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Split-up Sign #1: You never get to hear that cute cell phone ring you downloaded just for him The Symptoms: You guys used to talk several times a week, but lately, the calls come less often. He says he's busy at work, but it just doesn't ring true. Just like your phone. What's Behind It: After the initial rush of crush endorphins, he's worried that he's become whipped. Regular check-ins are a sign, to him, that he's really getting committed, and the routine makes him feel trapped. Hence, his little phone rebellion. Salvage it: Become less available. Make cool plans, particularly ones that he'd find fun, and become tantalizingly busy. Once he sees that as an independent chickie, you're not going to entrap his free spirit, he should snap out of it. Scrap it: Allow your calls to slack off at exactly the same rate, until nobody is calling anybody. Voila: uncomfortable conversation averted. Wrong Tactic: Calling obsessively and hanging up on him. He may be immature, but he is capable of seeing right through that blocked number on his caller I.D.
Split-up Sign #2: Your sheets are distressingly un-mussed The Symptoms: There's been a negative change in your sex pattern - in other words, you're just not doing it as much. What's Behind It: There could be several reasons for the doin'-it decline: a health problem, maybe work woes. Or there could be a real issue at hand: he's tired of the same-old same-old, and his libido has taken a snooze. Salvage it: Give it a few weeks, to be sure there isn't some temporary trouble that has nothing to do with you. Then invite him over, and greet him at the door in a French maid outfit. With a feather duster. Scrap it: If weeks become months and the spark seems to have truly faded, the "we'd-be-better-friends-than-lovers" speech might actually work here -- and might even, for once, be true. Wrong Tactic: Asking about it directly. Men are fragile creatures, and a direct assault will surely scare the groundhog right back into his den. And a girl with her hands on her hips, nagging "Why won't you have sex with me?" ... Not alluring.
Split-up Sign #3: When it comes to making plans... he won't. The Symptoms: God forbid you buy tickets to anything -- you eat your heart out while he decides if he'll be able to make it, even with a healthy three-week lead time. What's Behind It: Making plans equals planning for the future. Planning for the future equals commitment. Commitment equals FEAR! Get it? Your guy might resist the nonrefundable package deal to New Orleans. Or he might get spooked each Saturday. It sorta depends on his personality. Salvage it: This is bad behavior, and there's only one way to tame it: Disappear. Give him one chance to get on board, and then make alternate plans -- ones he can't join in on. Yes, it stinks -- you have no boyfriend for, like, three weeks. But if he's worth keeping, he'll get the hint. Pronto. Scrap it: Then again, if he's not worth keeping -- this tactic will prove it, and you can move on without guilt. Hey, you gave him a chance to come along. Wrong Tactic: Trying to make rules and insisting that he come to Saturday game-night or suffer an hour-long tirade. Sheesh. Are you his girlfriend, or his mom?
Split-up Sign #4: He gives you the "I Need Space" speech The Symptoms: As symptoms go, this is a pretty obvious one -- he actually communicates a desire to not be around you as much. What's Behind It: This is often a panic-inducing situation, but it doesn't have to be. Yes, sometimes "space" is a euphemism for "buh-bye." But sometimes, it really does mean that he'd like to re-adjust the relationship so that a little absence can make his heart grow fonder. Salvage it: Give him space. As requested. Allowing him as much space as you can stand, while still making your presence known (with sporadic check-in e-mails, a card in the mail, a song dedicated on the radio), can make you absolutely adorable to him. Scrap it: If you suspect he's more of an astronaut than you can stand, trump his space request by saying you should see other people. And mean it. Wrong Tactic: Saying "No, you can't have space." That is guaranteed to backfire: instead of taking a little space now, he'll take all the space he needs -- by leaving the relationship.
Split-up Sign #5: As Sting nearly sang it, "Every little thing you do is un-magic" The Symptoms: The very things about you that he used to find cute, he now finds irritating -- and seems to be picking petty fights over everything you do. What's Behind It: This is more common than you'd think - and while it can mean he's tired of you, it more likely is a sign that likes you more than he wants to admit. And that you're spending too much time together, stirring your spoon in your coffee cup around ... and around ... and around.... Salvage it: Don't even play into his irritation. Give him a little breathing room - either let his comments roll off your back, or gracefully bow out every time he throws a fit over nothing. A little free time should let him know he's stepping out of bounds. Scrap it: If he's really indulging in some very bad manners, you're excused from politeness yourself. Take yourself out of an uncomfortable situation altogether-and don't return his calls. Wrong Tactic: Crying, apologizing, and changing when you clearly didn't actually do anything wrong. This just sets up a pattern that will only get worse as time goes on.
Split-up Sign #6: You just have that sick feeling in your gut The Symptoms: An intangible sense that things just aren't going right. What's Behind It: Well, it could be paranoia. Or you could be right. Unfortunately, computer technology has not developed enough for us to diagnose this one for you. Salvage it: Try a straightforward conversation. Remember that guys don't generally like those, so do it in a way that really sounds like friends talking, and make it clear that while you'd like to stay with him, you don't want to keep him in a situation that truly doesn't fit. Scrap it: If you've been having the same gut feeling about him, maybe you're both right. But in the absence of identifiable problems, you owe him the same conversation. Wrong Tactic: Committing a pre-emptive dump. If it turns out that you really were just being paranoid, and in fact he's preoccupied by a problem at work, you could end up being the worst kind of bad guy. As a result, he'll be so hurt he'll dump the next girl... and a new cycle of dumpages will be unleashed upon the world. You don't want to be responsible for romantic Armageddon. So as uncomfortable as it might be, you've got to do the right thing.