Growing apart can be painful, but it can also open the door to new depths in your relationship.
“I’m just about ready to leave my husband. Over the last few years, I feel as if I’ve truly been coming into my own. I’m learning myself and growing as a person and in my career. I’m starting to feel as if I’ve outgrown him and frankly I’m sick of limiting myself because he’s not willing to expand. I’m becoming a better person and he’s just staying the same. I think I’m done with this marriage. Am I crazy? Can anyone give me some advice?”
That was the first thought that went through my mind as I finished reading the three-paragraph-long rant that this woman, in her frustration, had posted in a Facebook Group for female entrepreneurs. It was ironic. I’d just had this same conversation with a client, although in that case, her man had outgrown her.
I watched in shock as woman after woman hopped onto the thread telling this torn and confused wife that she should leave her husband.
“You don’t need him It’s time to move on.”
“I just got divorced for the same reason and it was the best thing I ever did. Don’t waste your time with a loser.”
Sure. There were the occasional “See if you can work things out” quotes scattered here and there. But the overwhelming majority already had her in divorce court.
This is a defining moment in your life. It can lead to severing ties, or it can lead you toward growing more deeply in love.
I gracefully forfeited my opinion. The story of a marriage is a constant accumulation of chapters. You can’t just come in at the end of the book and throw out your synopsis. However, the whole scenario does beg the question, “What exactly should you do when you know you’re growing apart?” Because you won’t stay the same forever. Yet change inevitably leads to challenge, and that’s when things get tough.
One thing I do understand is when you work so hard on improving yourself, it’s difficult to be around someone who’s content with being mediocre. It’s like stepping off the elevator into a high-rise while your honey is lost in the lobby.
So what is a guy or gal to do in this precarious situation? It’s definitely not searching for answers in places where people who don’t know you will tell you what you want hear. This is a defining moment in your life. It can lead to severing ties, or it can lead you toward growing more deeply in love. This is what you can do.
1. Understand that growing apart does not have to be a bad thing. Relationships go through cycles and there will be certain points in which the two of you seem to not be on the same page, or even in the same book. But growing apart doesn’t necessarily mean cheating, or lying or drawing away from your significant other. It’s a time of personal revelation and learning to grow within. Sometimes being a unit for so long makes you forget how to just be you. That’s something neither you nor your spouse should ever be content to lose.
2. Try to see it from their point of view. On the flip side of this equation is the person who’s feeling disconnected, and wondering what it is they did wrong to make you pull away. Have a conversation with them and don’t be afraid to show your hand. Let them know what you’re feeling and going through. Try to get them to meet you halfway. Encourage them to reconnect with their own individuality, so you can share your discoveries together.
3. Cultivate a state of mindfulness. Try to be aware of your feelings, your energy and the words you say, and how they may be affecting your partner. Are you holding the past against them, and making it difficult for them to move on? Try not to be judgmental. Commit to removing your ego from the game, and just living in the moment. You might even realize you’re confusing self-growth with a surge of self-conceit. Come on. We all struggle with something. As a matter of fact, I’m betting your search for self-actualization occurred in the aftermath of your own struggle.
4. Finally, after all of your observation, consult with your intuition. Not when you’re mad, sad or angry, but in your moments of quiet. Be still and see what you feel, and allow that force to guide you. Can you both continue to progress as individuals within this marriage, or do you feel it’s reached its end?
Growing apart can be difficult to get through. But it may present itself as an opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper and more passionate level. You see, pain often precludes passion, and inviting depth into your love life will also invite some drama. Yet, if you can sustain your relationship through that drama and pain, you can create something awesome; something stronger and more exciting than either of you ever imagined.
And if your good thing has come to an end—as good things seem to frequently do—just think of it as the next stirring chapter in the sensational story of your life.
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