Love, care, support, respect, and joy are only some of the amazing ways healthy relationships enrich our lives. They give us that feeling of walking slightly above ground on a thin-but-firm layer of confidence that makes every step we take, even through trials and tribulations, secure, resolute, and easy.
Then, one day, you trip slightly. Another day, you find it a bit harder to overcome a daily hurdle. You talk to your partner, the response is there, yet it seems as if emanating from farther away than it used to. A thought crosses your mind, one of a widening gap between two once inseparable souls, only for it to be quickly erased by your subconscious.
And so, the gap widens, and the ravine deepens. The days of stumbles become more frequent, and the hurdles become more and more difficult to overcome. And that’s when it hits you – your partner is so far away you can hardly see them anymore, and the other relationship problems and their solutions fade in sheer awe of this gap. Don’t despair, this too can be fixed.
What Does It Mean To Grow Apart In A Relationship?
The simplest, as well as the most accurate way to describe two people in a relationship who are slowly becoming more and more distant is that they simply do not enjoy each other’s company as much as they did before. However, such a description fails to paint a clear picture of the emotional and psychological problems growing apart can cause for both partners.
Once upon a time, it would seem you could not get enough of each other. You wanted to spend every waking moment together, enjoying each other and shared activities. There were smiles all around, fun, excitement, love, and care. It’s almost impossible to identify when exactly you started to drift apart.
Perhaps it was that one time when you decided not to go out together. Or when you decided to watch that TV show at different times of day. Maybe work and daily responsibilities got in the way and your conflicting schedules made it too hard to find some quality time together. It could have been some of it, all of it, or none of it.
It’s important to know the reasons, even though the reasons may seem unimportant and trivial. What’s all-encompassing is the gaping hole between you two staring back from the abyss where once was togetherness. And that’s what hurts the most. That’s what growing apart is and what makes it so unimaginably difficult to cope with.
Is It Normal For Couples To Grow Apart?
Relationships are rarely ideal, as few or no things in life are. Unfortunately, we, as individuals, are flawed, and all of us come with our own emotional baggage that we introduce into our relationships. All this can affect our relationships in different ways and one of those ways is growing apart with our partner.
If you start to notice you and your significant other becoming more and more distant, the first reaction is emotional pain followed by doubt on whether or not you are destined to remain together.
Perhaps you’re thinking that the growing distance between you is a sign of your innate incompatibility. And that’s normal. Doubt is normal, pain because of your distance is normal, the emotional toll is real and the psychological consequences are difficult to bear.
It’s tough looking at your partner and simply not feeling the same connection you once did. It’s even more difficult knowing that your partner is feeling the same. Matters of the heart are hard, especially if there is a ravine where once was closeness.
On the one hand, you and your partner going through periods of less than complete togetherness is quite normal. As individuals, we experience different periods during our lives, and it’s only normal for our relationships to experience similar fluctuations over time.
On the other hand, allowing the gap between you and your partner to become larger by not addressing each other’s problems and not working together on resolving them can lead to more severe consequences that will only leave you farther apart than you would like.
What Are The Signs Of Growing Apart?
To be able to prevent the distance between you and your partner from growing means to be able to recognize the early signs of drifting apart and working on your relationship. Here are some common signs of couples slowly and surely distancing themselves from each other:
- You notice you and your partner pay less and less attention to each other.
- It’s better to spend time away from your partner than together.
- You’re struggling to maintain physical contact and intimacy.
- You’re starting to develop trust issues with your partner.
- Your emotional intimacy is also becoming a problem.
- You’ve started keeping secrets from each other.
- You spend less and less time communicating.
- You’re no longer each other’s best friend.
- It seems you are constantly disagreeing.
How Do You Fix A Relationship That’s Growing Apart?
As excruciating as it can feel to know you and your partner are growing apart, that doesn’t mean there’s no way to turn back to where you once were. “The way we were” can be the way you are once more, especially if you are honest, open up, and try some of the following:
- Take the first step and share your innermost feelings.
- Start spending more and more time together by making it a priority.
- Be spontaneous, do something unexpected and special together in addition to your attempt to ‘date” again.
- Engage in actual physical contact more often.
- The small things like “hellos” and “goodbyes” can go a long way.
- Don’t be afraid to reminisce about the “good old days”.
- Make each other a priority, not other things.
- Stop complaining and start praising instead.
- Try not to constantly argue and put each other down.
- Stop playing the blame game.
- Address your issues and work through them.
Join the PIVOT Private Couple Retreat For Reconnection to Resolve Your Problems
Growing apart, unaware of the gap forming between you and your partner, is one thing. However, becoming aware of the distance between you, identifying the ever-widening gorge forming between two people in a relationship is when it gets really tough. Realization brings pain, despair, and possibly guilt, as well as the underlying desire to bridge this gap.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Here, that first step is attempting to understand the reasons behind you and your partner growing apart. Are you experiencing different communication problems? Is there some type of emotional abuse present? Are you or your partner finding it hard to open up to each other?
Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re unable to admit what the reasons behind this distance are. Sometimes, being honest with yourself and your partner is far from easy. That is why PIVOT relationship advocates are here for you. By participating in our individual workshops, as well as being part of our group retreat for couples, we’ll help you find closeness with your partner again.