We are growing apart

Signs You're Growing Apart From Someone in Your Relationship

  • Though the signs of distance being created between you and your partner aren't always noticeable, there are plenty of things you should look out for. 
  • Choosing to lean on someone else instead of your partner is a telltale sign that things are on their way downhill. 
  • Likewise, if your talks or thoughts of the future no longer include them, it may be time to call it quits. 
  • Visit INSIDER's homepage for more stories.
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Being in a healthy, long-term relationship can be beneficial for everyone involved. It can create a healthy mental state, build self-esteem, and make you a more positive person. Unfortunately for some though, those feelings can begin to diminish and the fight to keep your relationship going can become harder than ever. 

Although you may not want to admit that things are falling apart in your relationship, when it gets to the point where you are having more unhappy times than happy ones, you may need to come to the realization that you and your partner are growing apart.

INSIDER asked experts for their tell-tale signs you're growing apart. 

You choose to share your news with other people instead of your partner

It's very common to run to your partner as soon as you have some important news to share. Whether it's a raise at work or devastating news about your family, there's no one other than your partner that you would typically run to first. If this has started to change, however, Rori Sassoon — relationship expert, co-owner of the upscale matchmaking agency Platinum Poire and frequent dating expert on "The Real Housewives of New York" — told INSIDER that you are most likely growing apart from one another.  

"One red flag that you are growing apart is when something good (or bad) happens to you, and you don't want to tell your partner first," she said. "You have other people you would rather share with first and they are no longer your closest person."

You no longer want to spend free time with your partner

Dreams of a vacation or getting to leave work early usually mean that you are on your way to spending some extra time with your spouse. Though some of those times you may choose to go on a trip with friends or even take some well-needed time for yourself, if you have no desire to spend any of your free time with your partner, it may be time to call it quits. 

"You'll know that you're growing apart when you have an opportunity to take a vacation or you get some extra free time off from work and your S.O. is not the person that you want to spend your time with," Sassoon said. "Your partner should be the person you want to relax and vacay with — not the person that you need a vacation from. "

Thoughts of spending life with them are not as strong as they were before

Making the choice to be with someone is usually because you see a future with them. And in most cases, it's something that is lifelong. When you start to think of your future and your partner no longer has a place in it though, you may be growing apart. 

If you don't feel the need to loop them in, it could be a bad sign. iStock

"Another huge sign that you are growing apart is when you think of investing in your future and you are uncomfortable moving forward with your partner. Especially when it comes to long-term goals," she said. "An example of this is if you know you may want another baby or to invest in a home, but don't see yourself doing it with them."

There is no physical touch between the two of you

Intimacy with your partner is not all about sex. Sometimes it means just being able to lay together, rub one another's back or feet, or even just holding hands. According to psychotherapist and founder of Trillium Counseling Devon Jorge, MSW, RSW though, once it's gotten to the point that this has stopped, your relationship may be at its end. 

"If we start to find holding our partner's hand, pecks on the lips, hugging, having our partner see us naked, or sleeping in the same bed make us uncomfortable, these are all signs that there is an unspoken distance in the relationship," she said. "These rather simple and yet intimate actions make us feel awkward or feel weird and foreign and could mean that you need to take a deeper look at your relationship."

You've given up on having those 'hard' talks

At any stage of a relationship, building up the courage to have difficult conversations with your partner can be a task. Though it may be hard to accomplish, the important thing is that it gets done and usually, your relationship benefits from it. If you've gotten to the point where you've found having those "hard" talks pointless, Jorge said that it is probably because the space between you and your partner is growing. 

"Avoiding difficult relationship issue altogether or having them become explosive to the point you can't talk about them anymore should be a red flag in any relationship," she told INSIDER. "Either way, if the difficult issue goes unaddressed, it essentially creates a sore spot of resentment in the relationship that continues to create more frustration and exhaustion. This can add fire to other fights or again cause withdrawing from talking to our partner all together creating opportunities to distance yourself. Successful couples don't avoid the hard discussions and they don't fight their way through them either. They talk about them in a way that creates closeness."

If you don't even want to try, that's an issue. Flickr/Joshua Ganderson

Likewise, you've stopped having discussions in general 

Avoiding the hard talks may not be enough to prove that you are growing apart from your partner, but the elimination of the easy and simple conversations should be. 

"While this first one is the most obvious one, it's also the most important," Jorge revealed. "When we say "stop talking," we don't just mean that all communication has completely ended — which is also a sign. We are also concerned that partners become so disconnected from one another that they almost don't know one another anymore. These couples are not aware of what stresses or worries their partner currently has, of their goals or dreams or about what their partner is most excited about. They start to lose touch with who their partner is and what's going on in their life. "

There's a sense of loneliness even when the two of you are together

When spending time with your partner, it's supposed to feel as if time stands still. That no matter how long you watch a show, how hard you laugh, or how much you eat, time doesn't even exist. Even if you're just sitting in silence, it still feels as if you're joined at the hip. If your relationship has gotten to the point that all you feel is loneliness — even if you've been with your partner all day — there may be distance between you two. 

"It can be very painful for partners when they feel alone — even when they are with their partner," Jorge said. "When it starts to feel like your partner is more interested in their phone or the T.V. over you, this is a significant indicator that you are feeling lonely in this relationship and is a sign of growing apart."

There's a lack of eye contact

It may sound a little extreme to some, but according to Three Day Rule's Chicago office professional matchmaker Yvette Walton, if you're lacking eye contact with your partner, there may be trouble in your former paradise.

"Women have told me that when a relationship is becoming distant, eye contact decreases a lot," she told INSIDER. "When we build relationships, we look at each other, we listen, and we read each other's body language. In contrast, the exact opposite happens when we are growing apart. Maybe you notice they are on their phone a lot more, or they are more focused on the TV than you, or —  quite simply — they avoid eye contact. This could be a symptom of having a bad day and needing some 'me time' to relax, but if you notice this happening over a prolonged period of time, it could indicate the relationship is becoming distant."

Your interests have significantly changed

In relationships, many people share similar interests with their partner. Whether it be personal or professional, there is something that they share that keeps them together and pushing forward in the relationship. Once that's started to change though, it may be hard to stay connected to your partner.  

"Relationships that I have observed often start to drift apart when individual life goals change," Walton said to INSIDER. "One person may be focused on their career, travel, or education while the other person may be happy and content with life just as it is. It's very common and natural for our life goals to change through the years. When working with my clients, I like to describe a relationship as two cars side by side on the open road. When they work together and stay in parallel to each other, yes, they may feel bumps in the road, but they will also enjoy the sights, and experience the journey together. When one person decides to take a different route and stop working in parallel, however, the distance between them will grow quickly."

You find any and every little reason to start an argument 

It doesn't matter how long you and your partner have been together, there will be moments where arguments happen.  But when you've gotten to the point where you're arguing for essentially no reason, however, you may need to consider whether or not your relationship is meant to be.  

"Both men and women have told me that when they are growing apart from their partner, they argue with them about anything," said Walton. "the tiniest things that you wouldn't usually care about, all of sudden become so important. This might be your subconscious trying to make it easier for you down the line if you do decide to go your separate ways (we all know it's a lot easier to break up with someone who is mean to us). Either way, arguments, friction, and unhealthy tension may all indicate that the relationship is growing apart. Managing conflict in a healthy way is a perfectly normal part of every relationship, it is just important to differentiate from conflict you are willing to work through vs. a sign that things might not be the right fit." 

How To Stop Growing Apart?

Posted on by Lori Jean Glass

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. 

Drama Now We're Breaking Up

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