There have only been one or two endings in my life that have totally blindsided me. But for the most part, I can feel them coming.
Assuming infidelity and abuse are out of the picture, the red flags typically begin with body language, something I've always paid excruciating attention to since I was a little girl.
It starts with wandering eyes, shorter kisses, one-armed hugs. Little to no eye contact during intimacy. Less intimacy. A broadening lack of empathy when someone's venting.
When you're out at a restaurant, you're more focused on the food or the people around you than each other's company. You start to feel the need to have some kind of activity planned to spend time together.
Silences stop feeling as comfortable as they once felt and you no longer feel it's appropriate to ask for favors. Pushing buttons even in a fun, flirty teasing manner seems to add to the tension.
The laughter kind of stops, too. You begin to overthink before you speak and second-guess each word, leading to inauthentic exchanges.
And then there's the realization that the elephant in the room has been around for too long. And neither of you have felt confident enough, or maybe even cared enough, to address it. To me, this is the most painful part.
Maybe someone finds the courage to finally speak up and risk a little pride and pain to save a once-good thing. Maybe someone actually manages to reignite a dying flame. Maybe not.
But the truth is, final chapters often end without a proper ending and without a fight. And that's a shame.
The #100daychallenge writing series is my way of holding my right brain accountable for all the brain fog in hopes that I'll learn to creatively organize my thoughts and learn something(s) new about myself in the process. The challenge includes prompts from the San Francisco Writers' Grotto's642 Things to Write About. You can also follow my #100daychallenge here.