How Do You Know When A Relationship Is Over?

couple with their back to each other

Before COVID-19, your partner and you were together constantly or using FaceTime daily and saying things like, “I love you” and “I want to spend time with you.”

Now, all of a sudden, you can’t see your partner anymore because of the quarantine. In the beginning, you may have thought, “I’m sure the quarantine will only last a few weeks”; however, now, it’s been 10 weeks, and you are noticing some changes in your relationship. Sometimes, it’s difficult to understand how to interpret them or what to think.  

Now you're questioning your relationship.

  • Are you wondering if your relationship will make it?
  • Are you wondering how much effort you should put into the relationship because you are unsure if he wants to see you?
  • Do you wonder what he’s thinking, but you’re worried to ask him?

These questions are important to ask yourself as you think about what direction your relationship is headed. Also, it would be preferable, if you would discuss them with your partner. But, without those options, here's a few ideas to explore what's going on.

Excuses Or Is It Something Else?

Many times, I hear my clients rationalize and come up with all sorts of excuses for why their partner is not creating a secure relationship. As a therapist, I understand it’s hard to say “goodbye”, but sometimes we need to realize that this relationship has ended or he is not interested in pursuing it the same way that you are.

Here Are My 6 Tell-Tale Signs Your Relationship Is Over:

  • He’s not returning your texts.
  • He’s not answering your calls.
  • He’s blocked your number.
  • You know he’s spending time with another woman and he’s telling you they are just friends. And to make matters worse, he won’t come to see you because he’s scared to get COVID-19.
  • He never seems to have time to talk because he’s so busy.
  • He contacts you and says that he is sorry he didn’t call for 2 weeks, but he lost his phone.

If any of these things are happening in your relationship, it's important to recognize that it’s time to move on. That said, sometimes people are less than clear in their intention. Mixed signals can lead to false hope. No one wants to stay too long in a bad relationship, but if you're conflicted, it's worth exploring if there something deeper going on that isn't about the health of your relationship.  One tip to consider is how did you communicate before the quarantine? For example, if you texted your partner and he would only respond with one-word answers then for him, this behavior is normal and not a sign of a problem.  However, if you used to have lengthy and deep conversations over text, then it’s a sign that something has changed.  

The other consideration is that COVID-19 has awakened something inside of you and you want more from your partner. That's also not uncommon. If this is the case, then it's a sign it's time you two need to talk at a deeper level. You can set this up by asking him if you can have a talk. Focus your discussion on your own feelings and what you want. Ask your partner if anything has changed for him and what he's thinking about your relationship.  If you feel ready, you can also ask about the future to explore if you have the same vision for your relationship or if there are signs that you're mismatched. 

If he won’t have a conversation with you, this is the biggest sign of all that you need to make a decision about how you want to proceed with this situation.

Crisis Mindset

During a quarantine or crisis in general, some people shut down and have difficulty staying connected to others. Yet others crave connection and want to talk a lot during hard times. If you are not sure how your partner reacts to situations like this, you might want to address how he’s feeling and what he needs. You are part of this relationship and your wants, needs and feelings need to be considered too.

Eventually, it will become clear if the relationship is over. That said, along the way, there are signs that you can become aware of that will clue you in as to whether your relationship will make it or not. I would encourage you to ponder (but be cautious not to overanalyze your partner) what's happened over weeks.  Did he show the signs that things were truly over? Or is this the impetus you need to bring up your concerns?  Perhaps the sign to you is to manage your own worries because they are not founded in your current partner's behavior. If this is the case, likely someone or something from your own past is causing you to worry about the relationship.  And as always, if you feel trapped or in crisis yourself, ask for help.  You're not alone in your fears about the future. COVID-19 has rocked us all to the core. If I can help, please reach out.

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Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC, is a Certified Gottman Therapist in Baltimore, MD. She helps couples on the brink of breakup to repair unresolved issues, increase their intimacy, and navigate the future. If your relationship is in crisis, reach out to Lisa today.