37 Subtle Signs a Relationship Is Over (That Most People Fail to Recognize)

Published by
Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)

It’s easy to spot the obvious signs a relationship is over, but what about subtle signs?

Unless something drastic happens like an affair or abuse, people don’t just walk away suddenly, there’s usually a gradual decline in both physical and emotional intimacy.

In this article, I want to examine the subtle signs that show a relationship has finished.

37 Subtle Signs a Relationship Is Over

  1. Something important happens and they’re not the first person you think of telling.
  2. They’ve become a neutral person to you. They are present in your life but add nothing to it.
  3. Spending time with them feels like a chore.
  4. You don’t look forward to seeing them.
  5. You stay late at work because it’s better than going home.
  6. You’ve stopped arguing or disagreeing on stuff; not because there’s no problem, but because you don’t care anymore.
  7. Their car pulls into the driveway, and instead of feeling happy, your reaction is, “Great, they’re home.”
  8. You used to reply to their texts or calls immediately. Now, you take your time, or ignore them.
  9. You’re more in love with memories of the relationship, rather than the person you’re in the relationship with.
  10. You can never seem to agree on plans for the future.
  11. You feel like you have ‘settled’ for this relationship.
  12. You can’t imagine spending the rest of your life with this person.
  13. Everything has become a habit.
  14. You feel lonely when you are with them.
  15. You find excuses not to spend time with them.
  16. You don’t like how they smell anymore.
  17. You don’t touch each other like you used to.
  18. Seeing them triggers an awful feeling in the pit of your stomach.
  19. You fantasize about being single or dating other people.
  20. Your dreams and aspirations are poles apart.
  21. You’re just waiting for something better.
  22. You don’t feel you are a couple anymore. You’re more like roommates.
  23. Being with them is exhausting.
  24. You don’t share the same values anymore.
  25. You smile and laugh at things on your phone, but not with them.
  26. You don’t even bother asking them how their day was.
  27. You suspect they might be cheating, but you don’t care.
  28. Your partner keeps trying to change you.
  29. You look forward to when you’re not with them.
  30. Leaving is challenging after such a long time together.
  31. Your mood drops when you’re with them, but not with everyone else.
  32. The little quirks that you once found cute are now intensely irritating.
  33. You don’t introduce them as your significant other anymore.
  34. You no longer talk to them about your goals.
  35. You haven’t laughed together for ages.
  36. You don’t respect their opinion anymore.
  37. You don’t miss them when they’re not there.

If you recognize any of the signs a relationship is over, what you do next depends on whether you want to salvage it.

Do You Want to Save the Relationship?

1. Ask yourself why you want to stay in this relationship

Do you want to stay with this person, or are you afraid of being alone? Is this person truly your soulmate or someone you have got into the habit of staying with? Starting out on your own is traumatizing.

I left my ex-partner after 10 years with nothing but a food blender. I know how easy it is to get into the habit of being in a relationship. But we weren’t compatible by that time. The best thing I ever did was to leave that controlling-coercive SOB.

2. How would you feel if they died?

If you’ve spotted any of the signs a relationship is over and want to know the ultimate test of whether you should stay, imagine how you’d feel if they suddenly died. I find it puts everything into perspective. It may seem drastic, or silly, but I’ll tell you why I do it.

My best friend of 40 years died suddenly a few years ago. He was a little OCD, and I could be impatient with him. Then he died unexpectedly in a motorbike hit-and-run accident. Sometimes it takes something drastic for us to realize how much someone means to us.

3. If it’s worth staying, what went wrong?

Relationships can lose their spark after a while. But if you feel there’s something worth saving, think about why you both fell out of love. If it’s something drastic like cheating, then trust has to be rebuilt. However, if it was a gradual growing apart, then there are things you can do.

Perhaps you are taking your partner for granted. Listing their strengths or what attracted you to them in the first place might be enough to rekindle that initial attraction.

4. Rediscover your partner

Boredom can erode the strongest relationship bonds. Humans like repetition, but that means it’s easy to fall into a rut.

Try doing new things with your partner. Put down your smartphones and go out. Reestablish that connection you once had. Engage with your partner.

It could be a regular date night or starting a new exercise regime. Where have you always wanted to visit but never had the time? Work out a schedule for city breaks or day trips.

5. Look out for repeated negative behaviors

Sometimes we repeat the same patterns of behavior without knowing it. It could be body language; for example, the way you fold your arms across your chest when you are arguing, the language you use, rolling your eyes or sighing when your partner asks for something.

Watch out for this behavior and stop it before it spirals.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are ending it or your partner, it’s distressing to see signs your relationship is beyond repair. Spotting the subtle signs a relationship is over can help salvage it before it’s too late, or confirm what you already know.


  4. Featured image by freepik
Published by
Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)