How do you know when your relationship has reached its expiration date?
You feel something is seriously off. You're sad, but can't pinpoint exactly why. You feel neglected, but make excuses why he's been distant lately. You feel impending doom creeping up on the horizon, but think if you hang in there, things will turn around. But deep down you know something has gone terribly wrong.
Then one day, something happens...
You find a pair of hoop earrings that definitely don't belong to you, or come home and find packing boxes stacked in your hallway, or you just wake up one morning, staring at the vacant space in your bed because he's off on yet another business trip and think, "How the heck did I get here?"
Don't wait for your heart to get pummeled. Don't turn a blind eye to the warning signs he's giving you. Instead, it's time to dump those dingy rose-colored glasses and get yourself a fabulous new pair.
Here are seven signs that it's time to end your relationship and take loving care of yourself.
1. Your contact is becoming extinct
You're becoming a dinosaur to him. Your phone used to ring off the hook and now all you hear is crickets. Watch out when he starts pulling away and spends more nights playing beer pong with his friends than playing boyfriend/girlfriend with you.
So many times we make excuses for our less-than-attentive guy: he's so busy, he's working too hard, or his cockatoo is sick. And then when he finally sends you a text, saying, "Hey," it's like your memory of him being in the "land of the lost" has been wiped out. You hit the reboot button and now everything's OK again (even though he disappeared for two weeks). That is, until the next time he vanishes and the not-so-fun emotional roller coaster starts all over again, until he eventually becomes Joe No-Show and you've lost him for good.
2. Your future together isn't on his radar
You're trying to plan a romantic weekend and he flakes out. Or you talk about going to a friend's wedding and he says he has plans that day, even though he hasn't even checked his calendar. Or you get invited to a friend's barbecue and he's being cagey about going. If he can't even commit to a barbecue with your friends, how's he gonna commit to anything with you?
I had the unfortunate experience of dating one of those "future-phobic" guys. We were talking about staying at a friend's cabin for the weekend, but the date that worked for everyone was a month away. He said, "I don't make plans that far in advance." It was like a gut punch. I knew what he was saying, but denied the red flag. Instead, we dated for another month (but never went on that cabin trip). It eventually ended with the dreaded "I just want to be friends" call.
3. He's acting like sex and the single guy
He is doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants without taking you into consideration. He goes to a baseball game with a group of friends but doesn't include you. Or he suddenly ditches plans with you to go to a party solo. Or he mysteriously goes away for a weekend to "be alone."
Or maybe he's calling you at midnight to see if you're available to come over instead of going on an honest-to-goodness date. It could be that sex is the only thing that's working between you two. Sex is great, but if it's the only thing you have in common, then it's probably time to say, "Bye-bye." On the flip side, if your sex life has gone out the window completely, then it also may be time to call it quits. If you're becoming more pals than lovers, or if he's constantly tired, or not in the mood, it's time move on.
The truth is, if your guy is acting like this, then he's checked out while you're still checked in. Go check out a new, hot guy.
4. You've become a drama king and queen
Your relationship has turned into war games. You're lobbing insults, rude remarks, or are constantly in competition. Little things that used to bother him have now turned into colossal aggravations. It seems that everything you do annoys him. He belittles and nitpicks about your hair, your job, or that you're wearing too much makeup. He's constantly focusing on your faults instead of your fabulousness.
If he's picking fights with you and pushing your boundaries, he may be trying to see how far he can go before you walk. Walk away right now. Stop being the victim. End this war and move on to a more victorious life.
5. You don't trust him as far as you can throw him
You doubt his late nights, drown in his lies, and sense your dating life is no longer exclusive. He stops holding your hand. Your hot make out sessions have cooled into civil kisses. Or he can't stop flirting with the girl at the bar. His actions are speaking volumes. He's behaving badly for a reason -- he wants out.
Relationships are built through trust, and if you can't trust your guy anymore, then you need to take care of yourself and go find a man who's trustworthy and deserving of your love.
6. He's not the person you first met...and you're not the person you used to be
When you met, he was sweet and loved your family, you were incredibly fun and outgoing, and you both were adventurous risk-takers. You were the "power couple" that all your friends envied. Now he's telling you what to do and you're catering to his needs and abandoning your own. In the beginning, you couldn't get enough of each other and talked about everything. Now, your conversations are difficult and distant.
It could be that you've grown apart and don't share the same goals and values. Or you've both simply become unhappy. Or you're ships passing in the night, unable to find each other in the stormy sea.
If you're wondering where you're headed, it's straight to the nowheresville. Sail to a new shore and find a better man for you.
7. You know, but you're not listening
Maybe you've lost interest in each other and don't care where he goes, what he does, or even when you'll see him again. You don't even miss him when he goes camping for the weekend with his buddies. In fact, you feel relieved. Like you can finally breathe.
Or maybe you had a bad dream, where you were married and woke up in a cold sweat. I had that happen with a guy I was living with, but I ignored it. Finally, after the third wedding nightmare, I realized I didn't want to be with this person anymore and moved out.
So if you know deep down that it's time to move on, why aren't you leaving? Maybe it's because you're so deeply in it, you can't see your way out. Or you've invested so much time in the relationship; it's hard to let go. Or you've spent a lot of time daydreaming about being single but are afraid to take the leap.
You may feel that you're not ready to face what's happening or a future without him in it. But that's fear talking -- don't let it rule your life. If you keep trying to make the best of a losing situation, you'll eventually lose yourself in the end.
So listen to your instincts. Trust your gut. Stop investing your time and energy into a relationship that's not working. Admit your relationship is over and start taking care of you. It's time to break off this relationship and break through to a happier life. Healthy relationships require that we value our needs, wants, and most importantly, ourselves. Your partner should enhance you, not deplete you.
So take this opportunity to step out of this relationship and step into a life you truly desire. I know you can!