why do you grow apart in a relationship?
27 Jun 2023

Why do you grow apart in relationships?

Why do you grow apart in relationships?

People are unique and every relationship is unique. We change as we age and if you are in a committed relationship over a long period of time many people sadly grow apart from their partner.

Though individual circumstances can vary, here are some common factors that can contribute to couples drifting apart:

Lack of communication: Over time, couples may fail to communicate effectively or stop making an effort to understand each other’s needs and desires. Perhaps you think you shouldn’t have to keep telling your partner what you want surely, they should know by now – but people aren’t mind readers (unfortunately!) no matter how long you might have been together. Healthy communication is vital for maintaining a strong connection and addressing issues as they arise.

Changing priorities: As individuals evolve, their priorities and interests may shift. Personal growth and development can lead to different goals and aspirations, which may create a disconnect between partners if they are not aligned. It can be so important o involve your partner along the way and let them know about your new ideas or what you feel is changing about your life and how that is affecting the things you want to concentrate on and prioritise.

Routine and complacency: The excitement and novelty that initially come with a relationship can fade as time goes on. Boredom can set in and people can start to search for excitement outside of the relationship. Couples may fall into a routine and become complacent, neglecting to nurture their emotional and physical connection which can result in them feeling emotionally distant from one another.

Unresolved conflicts: Couples may accumulate unresolved conflicts or resentments over time. If these issues are not properly addressed and resolved, they can create emotional distance and erode the bond between partners. Very often couples argue about the same thing so it can be imperative to address any underlying issues which keep surfacing in the form of a familiar argument.

Lack of intimacy: Intimacy encompasses emotional, physical, and sexual connection. When couples neglect their intimate life or experience a decline in sexual satisfaction, it can contribute to a sense of disconnection and emotional detachment. Goodness knows there are enough hormonal challenges to face in midlife which can affect sexual desire and if you’ve been together a long time it can take dedication and new ideas to keep your sex life alive and active. If sexual incompatibility becomes an issue, seeking the guidance of a qualified therapist or sex therapist can be beneficial. A therapist can help facilitate open and non-judgmental conversations about sexual concerns, explore possible solutions, and provide guidance on techniques or strategies to enhance sexual intimacy.

External stressors: Life events such as career changes, financial difficulties, raising children, or caring for ageing parents can place significant strain on a relationship. These stressors can consume time and energy, leaving little room for nurturing the relationship.

Individual growth and identity: Individuals continue to evolve throughout their lives. Sometimes, partners may grow in different directions or develop separate interests and identities. If these changes are not acknowledged and accommodated within the relationship, it can lead to growing apart.

Finding a way to adapt and grow together and maintaining a strong and fulfilling connection over time is no easy feat! Relationships need work, time, care and attention, just like a career or an old car! Open and honest communication, willingness to work on the relationship, and nurturing the emotional and physical bond are crucial for couples to stay connected and avoid drifting apart.

If you would like help with your individual midlife transition or how the two of you as a couple find direction together in the second half of life, why not read The Midlife Crisis Handbook or attend a course at The Midlife Academy.