Though breakups sometimes feel like they're a bit out of the blue, oftentimes there are some signs that can give you a hint that your partner might not actually think your relationship will last long-term. And it's worth knowing what some of those clues that they may be sending you might be. Some of them might be super sneaky, while others really aren't so subtle. There are some things your partner only says if they don't think your relationship will last that can tell you that it's time to have a more serious and direct conversation about what sort of future — if any — the two of you may have.
"Someone who cares about you and sees the relationship as long term will be more open to having discussions," Erin Parisi, LMHC, CAP, a licensed mental health counselor, tells Romper by email. "Someone who’s just interested in dating until something better comes along may not bother to have the conversation, or might make jokes and laugh it off, or tell you what you want to hear before quickly changing the subject."
If these sorts of remarks are frequent parts of your conversations with your partner, it could mean that they're not as invested as you might think.
1. "Let's Focus On Right Now."
If your partner wants to focus on what's going on currently in your relationship instead of talking about what your life together might look like, that's a sign that they might think that things aren't going to last. "If you are committed to each other right now, but are having trouble talking about the future and where your relationship is headed, couple’s counseling can be a safe place to talk about these relationship issues and help you both process where you are now and where you would like to be in the future as a couple," Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Romper by email.
2. "Who Knows Where We'll Be?"
Again, with a comment like this one, your partner is basically telling you that they're unsure about things. "This might mean avoiding talking about or making jokes about getting married or having kids, they might make excuses to keep from booking a vacation with you, or committing to anything more than a couple of months down the road," Parisi says. Particularly if they use this line in response to you wanting to do something pretty low-risk, like buying concert or sporting event tickets, you might want to reflect more on why they can't seem to commit.
3. "This Is My Friend, So-And-So."
When you meet people for the first time and you're not quite serious yet, it might be totally fine for your partner to introduce you as a friend, but if the two of you are definitely in a serious relationship, this could be a bit of a red flag. "If you’re at the point in the relationship where you’ve already established titles, and your partner isn’t introducing you that way, that might be to keep the options open," Parisi explains.
4. "I'm Not The Marrying Type."
If you're together for awhile, you might start to talk about marriage, either specifically or in a more abstract way. Marriage isn't for everyone, but if your partner says that they aren't into marriage, particularly if that's something that you want, that might mean that they don't think the two of you will be together long-term.
"These statements speak volumes," Fran Greene, LCSWR, a flirting, dating, and relationship coach, and the author of The Secret Rules of Flirting and Dating Again with Courage and Confidence, tells Romper by email. "They are all ways to let you know that as good as the relationship is, the future is looking very unlikely. Making excuses is just that! It says loud and clear that you are not a priority and that the two of you are not going to be together for the long haul. When a relationship has potential, we do everything to make it work."
5. "That Person's So My Next Partner."
"Yes, just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you no longer notice other attractive people, but how does your partner communicate that," Parisi says. "That kind of discussion is mean and hurtful, whether or not they say they’re joking."
If your partner talks about their next partner, that can be a pretty clear sign that they think your relationship will end at some point.
6. "I Can't/Am Not Ready For..."
Whether it's meeting your friends and family, having you meet theirs, moving in together, getting married, having kids, or something else entirely, if your partner says that they're not ready or can't do something, it could potentially be a way for them to express that they're not sure you have a future together. Getting invested in each other's lives is commitment and if they have doubts about whether or not you'll make it, they might not want to take that leap.
"There’s always an excuse," Parisi says. "Someone who’s in it is going to put some effort in. When they always have 'no money,' are 'really busy at work,' 'don’t feel good,' 'isn’t my thing,' 'just want you all to myself,' 'my ex used to pressure me all the time so I had to take a step back,' and 'can’t we just enjoy what we have now?' There’s a common theme. It’s all about them."
7. "I Wish You Weren't So Much Like My Ex."
If your partner says something like this, that too could be an indicator that they don't think your relationship will last. After all, it didn't with their ex.
"Staying with someone who does not want a future with you is not good for you or your partner," Greene says. "If finding a mate is your goal don’t waste your time with someone who does not want you totally and completely."
Ultimately, it can be difficult, sometimes, to tell if what your partner is saying means that they're having doubts about your future, but looking at how they're acting can confirm or contradict things. "No one thing is enough to decide that your partner doesn’t think your relationship will last," Parisi says. "How does what your partner says match up with what they do? How do they respond when you express a concern about what they’ve said or tell them your feelings are hurt?"
Having an honest conversation with them is the best way to get to the bottom of things. It can be scary, but once you know what's going on, you'll end up being better off.