Ever wonder if your man is secretly hoping to end your relationship? Kate Taylor, relationship expert at match.com, reveals the clues you’re about to lose him – and how to get things back on the right track
1. Critical conditions
The Everly Brothers nailed it – ‘starting to criticise little things’ you do is the most common sign your man has lost that lovin’ feeling. When you find yourself berated for everything, from the way you chew your food through to your choice of career, take notice. This behaviour has been identified by psychologists as, ‘building a case against the partner you want to leave’, and is often a way of removing guilt (for example, if your man has found someone else).
Block his exit: Instead of apologising, bite back with a sassy, funny reply. ‘Forgive me, O Great One,’ and go about your life as you like. This show of self-confidence will re-ignite his respect for you.
2. The ‘eye-narrow’
Ex FBI-interrogator Joe Navarro has written many books on body language, and has identified that when we look at something that arouses uncomfortable feelings in us – like guilt, or displeasure, or upset – we unconsciously narrow our eyes. Next time your partner greets you, look at his eyes: if he seems to squint, pay attention. But if he greets you with raised eyebrows and dilated pupils, chill – they’re universal signs he’s seen something he likes.
Block his exit: Disarm him by asking if there’s anything he’d like to talk about. Squinting eyes are a sign of repressed feelings – encourage him to open up.
3. His feet face the door
Again according to Navarro, our feet are the most honest part of our bodies. From childhood, we’ve been taught to ‘put on a happy face’ about things, but we don’t consciously control our feet. When you’re with your man, see where his feet are facing because that’s a sign of where he wants to go. If they’re towards you – awesome! But if they’re pointing out of the door, be prepared for the rest of him to follow.
Block his exit: If your man’s toes want space, give it to them. Back away for a week and keep yourself busy with your own fun life. A little distance might be all it takes to get him walking back your way.
4. He starts breaking dates
When a man cancels plans with you, pay attention. Barring emergencies – his mum’s ill, he’s in hospital or his favourite team are playing at home – his number one place to be should be by your side. If he begins to avoid opportunities to get together, it’s a sign he’d rather be somewhere else.
Block his exit: Never nag him if he cancels a plan, because then he’ll feel more justified for doing it. Instead, express sadness and then go about your life. Avoid clingy texts. If he cancels two dates in succession, pull back for a week.
5. He changes his pattern
If your man doesn’t text you for a day, it’s no big deal. But if he has always texted you every day then suddenly stops, sit up. Any violent change in pattern could signal something’s changed in his heart, too. Do take into account what else is going on in his world (women often forget this) – is his work hectic, his home-life disrupted? If so, relax. But if there seems to be no reason, pay attention.
Block his exit: Keep your interactions with him light and fun. Don’t initiate! If he’s weighing up whether or not he wants to be your man, give him space to do it. Don’t trust your instincts to bridge the gap.
6. He avoids intimacy
He stays up later than you do, doesn’t sleep over, or offers his cheek to be kissed rather than his mouth. Oops. When a man’s sex drive diminishes, it’s a signal his feelings are flaccid. Another sign: when he cuddles you, he pats you on the back. This is a body-language giveaway that always means, ‘I want this hug to end now.’
Block his exit: Never, ever nag. Pretend you haven’t noticed the lack of passion, and just watch him for other signals listed here. If he has two or more of them, realise he’s drifting away. Sit him down for the Talk.
7. His friends seem uncomfortable around you
When his friends go from welcoming to distant, it means they feel uncomfortable – usually because your man has told them he’s unhappy with you. They won’t speak out, but they’ll back away from you out of mixed loyalties and a terror you’ll ask them why your man seems so miserable lately.
Block his exit: Realise anything you say to his friends will get reported back to him, so don’t interrogate them about your bloke. Instead, try to relax and have fun like normal. Even if it doesn’t stop him leaving, it will ensure his friends all beg him to take you back.