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Poll: How Do You Know When a Relationship Is Ending?

Thu, Mar 11, 2010

Confessions, Poll

photo by Sara Bjork

Our contributor Carrie asked us this question recently — for her, she says she knows the end is nigh when she starts feeling more self-conscious and uncomfortable around the guy. For her friend, it’s when she loses interest in PDA with the partner. How about you: What are your personal tell-tale signs that a relationship is winding down? Post your answers in the comments section below.

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44 Responses to “Poll: How Do You Know When a Relationship Is Ending?”

  1. Johnny Says:

    When I begin to feel chronically henpecked/nagged/criticized.

    Not just sometimes. All couples have wrinkles to iron out. But when I feel routinely set upon about stupid stuff… when trivial things start becoming fights… when instead of addressing her criticism I reply, “get off my fucking back”… it’s as good as over.

  2. trillie Says:

    When, after or during a meaningless fight or when seeing socks on the floor*, I stomp my foot and start thinking “Or maybe we should just break up right away and everyone would be better off”. And if this thought comes up more often, and starts to linger, and then suddenly my mind can get used to the idea that breaking up would actually not be the end of the world. Then it’s practically over.

    * socks on floor stand for: This kind of meaningless stuff that annoys you but shouldn’t really annoy you when you’re in love and this is The One.

  3. karen Says:

    when i don’t hear from him as often… when the near-constant text messages and calls slow down to rarity. when i have to ask when i’ll see him next, and i start to think “maybe he’s just been really busy lately,” but that’s not it.
    when i feel nervous about seeing him, as though we’re both “trying” instead of being ourselves.

  4. Pepper Says:

    When the thought of kissing him starts to nauseate me and I have to force myself to be intimate with him.

  5. Mab Says:

    I differ; I believe you can be in love and still have meaningless stuff annoy you. But then you find a way to communicate about that and fix it.

    I know a relationship is over when the person does something that is so at odds with what I believed them to me that I no longer like them. Or when I feel ill at the thought of touching them, but those both are usually connected since if someone alienates me emotionally I won’t fancy them any more.

  6. Madamoiselle L Says:

    PDA becomes less frequent when the relationship matures, as well. My Man and I don’t hug and kiss in public as much as we did when I was say, 19. We still touch each other a lot, in public and, of course, in private. But, a lot of that “dating” stuff goes by the wayside as the relationships becomes more ADULT! You don’t make out in public in your 30s and 40s beyond, but often the relationship is still very strong.

    Johnny is right about the nagging and criticizing. I have worked hard not to nag My Man. I think it is one of the death knells of a relationship. Stating your opinion, when something is really bothering you is one thing, but “when are you going to….when are you going to…..you said you’d do it and here you sit, and I have to wait, when are you….” It will drive a man away. I saw my mother drive my father away with such ridiculous shit. I vowed never to do it to a man. I have done pretty well so far, I think. My Man has actually commented that “You don’t nag like my buddies wives do.” I’ll take that as a compliment.

    And criticizing. Of course, if something is important, but often we fall into the trap of just saying every LITTLE THING that bothers us, when most of it would be better left unsaid. The Man and I made a huge change in our relationship a while ago. We both made a conscious effort to complain less, compliment more, make love more, bitch and whine less and be more tolerant of each other and work on forgiveness and let things slide. It made all the difference. (He actually nags more than I do. It’s something he has to work on, but it’s up to him to remember. I am NOT going to bring it up constantly.)

    Back to the question, when a guy calls less frequently (if you are not living together) or takes less effort with his hygiene and appearance, spends more time with other people (not that he can’t see his friends, but if every Friday and Saturday night for the past month has been Boys Night, you are probably in trouble.) If he rarely looks at you, and doesn’t answer questions. Or starts fights about stupid stuff, goes around LOOKING for things to get mad about.

  7. Johnny Says:

    MmsL knows what’s up! Right on, guys can be annoying nags too.

    I’m pretty good about this. I pick my battles, I live and let live. I don’t beat my girl over the head with every little gripe I have. I accept her for who she is. I’ll only bring up the things that really bother me.

    Which is why I get particularly aggravated when my laid-back attitude isn’t reciprocated. Makes me think, “don’t go thinking you’re perfect just ’cause I don’t bitch five times a day!”

  8. SS Says:

    Johnny, maybe your girlfriends get overly crabby because you’re bringing the wrong toys to bed…heh.

    Johnny Says:
    March 9th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
    As long as they’re not too big, I’m cool with toys.

    Oh, wait… you mean to use on HER?

  9. Karen Says:

    Since it seems that the relationship i am in is about to end…then a lack of intimacy is the sign that is over.

    However in other relationships i have had it is the feeling of not wanting to be with him, be close to him or kiss him that tells me it is ending…especially if it is accompanied by feeling sick

  10. Daisy Says:

    Its over for me when another man is catching my attention. Or I cant be intimate with him anymore cuz its just gross

  11. lexi Says:

    his presence start to irritated me and the idea of havin sex really make me wanna vomit!!!!

  12. Chris Says:

    You guys are screwed up, A relationship only works out if the 2 people in it are a team, Sex wears off after years of being together, if you want to try and keep sex good you have to try new stuff (Role Play) ect… Your all gonna be alone if you let small things irritate you, If the communication is gone & the both of you aren’t being a team & working together then its over.

  13. Madamoiselle L Says:

    Chris, I agree, if one lets small stuff irritate them, they most likely WILL end up alone. (Thus, my comments on nagging.) Communication is the key as is working together. Definitely.

    But, as for “Sex wears off after years of being together” It doesn’t’ have to, not at all. My Man and I have been having sex together for over 2 decades, and it has never “worn off.”

    “New Stuff” yeah, probably. When we first started messing around, sex toys were just not that available, nor commonplace. Even most “bad girls” ;) back in the day would not have considered anal sex, so, I think you are right about keeping things Fresh. Don’t be afraid to try new things, have no fear, be imaginative.

    But, sex doesn’t have to become stale or “wear off” even after a long time with the same person. Even a new lube or finding a really interesting position from the net or a porn movie can contribute to the freshness. There is a way to keep things going. Saw a couple on the news a few days ago, they got married in the nineteen THIRTIES! She was 16 or 17, he wasn’t much older. They were in their 90s, now. They said they still Made Love at least once or twice a month! I know 30 somethings who don’t get around to it that often. (Present company excluded.) The Lust CAN last. As long as there is Love. That’s the way we see it. :)

  14. Lovereaction Says:

    It is over when the rome is gone.

  15. opinion Says:

    it over to me…when i dont care what the hell he thinks, feels or do anymore..
    it over when i prefer hang with the girls than being around him.

    and with him know its over when he makes everything a problem.
    when he does’nt hold me as much, when he gives me dry sex, or no kissing during sex like normal.
    when a guy stops kissing you its either one or two things. u have bad breath or HE IS JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU,

  16. Stefanie Says:

    I think it’s over when your conversations are less than 15 minutes a week, the numerous texting dwindles and when you do talk, whether he calls or you call, he tells you that he will call you back. Understanding demands of running a business and going to school, if you don’t have SOME time to invest in a relationship, don’t get into one and say you are looking for a wife or a committed type of relationship. It’s DEFINTELY over when you call to break up with him and he says, I’ll call you right back. The answer is, you don’t have to call me back. I’m not perfect, but I almost thought something was wrong with me.

  17. britnee Says:

    if u think its over, then most likely its over. dont waste ur time making someone else a priority, always contacting them, always trying to make time to see them and constant arguing. i did it for two years & i was just left looking dumb after finding another girls socks on the side of his bed! So from personal experience communication is number one.

  18. Tam Says:

    When you put your all in and get nothing back in return. Then the love turns to resentment.
    You try talking and all it ends up in is an argument. One you are not to be herd, you don’t have an opinion because the other party just doesn’t care. That is when it is over. Trust Me… Communication goes along way, but willingness goes even further.
    What use to be common interest seem to be all about Me’s… when you are no longer in the plans as stated before. When you find yourself in a situation that you need your partners help and they send someone else.
    When they have been in one room for hours and you finally come in, then they walk out. When you can’t view or use there cell phone anymore. Auhhh there is that one. lol
    Good Luck hope you figure it out, it took me awhile.

  19. ron Says:

    The love is over when you find another woman you lust over. What makes it so bad, you still love the person you are with, but she can’t stand your face anymore because she knows you want to get in somebody else panties and hers too. You know she is the best thing that has happen to you, and you still want somebody else. How many men are screwed up like me?

  20. amanda Says:

    This is the kick in the ass…. when your man let you speak to his bitch on the phone. The lies are bigger than king kong. He say he kiss her, she say they fuck in the car. Who do you really believe. He say, but he don’t love her, but he still see her and wants us to be friends. Hell no. I am a single lady now.

  21. robinett Says:

    You say it’s over, but it is not really over. Your heart tells you different. The physical may be gone a little, but always can be rekindled. I have been married for 8 years, and my marriage has hit many hard times. My husband cheated for 2 years straight when we got married. True love will take hits, but it is well worth it. We are in love, and plan to stay in love. Forgiveness is the key. But willinging know where the problem lies and never return to that way of life. He is thankful every day I am still standing by his side.

  22. Nicole Says:

    Personal experience from my last relationship, you know its over when you completely don’t trust him anymore. Also your really not happy anymore, when he goes out every weekend “with the guys” – 100% he is cheating, took me 4 years to catch on! The last 2 years with him I just didn’t care what he did, I did not trust him one bit, and there was no romance what so ever, sex like once a week, if that. But now I don’t have nothing like this with my new man! =]

  23. D Says:

    My woman is still in love with her ex-…
    I found this out by snooping…Should I confront her and or let it go knowing that she does not love me.. Or do I try to get her to open up and be honest to the both of us?……

  24. D Says:

    I did leave out a few things in the above
    statement…I am a lesbian…we live together and our lease is up sept.2010
    limited funds and ALOT of pain…Just dont know what to do….Ya i snooped and really wish i had not.but it just proved i was right..It just kills my heart…
    I cant move but how do i distance myself
    and still live where i am at till i can move on….please help me she is my first love… she realy doesnt like to talk about her feelings/emotions…i just want us to not walk away pissed and hurt….

  25. Grace Says:

    When you have to wait around to get a phone call from him or wait to see when he’ll ask when can i see you? If you have to wait for him to ask and it’s only when he wants then it’s over.

  26. Ana Says:

    When you have been married for 15 years and he wants you to change your personality,when he gets mad at you and does not speak to you or call you for a month (and counting), when he refuses to talk things over or listen, when everything becomes routine and when you do not look at each other with love anymore.

  27. Ana Says:

    I forgot to mention all while living under the same roof and sharing the same bed..you know it’s over.

  28. joe Says:

    when is it over? well when she goes two states away and spends thanksgiving for 4 days with her exhusband and kids and leaves you at home with no family to spend the holiday with ,and on day two shes drunk and here only him in the background at 1:00am telling her to hang up and does it!!!and she doesn’t call back for two hours and she was suposed tobe at a movie with a 9yr old and a 11 yr old ???????i aint ever got drunk in a movie with two small kids. what does a exhusband and wife do at 1:00am drinking ???? i know after three years when shes drunk she droppin panties around me? but 1month later she proved me right and went back to him …for the kids sake…bought a new lincon navigator and broke my christmas on her kids and hauled ass while i slept new years day!!!! thats over my freinds

  29. Hopelessly Single Says:

    After being in a long distance relationship that was rekindled many years later, It was not hard to figure out it was over. It lasted only 5 months I I thought our initial love never stopped. We used to talk 3-5 times daily and text back and forth just saying hello to each other. I knew it was over when he started being annoyed when I would call him at the end of the day to say good night and he would pick fights when I didn’t call before. I never know what I needed to do not to fight with him. Come to find out he was married and juggled women a lot. He was really annoyed that I had the nerve not to want to be in a relationship with a married man. The nerve of me if I was really in love he says.

    I think he will always be a player and does not have much respect for (women) relationships but somehow finds it easiers to blame his not wanting to be an honorable man on the other person. Besides if he took responsibility for his actions he’d have to fix them if they really mattered.

    I have internal red flags that go off to warn me. I listened to them in this case and just observed until I had evidence before giving up. I think all of us have them and if we don’t pay attention to them we will have more headaches trying to keep a relationship than allowing it to naturally end due to incompatibility reasons.

    The right person is out there for all of us but forcing someone to be the right person does not make it so.

  30. Hopelessly Single Says:

    I few good signs are: When the other person no longer speaks to you in a respectful manner, communication stops or slow to a grinding halt and you have to find them when you never had to before because neither of your were never far. When the honeymoon is over, they now call touching base having to check in on a short leash and resent it. When before you couldn’t wait to talk to each other to share your day. Regardless of by phone or physical location.

    In the first 6 months you are in the honeymoon stage and you will know what you are really getting by 6 months and if you see too many red flags, RUN FOREST RUN. Spend your time with someone that really wants you for you.

  31. Nicole Says:

    its over when you get into a fight and words you never thought that person would say comes flying out their mouth!!!!!!

  32. patricia Says:

    when he wants nothing to do with u. does not call u back

  33. Doug Says:

    I think it’s over when the power balance shifts one way or another. When one partner starts controlling the actions of the other using ultimatums and guilt rather than open communication. It often takes a while to recognize it, but I know the relationship is over if she’s changing who she is deep down for me or is trying to change me with psychological ploys.

  34. Mrs. A Says:

    it’s over when they come out of nowere and they ask you to “freeze” stay still and “don’t move” so they can whore around for a while and then come back to you. it’s over and when they come crawling back – you had better not be there

  35. Lovereaction Says:

    When I hate to see the man eat, I know things are over.

  36. cindy Says:

    you no its over when you find out his ex hangs out at his house more than you do.when you complain he says its for the kids….and they are adults.

  37. julie Says:

    when you realized it has been 2 weeks since you last heard or saw the guy. His excuse of “im really busy” seems suspicious and your mother actually asked the question of why he hasn’t been around to see you.

  38. Randy Says:

    It’s Over when suddenly she doesnt want you to come over every nite to sleep with her,The constant texts and calls stop, starts getting bikini waxed, Lipposuctioned and Tummy tucked,Lots of Make-up and straightening her hair,Buying new lingerie from Victorias secret and Hot jeans from Expensive Stores, Then when she finds out her new “Beau” doesn’t want her either, she will be on here asking how to get Me Back. “Please forgive me!…I made a Terrible Mistake!, Let me prove myself”. All I feel now is Pity.What a shame, and waste of 3.5 Years of my Life.

  39. Lauren Says:

    My boyfriend and i have been dating for a year and 6 months and he’s very laid back and a total go-with-the-flow type of attitude.
    So there will be times when he’ll go out with his friends and I’ll call him to meet up and he won’t call back until like 1 in the morning …
    then the next time I hang out with our groups of couples they will all have these inside jokes that I am an outcast too.
    Am I over reacting by feeling like he is choosing his friends over me?? I have no problem with “boys nights”. But I feel like too after a year and a half we should have a mutual commitment of wanting that other person with you when you go out.

  40. Johnny Says:

    Yes, Lauren, you are over-reacting. Lay off his friend-time unless you want some serious resentment to set in.

  41. Madamoiselle L Says:

    @ Hopelessly Single when you even have an INKLING that he’s married, it should be over! (i.e. have a “long distance” relationship and realizing he lives in the same town.)

    Lauren, I think it depends how old you are. If you are in your teens or early 20s, and he’s doing this, it’s pretty normal, if you are in your 30s or older, and he’s *always* choosing his buds over you, he’s a boy/man and probably will never grow up. By 30 or so most grown ups have paired up, (not all, but most) and see their friends much less frequently. Again, your mileage may vary. Trying to get a commitment out of a guy, over 30 or not, who is just not ready, or doesn’t feel this is THE relationship, is an exercise in futility. You can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do, not well.

    That being said ALL men and women need their same sex friends. Even in a long term relationship. As for “mutual commitment” is should never be assumed. It’s something you both have to agree to, verbally. DO NOT assume “we’re committed and monogamous” unless it has been discussed.

  42. Gary Says:

    is it over r did it ever realy start think about it was it a fling are puppy love trust me i have been married three times and the first two times it never realy started could not see it then but now that i have met the love of my life i know for shore that the others was like a realy long fling but this is how u know that its ending and that is when they put the love of ur life in the ground and if thats not how it ended then it never began

  43. Katie Says:

    My ex and i lived in two different states. i missed him terribly and we saw each other every couple of months but the first time he came here i wasnt as excited and i thought i should be. and i knew then something was wrong. i stopped wanting to call him as much and its like we faded away from each other.

  44. Robee Says:

    I am going through a 18 year breakup. He does not have time for me. Thare is always an excuse. He up and kicked me out aftr 15 years. He then started seeing a girl he works with. We still see each other but he does not call me like he used to, makes up excuses, never sees me and always expects sex, different sex than what we used have. Does not ever offer to spend time with me.

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