How to Know when Your Girlfriend Wants to Break Up
In relationships, it is not uncommon to feel a bit insecure about the state of the relationship at one point or another. While it’s usually pretty clear when one person wants to end the relationship, sometimes a person’s behavior can be a bit more difficult to understand. If you think your girlfriend may want to break up, take steps to observe her behavior as objectively as possible. Then, if it still isn’t clear to you whether she wants to break up, or if she doesn’t seem like she wants to come clean about it on her own, take steps to talk with her about the state of your relationship.
Observing Your Girlfriend’s Behavior
Pay attention to how often she contacts you.This may or may not be a sign that she wants to break up, but if she was calling or texting you every day, but now she rarely tries to get in touch, and doesn’t answer when you try to contact her, it may be a sign that something is wrong.
- Try not to jump to conclusions. First, think about other things that may be going on in her life. Does she have a big exam coming up, or problems with her family? Has she just started a new job? There could be other reasons why she isn’t getting in touch with you as often as before.
Try to make plans with her.If your girlfriend is into you, she’ll be excited to make plans with you. However, if she’s not, she’ll probably be reluctant to make plans. If you suggest something on Friday night, and she says that she’ll have to get back to you on Friday afternoon, then it’s a good sign she is hoping for something more interesting to pop up.
- It’s important to remember that one instance of this does not necessarily mean she wants to break up. If it just happens once or twice, it may be because she had pending plans with a friend, but she wanted to confirm them before telling you she was busy.
- If you’re in school, you can ask her if she wants to eat lunch together with you. If she says, “no” and makes up an excuse about eating with someone else, then she may not be so into the relationship anymore.
Notice how often she picks fights.Frequent fighting is also a common sign that a relationship is in decline, especially if you often fight over trivial things.Has she been very irritable when she is around you? Does she pick fights over little things that didn’t used to bother her? The possible reasons behind this type of behavior are numerous (e.g. she could be stressed about a big deadline, or not feeling well), but if the behavior is happening every day, then it is a good sign she isn’t feeling happy about the relationship.
- Try to talk with her about this. Ask her if there is something going on that is making her feel very stressed, and if there is anything you can do to help.
Think about your physical intimacy.Your relationship may also be in decline if you are having less physical intimacy.This may not necessarily refer to sex, but instead how physically affectionate she is being in general. If you have a sexual relationship, but suddenly your girlfriend has no interest in it, and isn’t giving you any affection, then there may be something about your relationship that is bothering her.
- If your girlfriend is normally not very physical with you anyway, then keep that in mind. Some people do not enjoy physical intimacy as much as others, and if your girlfriend doesn’t really enjoy it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she isn’t interested in you.
- Did she enjoy holding your hand in the past, but now avoids it or swats your hand away any time you try? It may be an indication that something is bothering her.
Pay attention to body language.Body language is a great indicator of how someone is feeling inside. If your girlfriend is happy to be around you, she will make eye contact with you, will turn her body so that it is facing you when talking, and will generally try to be close to you.
- However, if she is crossing her arms and avoiding eye contact, it’s likely that something is bothering her.
Part 1 Quiz
Which of these is a sign that your girlfriend isn’t happy in the relationship?
Talking With Your Girlfriend
Tell her you want to talk.Although you may feel like you want to avoid the conversation or tip-toe around the topic, it is best to be direct with your girlfriend.There’s no reason that you can’t communicate with your girlfriend about what’s going on in your head. Yes, this conversation may mean that she tells you she does want to break up, but it could also mean that she tells you what’s bothering her, and that she doesn’t want to break up. Either way, at least you will know.
- Tell her you want to set aside some time to have a conversation about something that is on your mind. Don’t just walk up and ask her if she wants to break up. This may confuse her, or cause her to react defensively.
- If she says she can’t talk because she’s busy, suggest a time when you know she isn’t at school or work. You could also try inviting her to coffee or lunch, that way she will see it as time that she sets aside to talk to you, rather than an impromptu conversation.
- If you aren’t able to talk in person, you could also try chatting on the computer, over email, or over the phone. If you make yourself available to her over multiple channels, she will eventually have to give you a few minutes of her time.
Don’t make accusations.It is important to take time to stop and think about your reasons for suspecting your girlfriend of something, rather than jumping straight to a conclusion. Consider what evidence you have for the suspicion, how realistic the suspicion is, if you can verify the information somehow, and what you should do with the information.
- For example, you might suspect your girlfriend of cheating on you because you saw her smiling and laughing with a coworker. However, if this is your only evidence, then you might consider whether she was just being nice and trying to pass time at a somewhat boring job. You might decide that the best thing to do with the information is to ask her if she has any interest in this coworker.
- Avoid saying things like, “I know you want to break up with me, and I know it’s because of that guy you’ve been hanging out with. Why don’t you just get it over with already?!” You’re assuming things, and although you may be right, throwing accusations in her face will only make her defensive.
- Instead, try approaching the conversation by saying that you sense that something has been on her mind, and you’d like to understand if she is happy in your relationship or whether there are things that need work.
- You can also say, “I feel a bit worried because I’ve noticed that we haven’t been hanging out much anymore, and I’m not sure if there is something bothering you.” This shows her that you are trying to express your own feelings without accusing her of something specific. This is called nonviolent communication, and is a great way to approach difficult feelings with people you care about.
Listen to what she has to say.Active listening is when you use body language, questions, and other techniques to increase your comprehension of what your girlfriend says while also sending a clear signal that you are listening closely. For example, you can silently repeat what your girlfriend has just said to help yourself understand it better and you can increase her sense that you are listening by maintaining eye contact, nodding, and saying neutral things like, “uh huh” and “yes.”
- Don’t just jump to your own conclusions, and resist the temptation to interrupt the things she is saying. Give her a chance to explain why she wants to break up, or why she doesn’t want to break up. She might have very legitimate reasons why she has been behaving strangely, and you will come across as insecure if you aren’t able to give her a chance to talk to you.
- If she does want to break up, it’s still important to listen. The reasons she wants to break up may be things you hadn’t thought of, or hadn’t noticed. You may realize that breaking up does make sense.
- It is also possible that she does want to break up with you, but doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. Therefore, it is important to try to really listen to what she is saying in order to determine what she is really trying to tell you. If she gives you lots of reasons why she doesn’t feel happy about the relationship without explicitly stating that she wants to break up, try to be a bit direct.
- You can do this by saying, “It sounds like you’re feeling really unhappy about the relationship, but maybe you’re afraid of hurting me. I’d like it if you could be honest. Do you want to end the relationship?” Hopefully she will be honest with you at this point.
Say what you need to say.Now you have a chance to get anything off your chest. If she has said she wants to break up, it may be tempting to say mean things, but try not to do this if you can. It doesn’t solve anything, and won’t make you feel better. If she has said that everything is OK, then tell her what has made you feel worried about it.
- Make sure that you use “I” statements rather than “you” statements when you talk to your girlfriend. “I” statements are less likely to put your girlfriend on the defensive.For example, your girlfriend might become defensive if you say, “You have been acting strange. You need to tell me what is going on.” Instead, you might say something like, “I have been feeling some distance between us lately and I was wondering if you felt that way too.”
- If she breaks up with you, you don’t have to say anything if you don’t feel you want to. You can get up and walk away, or just say, “OK, I understand.” If you want to, you can also tell her your feelings about the break up (e.g. that you’re sad about it, that you’re mad about it, or that you think she’s right, and that it’s a good idea).
Try not to get angry.Anger is a normal emotion, but it can be hard to control sometimes.It can be easy to become defensive in a conversation where someone might break up with you. This is because being broken up with gives us a feeling of rejection. You will likely feel like you want to get angry in order to protect yourself from your own feelings, but getting angry is unlikely to help the situation.
- Try to focus on keeping your voice even and low, and your breathing even.
- If you feel like you can’t help but get angry, consider walking away from the conversation. Even if she says she wants to break up, and you feel like you hate her right now, walking away can help keep you from saying things you don’t mean or that you might regret later.
Accept the outcome of the conversation.Whether the outcome of the conversation is that you no longer have a girlfriend, or whether it means you are still together, accept what she has said. If you break up, then it’s time to start dealing with the break up. If she says she’s happy and doesn’t want to break up, believe her. Don’t constantly question whether she wants to break up. This will be annoying, and it will make you seem insecure.
Part 2 Quiz
If your girlfriend breaks up with you, how should you respond?
Figuring Out What To Do
Give her some space.Sometimes in relationships, one or both parties has a moment where they feel unsure about the relationship. During this time, the person will tend to distance themselves a bit from their significant other, usually without much explanation. This can leave you confused about what is going wrong and wondering if you did something wrong. The temptation is to try to get in touch to figure out what the problem is, but this often annoys the person that is feeling unsure, leading them to take action.
- If you are experiencing this, do your best to give her space. While there are no guarantees, distancing yourself from her for a few days/weeks may give her a chance to realize that she really enjoys your relationship, and feels lonely without you.
- Even if it doesn’t work out the way you hope, giving her some space will also give you a chance to realize that you had a life before she was in it that you enjoyed, and you can still have a great life, even if she isn’t in it.
Try to salvage the relationship.If you really feel that you absolutely cannot live without your girlfriend, you can take steps to salvage the relationship. However, it is important to understand that if your girlfriend is unhappy and doesn’t want to be with you, it will eventually make you both miserable.
- Try to identify what it is about the relationship that is making her unhappy. The cold truth is that she maybe just isn’t that into you anymore, but there may also be other things going on in the relationship that are causing her unhappiness. Try to identify those problems, and fix them.
- Surprise her. If you have been with your girlfriend for a while, you may not be using all your charm to keep her happy. Therefore, surprise her with something special. You could surprise her with a romantic dinner, or a night out to her favorite dancing spot. It can even be something simple to let her know you’re thinking of her, such as her favorite candy or flowers that you know she likes.
- Try to remind her of good times. There was a reason you two decided to begin a relationship, but those reasons can seem distant when times are tough. Try to get back to those reasons by reminiscing about your first date or a time when you were both laughing uncontrollably about something. The idea here is to elicit those positive feelings you felt in the beginning of your relationship.
- Write her a love letter. This is a simple one, but many people enjoy receiving love letters. This doesn’t mean you should be extra cheesy; a simple letter where you remind her of how much you care for her is sufficient. You might mention a good memory you have together and/or something you are looking forward to doing with her in the future.
- Try to be more open and vulnerable. While it may feel more natural to put your guard up and stop sharing things with your girlfriend, this might make matters worse. Instead, try to open up to her a bit more. Tell her when you are having a bad day, be willing to share your fears, and allow her to see a softer side of you.
- Encourage your partner to be independent. Perhaps one of the reasons that your girlfriend became unhappy in the relationship was because she felt smothered or unable to be independent. Try to encourage your girlfriend to do the things that she wants to do rather than trying to keep her at arm’s length.For example, if your girlfriend wants to apply to a competitive college, offer to help her with the application. If your girlfriend wants to go on a trip somewhere, tell her she should go for it.
Let her go.It may not be what you want to do, but in some cases, it may be best to simply let her go. If it is very obvious to you that she is unhappy in your relationship, but afraid to take the plunge for one reason or another, be courageous and show her how much you care about her well-being by breaking it off yourself.
- You can do this gently by being honest. Tell her that you can see she has been unhappy in your relationship for a while, and that you know she doesn’t want to hurt you, but it’s time to let the relationship go.
- It may not lessen the pain of breaking up any, but it will give you some control over the situation. You may even feel relieved after living in an unhappy relationship for some time.
- When you break off the relationship with your girlfriend, it is also important to let go of the anger that you feel towards her or about the relationship. Hanging onto your anger and resentments will only harm you.
Give yourself time.In order to get over a relationship, you need time. If you are sad about the loss of your relationship, try to remember that in time you will feel get over your sadness. There are many other things you can do to help yourself feel a little bit better, but ultimately, you’re going to need time to get over it.
- There is no set amount of time, however. It may be days, weeks, or months. Try to look at each new day as a step in the right direction.
Cut off all contact.It can be tempting in the early stages of a breakup to try to call, email, or text her. However, doing so will only prolong your pain.Delete her number if you have to and delete her from all of your social media accounts.
- If she tries to contact you, ignore the call or text. If she sends an email, delete it without reading it.
- This doesn’t mean that you can never, ever talk to her again. However, you will likely regret anything you say in the aftermath of a breakup, and it won’t make you feel any better anyways.
- If you don’t want to completely get rid of any contact information you have, write it all down on a piece of paper, and give it to a trusted friend to hold onto until you are over the relationship.
Get rid of anything that reminds you of her.If you don’t want to completely get rid of something by throwing it away or donating it to charity, then at least put everything in a box or a bag, and put it somewhere where you won’t see it.
- If you think you’ll be tempted to reminisce over these objects then just get rid of them, or at least ask a friend if they can hold onto the items for awhile.
Stay active.While it is alright to give yourself an evening to cry and be sad about the breakup, after that, try to keep active. Make plans with friends to do things that you enjoy. Try attending a social event where you can make new friends. You won’t spend so much time dwelling on the loss of your girlfriend if you are out doing something fun with people you enjoy being around.
- You should also try to stay physically active. There is plenty of evidence that physical activity makes you feel good, both physically and mentally.It can be tempting after a breakup to lay around and mope, but try to challenge yourself to get out for a walk or a run. If you enjoy team sports, join a team.
Be constructive.Although it is sad that the relationship is over, you can still try to learn from it. Spend time reflecting on the relationship as honestly as you can. It’s likely that she did many things wrong in the relationship, but you probably did too. Rather than dwelling on her faults, try to think about what you could have done better.
- For example, maybe you can try to be more communicative in future relationships so that future girlfriends are more willing to talk with you when something is bothering them. If, in your last relationship, you tended to get angry and defensive when she tried to talk about a problem, maybe you can practice being open and calm in the face of problems.
- It can be difficult to be honest with ourselves about our flaws, but try to remind yourself that there is no point in hiding behind your pride at this point.
Part 3 Quiz
What is the best way to get over a break up in the early stages?
- She might just be having a bad day or a bad week. You can always give it time, but letting a bad relationship drag on is not fun.
- If she is being negative, maybe she just needs a little more attention. A random expression of love or a thoughtful surprise may be the solution.
- Write it all in a letter. If it is difficult for you to find time to talk with your girlfriend, try to communicate with her another way. You can write her a letter or an email where you explain what you’re feeling. Not only will this open up another method of communication, but it will also give her a chance to digest what you have said.
- Listen to your instincts. Often, it will be pretty clear to you that the relationship is nearing its end. Usually, we try to ignore this feeling, but more often than not it is right, so be sure to be honest with yourself.
- If your girlfriend wants to break up because she is unhappy in the relationship, it may be best to just let her go. Getting over the break up will be difficult, but if she isn’t happy in the relationship, trying to force her to stay will only make the relationship worse.
- If you are certain that she wants to break up, but is putting it off for some reason, you could end the anxiety and break up with her yourself. If you don’t want to break up, this will be difficult, but remember that breaking up can be difficult for all parties involved, and getting it over with will mean you can start moving on.
- If she is direct and says that she is having a bad week, be helpful about it. Ask her if there is any way you can help make it better.
- Avoid making a scene. If she breaks up with you, making a scene may feel like the best thing to do at the time, but later you will probably feel embarrassed. Keeping as calm as possible (at least while you're in front of her) will show that you are mature. Later on, you will be proud of yourself for keeping cool.
- Negative body language and emotions may indicate that she is depressed. Be careful not to mistake her dissatisfaction with the relationship with other emotional problems she may be dealing with.
Sources and Citations
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