By January 18, 2012 4 Comments Read More →

The Subtle Signs That Spell Relationship Doom

Say nothing and pretend everything is okay, she'll stop looking.

It’s always good to pre-empt being dumped.

If you have been in a relationship for a serious period of time, i.e. anything from between six months to a year, when or if the relationship ends it will usually always be hard. But what if you can see the end coming?

Would that make it easier?

Probably not, but it’s always good to pre-empt being dumped. Sorry, a nicer way of saying that could be, it’s easier not to feel as if you’ve been dropped like a safe from a great height if you can spot the warning signs coming.

So what are the warning signs that the end is nigh?

Well you may not spot them but they are there, and if you become clued in they’re like a 1980s Magic Eye picture coming into focus. They are right there for you to spot every day. Think of subtle breakup signs as similar to watching a foreign film, the subtitles are right there for you to read.

So let’s start off with some very subtle signs that you can hear every time your partner puts on some music.

Clue number 1 – if music be the food of love play on, or off.

The music your partner decides to start playing near the end of a relationship is crucial. If you hear repeated playing of the same song, listen, it means something. Any repeated playing of songs with the words ‘independent’, ‘survivor’ and ‘you’re history’ should start air horns blaring in your head.

I had an ex who near the end of our three year relationship kept playing Sheryl Crowe’s, All I wanna’ do is have some fun. When I didn’t get the subtle reference she combined the song with repeated playing of the film Singles. Subtle? Not really but I didn’t catch on. Hey I was young. Another classic breakup song that actually scores a zero on the subtlety scale is by The Beautiful South called I Need a Little Time. An ex of mine actually turned the volume up (we were in different rooms at the time) at key lines and sang along i.e., the freedom that you wanted back is yours for good I hope you’re glad.

Clue number 2 may be a little harder.

It requires concentration. It actually involves listening to what your other half is saying to you. At all times. It also involves reading between the lines. You need to pick up on the fact that you really no longer exist for your partner. All talk of future plans will be redundant. Try booking a weekend break for a few weeks in the future, not gonna’ happen. Your soon to be ex will no longer ask your opinion on anything unless its along the topic of the new apartments just built on the other side of the city or the difficulty rating in getting mail redirected.

Clue number 3 – important, it involves sex.

The sex will begin to wind down now, if it even still exists. When you do find it happening it may include some fantasy play involving you pretending to be someone else, anyone else, just not you. If your partner looks blankly at the roof, walls, anywhere but at you during sex, bad sign. But if they begin reading the day’s mail or filling in crosswords forget it, it’s over.

You can combine the listening clue with the sex clue. After sex, while still embracing use the words, “I love you.” If he or she replies, “that’s good” bad sign, if they have already rolled over and went to sleep, that’s worse. If they jump up put on The Beautiful South at full volume and then start ranting about love having no meaning in the modern society, “look at Brad and Jennifer“, then forget about subtle signs.

Of course all of these signs do not necessarily mean the relationship is over, but they should give you a pretty good idea that something is wrong. The best way to deal with it is to break the signs down into a time scale. Have the signs all happened slowly over the last few months? If they have, the situation may not be irreparable. If they have all occurred within the space of the last 24 hours then your future together does look shaky to say the least. If you come home and find your home emptied of furniture, then the subtlety routine is over with.

And when it’s all over, try and be dignified, it ended for a reason. You may be sniffling into your bowl of tear soup with the hope that he or she is feeling the same way and one phone call or text message won’t hurt, but remember.

Remember when you ended relationships and were secretly glad that they were over, that may be how your partner is feeling right now. Plus they will probably be telling their friends about all the signs they gave you that the relationship was ending.
Sadly, you were just too dumb to pick up on them.


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About the Author:

Garry Crystal is a freelance writer living in the UK. His short stories and articles have appeared in print and online including Expats Post, The Andirondack Review, Turnrow Journal, Roadside Fiction and Orato. His first book Leaving London is available on Amazon and other retailers now. View My Profile

  • The last line made me laugh out for some reason.

    I found #2 to be the truest of all the reasons. My friend’s husband started making plans with his friends without telling her, planning “mancations” without her, and even got a vasectomy without consulting her. They got divorced a year later.

    So Mr. Crystal, are you speaking from some personal experience here? 😉

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  • Yep the last line relates to me directly. But who isn’t dense in their 20s…i’m probably just as dense now right enough.

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  • Cher Duncombe

    Garry, I find it so difficult to believe that any woman would let you go. Their loss, to be sure. The unintended consequence is that you have fabulous stories like this to share, and who among us cannot relate? Rather than looking at an end of a relationship, my hope for you is that you see new chapters beginning. And selfishly for your readers, we get so many more stories to voraciously read! 🙂

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    • Cher, they were pushing me out the door 🙂 I’m always looking for a new chapter but if there was a contents page first that would be a lot easier.

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