Growing Apart

Can you grow back together?

Building a relationship with someone you love takes time and energy but most of us will agree that it is worth the investment. Once you have the basics down pat, life should be comfortable.

Occasional arguments and disagreements notwithstanding, you now have the opportunity to grow both as a person and as a couple. You are eager to share new interests, and new adventures.

Your ‘couple potential’ is high!

As the years go by, you let go of what doesn’t work and keep what does besides making room for newer workable aspects to your life together.

But, what happens when you continue to grow as an individual while your partner is content to remain the same as when the relationship first began?

You may have added new interests to your life. Possibly you’ve made a career change and have new ideas about where you’d like to live; a whole new package of likes, wants, and goals.

Your partner, on the other hand, has remained pretty much as they were when you first met. He or she is contented with the status quo. Adverse to trying new things, they have no new ambitions or goals, and feels that there’s something wrong with you because you have changed.

Your future as a couple is in serious danger since growing and expanding your horizons together has stopped. But…

Although you have reevaluated your opinions and tastes and your partner has not, you still love them and want to make a go of it.

Can you ‘get it back,’ that cozy intimate feeling of being a couple with potential? Never say never, but be practical in your outlook on how to get him or her to change.

Some adults are content to remain in the comfort zone they have created for themselves. They may be afraid to make any changes to what they consider an easy existence. This might be the case with your partner. Getting them to change is not going to be easy but it can be done.

Seriously discuss with him or her how you would like your life together to be. Tell your partner that you don’t want the relationship to stagnate. Some things to try are:

  • Introduce something new into the relationship. This can be as simple as trying a new restaurant or finding a new area to explore in your city or town. Same old, same old loses its luster after awhile. Do something different.
  • Ask his or her opinion on a political issue about which you feel passionate; get a debate going on a current topic in the news.
  • Persuade them to talk about any goals he or she may have had that they ‘put on hold’ before the relationship. Offer to support in achieving them.

Whatever you do, keep communicating about you both growing together as well as individually. Never make it sound as if it is all about you.

Changing and growing as a couple, as well as individually, is a crucial key to a maintaining a strong, healthy relationship. While the safety of familiarity and a certain amount of sameness are necessary and comforting to you both, new ideas and opinions add spice to your partnership and help to keep it fresh and exciting.

Almost any relationship in which you have invested time and energy, and in which there are sincere, caring feelings, is worth saving.

You owe it to yourself and your partner to make the effort to sustain what you had and still have.

Change can be disconcerting to someone who desires a 'changeless comfort zone'. You need to be the catalyst for making healthy, positive changes for your partner by allowing communication to be an ongoing dialogue.


© 2011 Copyright Kristen Houghton

Kristen Houghton is a well-respected Lifestyle journalist who writes for many media outlets, including The Huffington Post, More Magazine and OWN.

She is also the author of, And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First, which was ranked in the top-selling 100 books of 2011.

*Kristen is also in the process of editing her new book on humor in relationships due soon.*


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