Signs Of A Break-Up


Break ups are hard! When relationships come to an end, it's normal to experience feelings of grief. They can trigger buried experiences of prior losses but unlike a death- the person is still out there. It makes this loss different and at times even MORE traumatic. 

A break up can trigger feelings of denial, depression, anger and resentment towards the relationship or the other person. However, what many people don't realize is that things probably started to change a long time ago. 

It's important to know the signs that your relationship may be in trouble and seek help from a professional before it's too late. Here are some signs that there may be trouble in paradise: 

AVOIDING THE PROBLEMS: Denial can surface when our "gut" that tells us something doesn't feel right anymore. We might be aware of this feeling or we might just notice when others ask us how things are going we say, "everything's great" before quickly changing the topic. Minimizing or avoiding our intuition is often a coping mechanism to protect us from the pain and fear of abandonment by our partner. Yet, coping in this way, can cause you to abandon yourself and your needs in the relationship by burying and dismissing the pain. 

 DESCENDING INTO SADNESS: Depression begins to set in when it becomes clear that minimizing and avoiding the issues is not working and things are getting worse rather than better. Feelings of hopelessness, ambivalence, and blame may begin to set in. This is when one or both of the partners begin to realize that the relationship is in danger and all of those feelings that were being avoided begin surfacing. Blaming your partner, yourself or the relationship can make you feel stuck and powerless. This can lead to distancing,  pulling away and avoiding your partner or the opposite such as, "clinging" and needing constant reassurance that you are still desired. This stage can last a long time and can be extremely emotionally traumatizing. 

ACKNOWLEDGING ANGER: Despair happens when hope is fully lost. During this stage, our partner is expected to let us down and it feels like thing may never change. This is the time when couples often begin to take out feelings of anger, fear, and resentment onto each other.  Most interactions are filled with criticism and blame towards each other or the relationship. Contempt takes over and it is nearly impossible to separate anger from our view of the person. Statements such as, "you ALWAYS have been selfish" or "You NEVER care about anything" infect almost every conversation. The wounds are deep and each partner is out for revenge by either attacking or dismissing the other. 

LETTING GO: Detachment happens when one or both of the partners "shut down" feelings towards the other person and/or the relationship. There is an overall sense of indifference and the partner no longer triggers any feelings. One or both people can start going out separately, arguments decrease because there is no emotional engagement and passion usually fades away. It is very hard to repair things once one or both partners have entered this phase. 

This is often the time when couples either 1. Decide to break up  2. Affairs begin or 3. Decide to stay together but accept a relationship that is more of an "agreement" than anything else and each person is free to do their own thing. Though, these types of couples still tend to separate eventually, when they meet someone else or the kids move out of the house. 

Relationships take a lot of effort and work from both people. Couples often do not know how to handle conflict, communicate in healthy ways or talk about vulnerable feelings. It takes a period of time to learn these things and it's not always something that we can do alone.

If this post resonated with you and there is still a desire for you to make your relationship work, it may be a good time to talk with your partner about coming in for couples therapy. If therapy is not an option, there are some great books out there that can help. For more information click here: GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT, SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR MAKING A MARRIAGE WORK, HOW TO BE AN ADULT IN RELATIONSHIPS.