We’ve all gotten that awkward phone call from a close friend (that usually comes at an inconvenient hour of the night) telling you, in rather panicky voice, that they just got dumped.
This is generally followed by a stammering rant about how ‘out of the blue’ the whole thing was, and how “things were going SO great before”…
Now, if there is one important lesson I have learned in life, it is that things are never just “out of the blue”.
We are all human, and as such, we are predictable. I don’t mean this in a mundane, condescending sort of way, but rather that most of our actions follow some sort of pattern. We are indeed creatures of habit, and even those people we classify as ‘unpredictable’ are predictably unpredictable.
So now that I’ve given a long convoluted introduction, let me explain.
Most people won’t just get up in the morning and decide to break off a relationship. There are signs, hints, changes in behavior; all of which, unfortunately, we tend to purposefully ignore — either that, or we are not paying enough attention to the other person.
I don’t for a second underestimate how strong denial/faith can be. I’m just saying that we can, and need, to train ourselves to be more perceptive of what’s going on in our relationships.
Rules for Paying Attention:
1. There are always signs.
I really wanted to emphasize that, because when you know someone well enough, you should be able to tell when somethings is wrong or has changed.
Their tone of voice, the amount of times they call or text you, how much sex you’re having. Some of these changes occur naturally with time, some are caused by stress or other factors.
You don’t need to over-analyze every tiny, little, minute shift in the relationship, but most of us don’t pay enough attention to these things — or to each other.
2. Be more attentive (also, to the little things).
Changes in someone’s behavior might not mean they are about to dump you but they may very well indicate that something else is wrong (with work/family/their pet), and they probably need support, someone to talk to, or just the understanding that they are going through a rough time.
Just like we make time for work, the gym and our friends/family, It’s important to make time for just the two of you to talk, catch up, and stay in touch with what’s going on in each other’s lives.
Otherwise, you are likely to miss things.
3. If you do think something is wrong, don’t sit around and wait for the other person to bring it up(or worse yet, ignore it).
It may be terrifying, but you need to bring it up. This is not a conversation you want to have hanging over your head. If your partner is unhappy, it’s better to ask, than spend the whole time worried sick that they are about to dump you.