You never want to consider that your relationship will end because your partner will fall out of love with you and in love with someone else, but that's something that can, in fact, happen sometimes. If your partner tells you that they're leaving you because they're in love with someone else, you can understandably feel blind-sided, but there are some red flags that your partner could fall for someone else that you might not have even known to look out for, but that could have potentially indicated that everything wasn't going quite as well as you maybe thought that it was. Of course, recognizing some of these red flags before you're caught off-guard and left broken-hearted doesn't make things better and doesn't make any part of it any easier, but there can be something to be said for knowing.
If your partner seems to be in a mental place where they could potentially fall for someone else, attempting an open and honest conversation might help the situation. It doesn't necessarily mean that your relationship isn't a good or healthy relationship if it seems as though your partner is tempted to fall for someone else, either. "All relationships, even the best ones, can become vulnerable to someone from the outside," Lesli Doares, a communications coach, marriage expert, author, and radio host, tells Romper in an email exchange. If you see these red flags, addressing them and seeking outside help if necessary might help the two of you move on — either together or apart.
1. They Can't Stop Talking About Them
If your partner can't stop talking about another person, it could be a sign that they're a bit enamored with them. "This may be an extreme of compliments or negative comments," Rori Sassoon, a relationship expert and the CEO of matchmaking service Platinum Poire, tells Romper by email. "Anything to bring them up because this is something that people do when they like someone. They may even be asking your advice about what they should do about this person. Beware!"
2. They're Over-Indulging
If your partner seems to be binge-watching too much TV or drinking more or doing drugs, that could be a bad sign. Though it might not necessarily be a sign that they're in love with someone else (though it could, if these are things the other person does or enjoys) or going to cheat on you, Kat Haselkorn, a matchmaker at Three Day Rule, tells Romper in an email exchange that these kinds of unhealthy behaviors could signify that they're not ready for a serious, mature relationship.
3. They're Being Extra-Sweet For No Reason
Sassoon says that if your partner is making an extra effort in your relationship all of a sudden, it could be because they're feeling guilty. "This may show up as making you dinners, pampering you or making it up to you by putting more into your sex life," she adds. Though spontaneous gestures can be really nice, if it seems like this is a new pattern and you can't figure out what's going on, it could be that they're trying to compensate for something else.
4. Their Behavior Seems Out Of The Norm
It can be confusing if your partner suddenly throws themselves into new hobbies and activities or seems to embrace new interests, but it also could be a red flag that there's something else going on with them. "[I]f you notice any major changes in your partner's behavior, that's normally the first sign that something is off," Haselkorn says. "Taking up new hobbies, dramatically different work hours — these could be signs that your significant other is interested in someone else."
Not only that, but it could be that these are activities that are allowing them to form connections with other people. You don't want to be the only person in their life — friends, professional contacts, and the like are all important — and you don't want them to feel as though the two of you have to be together at all times either, but it's also possible that these new activities show them how much they have in common with other people who aren't you. "This can lead to your partner comparing the relationships and finding the one with you lacking," Doares says. "Because the other one is 'new,' yours can pale by comparison because yours is old enough for some of the 'perfect' to have faded."
5. They Seem Overly Critical Lately
If your partner seems to be criticizing you more frequently than they used to or are pointing out your flaws, it could be because they're comparing you with someone else, Sassoon says. "They may be trying to rationalize why they would need to date someone else by devaluing you or pointing out what is missing with you," she adds. "Really, they are not fully happy or fulfilled with themselves, and they are looking for someone else to complete them." Seriously belittling you isn't OK, however, and you shouldn't have to just tolerate that.
6. They Seem Unhappy
"Dissatisfaction in one area can bleed over into other areas," Doares says. "Some times it’s easier to focus on what you aren’t providing than deal with the issue at hand. On the flip side, wanting to change one aspect can lead to an entire do-over, including your relationship. Both of these options can leave them vulnerable to an outsider." An honest conversation, working with a couples counselor, or encouraging them to seek individual therapy might help ease some of this dissatisfaction before it has a serious effect.
7. They've Made A Sudden Change In Appearance
Of course, people are entitled to change up their hairstyle or color, dress however they please, or decide to eat healthier, just as they're entitled to pick up a new hobby, but sometimes this can be a sign of a problem in your relationship that you didn't even realize was there. Sassoon says that when your partner is suddenly more focused on looking a certain way, especially if it's when they're going to see a certain person, that could be a red flag that they could actually be in a mental place where they could fall for someone else.
"Dealing with these challenges can be tough because you rightly might be confused, hurt, or both," Doares says. "The natural reaction is to go at them head on but that rarely works. The first step is to get clear on what is actually happening without applying meaning." Then, staying calm and speaking honestly and non-judgmentally are essential. And if you and your partner can't seem to work through what's going on or communicate effectively on your own, a therapist or counselor might be able to help.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.