even provide a chance to take corrective action and potentially save a bond that both parties hold dear.

While every relationship is unique and complex, there are some universal signs and patterns that, when identified, can serve as a compass to guide individuals through these tumultuous times. By delving into these common indicators, we can gain insights into the health of a relationship and whether it is at a crossroads. It is important to remember that identifying these signs is not meant to be a judgment or a sentence but a tool for reflection and self-awareness.

In this article, we will carefully examine these signs, discussing each one in depth. It is our hope that by shedding light on these key indicators, we can help individuals navigate their own relationships more effectively. Armed with this knowledge, you can approach your relationship with a greater understanding and a realistic perspective, which may ultimately guide you towards a decision that is in the best interest of both you and your partner, whether that means working together to rekindle the flames of love or gracefully parting ways to embark on new chapters in life.

Frequent and Unresolved Conflicts

One of the most significant warning signs of a troubled relationship is frequent and unresolved conflicts. Disagreements are normal, but when they become a constant presence in a relationship and are never fully resolved, it can lead to frustration, resentment, and emotional detachment. While setting healthy boundaries is important, it's equally important to engage in a certain level of openness with your relationship partner - especially regarding any disagreements you share. If communication breaks down and arguments become a regular part of the relationship, it may be a sign that a breakup is imminent.

Emotional Distance

Emotional distance is another crucial sign that a relationship may be in trouble. When a couple begins to feel emotionally disconnected and the intimacy wanes, it's a clear indication that something is amiss. This could manifest as a lack of physical affection, minimal conversation, or a feeling of loneliness even when together. The emotional bond that once held the relationship together may have weakened.

couple not getting along in a circle frame in black and white

Lack of Trust

Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. When trust erodes, it can be difficult to rebuild. Suspicion, jealousy, and insecurity are signs that trust is faltering. Are you always looking at his phone? Is he checking up on your social media likes? Or worse, are you hiding your socials from each other? If one or both partners continually question the other's actions, whereabouts, or intentions, it may signal that the relationship is heading for a breakup.

Different Life Goals and Values

Couples who have differing life goals and values may struggle to sustain their relationship. When two people are moving in opposite directions or hold fundamentally different beliefs, it can create ongoing tension and conflict. This misalignment can be a strong predictor of a breakup, as it becomes increasingly challenging to compromise on issues of core importance.

Neglecting Quality Time

Over time, couples often find themselves caught up in the busyness of life, and they may neglect spending quality time together. However, if this neglect becomes a pattern and both partners consistently prioritize other commitments over their relationship, it can lead to emotional detachment and a sense of growing apart. What kind of time are you spending together? Are you having regular dates, or at least communicating on the daily? One of the most common red flags signaling a breakup is the lack of communication. 

Lack of Intimacy

What's your intimacy like these days? I'm not just talking about physical intimacy. I mean, what's the chemistry been like in your romantic connection? Intimacy is an essential part of a romantic relationship. A loss of physical or emotional intimacy can be a sign that the couple is headed for a breakup. This can manifest as a decrease in sexual activity, a lack of affection, or an overall feeling of disconnection.

Hiding Thoughts and Emotions

Good, healthy relationships are founded on trust, honesty, respect, compassion and being open with one another. Emotional vulnerability is a common reason that relationships face crisis. When partners begin to hide their thoughts and emotions from each other, it indicates a breakdown in communication. Open and honest communication is vital in a healthy relationship. Whether this is a relationship that has never experienced a split and reconnection before, or whether your connection has been stable for the duration, being forthcoming about feelings is vital to a relationship's overall health. If one or both partners are keeping their feelings, concerns, or problems hidden, it can lead to misunderstandings and further distance between them.


It is vital to understand that while these signs can indeed be indicative of a relationship that may be on the verge of a breakup, they are not an unequivocal death sentence for the partnership. Relationships are dynamic and ever-evolving, and challenges, conflicts, and changes are inevitable. In fact, they often serve as opportunities for growth, learning, and deepening the connection between two individuals. Many issues that trigger these warning signs can be addressed and resolved through a concerted effort from both partners.

Open communication is often the linchpin for healing and rebuilding trust. Sharing your concerns, fears, and desires with your partner can illuminate areas where the relationship might be strengthened. Additionally, seeking counseling or professional guidance can provide valuable insights and strategies for overcoming difficulties.

Recognizing these early warning signs should be viewed as a proactive step in relationship management. It's the first crucial stride toward addressing the underlying problems and, consequently, making an informed decision about the future of the relationship. If you identify with several of these signs in your own relationship, it's a clear indication that something needs to change. It may be time to have an honest and empathetic conversation with your partner, laying out your concerns and listening to theirs.

You might find that your partner shares your concerns and is willing to work together to improve the relationship. And in situations where the issues are deeply rooted or complex, seeking professional help from therapists or counselors can provide invaluable guidance and mediation. Ultimately, the decision to stay together or part ways should be driven by what is best for both individuals involved, taking into consideration their well-being, happiness, and personal growth. It is a profound choice that deserves careful contemplation and respect for each person's unique journey.

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