How to anticipate being dumped

Jul 17, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. ET

It was the summer of 2005 and I was about to become a bleary, tearful mess. Out of nowhere one hot, July afternoon, my boyfriend of 10 months breaks the news that he has decided we should see other people. I was dumbfounded. Not only did I not see it coming, I had thought that our relationship was going so well. Looking back, however, all of the classic break-up signs were there.

Relationship Troubles

Sign #1: Suddenly becoming very busy

When my boyfriend started spending every weekend at the office instead of with me, I should have seen the bright, red flag waving ahead. Instead, I spent time catching up on emails and my reading list -- not wanting to seem like one of those needy, omnipresent girlfriends who had no life of her own. While being glued to the hip is usually a sign of codependency and not love, if you and your honey aren't spending enough quality time one-on-one, it's a telltale signal, no matter how reasonable his excuses may be. Likewise, being unavailable or forgetting to call are also clear indications that his priorities have changed and you and the relationship are further down his list than before.

Sign #2: Nitpicking and fights

"My ex-boyfriend constantly criticized me: my body, my choice of movies, the way I chewed my food. It was like everything I did was wrong," says Ashley, 26, of Manhattan. Whether because of guilt or an irrational fear of seeing you bawl, men have a tendency to avoid direct confrontation when it comes to saying goodbye. By criticizing you and picking a fight, he may be hoping that you will save him from having to pull the trigger by breaking-up with him first.

Sign #3: It's in his kiss

"My boyfriend and I had been dating for six months when he suddenly lost interest in doing the horizontal disco with me. I wondered if he was gay, depressed or simply not attracted to me anymore," recounts blogger Twanna Hines of Funkybrownchick.com. "When I questioned him about it, he reminded me he never pressured me for sex. He didn't have to; I always wanted to sleep with him!" Although relationships are never as steamy as they are at the onset and it's expected that your sex drives will slow, if the bedroom action has come to a screeching halt, something is probably amiss. So what to do? Although it seems logical to want to confront him and talk it out, don't. It's a rare man that actually enjoys talking about personal matters and most likely accusations will fly and feelings will be hurt. And if what you have is worth saving at all, you will have done yourself a disservice by giving him more reasons to solidify his desire to leave. Instead, win him back by revving up your affections and playing the role of the Girlfriend of His Dreams. It's a strategic tactic that could save your love from becoming another summer relationship meltdown story.

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