I frequently field questions from confused people who fearfully wonder,
“Am I outgrowing my relationship?”
When you’re a person who is interested in personal growth and development and your partner’s not, you may be scared that you are outgrowing your relationship.
Alternatively, perhaps you’ve recently become someone interested in personal growth and development as a result of a significant change in your life such as starting a business or maybe losing a loved one and having some kind of “wake up” call.
You find yourself changing and worry you may be leaving your partner behind.
Regardless of the cause, the fear of outgrowing your relationship is a real one, and a quick search on the internet reveals plenty of information about what to do about this all too common worry.
I was dismayed (and unsurprised) to see that much of this relationship out there is NOT what you need to be reading.
There are a number of “signs that you may be outgrowing your relationship” listed with a quick web search from feeling bored to feeling like your relationship gives you a low self-esteem that are not necessarily accurate indicators that you are outgrowing your relationship.
In this post, I’m going to debunk 3 common reasons I’ve found online that indicate you are outgrowing your relationship, and let you know what you need to do instead if you’re worried about this all too common issue.
Myth #1 That You’re Outgrowing Your Relationship: You’re Not Compatible
Many people believe compatible means you have the same interests or views on things.
Of course, it’s important to share basic values, and if you aspire to be a permanent poet in the woods while your partner will only live a fast place life in an urban metropolis, your relationship is going to be doomed if your desires for your chosen lifestyles are stronger than those for each other.
This example, however, is extreme.
When I look up the definition of “compatible” online, I see it basically means the ability for two things to be together without conflict. If you are striving for a relationship without conflict, then I hope you or your partner is a doormat (and come on, that gets boring for everyone!)
Either way, far too often I see the “compatibility” excuse as a copout, not taking into account the fact that we are all complex and dynamic systems, with the opportunity for a constant recreating of ourselves.
It’s simply our nature as humans to change, not just your nature because you’ve gotten into a little personal development lately.
Relationships are processes, not fixed entities.
The magic elixir for solid relationships is connection, not necessarily compatibility. Connection requires open and honest communication and emotional engagement.
If you fear you are outgrowing your partner and worry that you have suddenly become “incompatible” because you believe you have changed and they have not, I encourage you to bring the issue up, openly.
Engage and express your emotions.
And keep yourself and any growing ego around personal or spiritual development in check while you’re at it.
You may be surprised at how evolved your partner truly is…
Myth #2 That You’re Outgrowing Your Partner: The Chemistry Is Gone
The fizzle of your chemistry obviously isn’t a great thing in a relationship. And if you’ve outgrown your partner, it’s likely that there are no longer any sparks between you.
However, the decline of chemistry in itself is not necessarily an indicator that you have outgrown your relationship.
It could mean a lot of things, for example, one of you is super stressed out at work, or you just had a baby.
The loss of chemistry all together does mean that your relationship may need some tending to. Without a clear indicator of WHY the chemistry has dwindled (such as a new baby), It is often the first symptom of a larger problem that doesn’t necessarily mean one person is outgrowing the other but does mean that there is a lack of connection.
As always, attend to your connection first.
After being in a relationship together for awhile, it is crucial there is a sense of safety and security to have a strong relationship. Take care of your relationship and spend time together. Keep things fun and make room for play.
If those elements are all present and you still feel zero chemistry, ask yourself, are there things from the past that you’re hanging onto? Old hurts or regrets?
As stated above, the loss of chemistry could be the result of a relationship that is over, but if you’re questioning it, there may be something there that can be restored. If the chemistry is gone or dwindling, take this as a sign that your relationship needs some more tending to.
If you knew for sure it was over, you likely wouldn’t be reading this post.
Myth #3 That You’re Outgrowing Your Partner: You Can’t Express Yourself To Them
If you try to express yourself to your partner and you are shut down or “made to feel crazy,” or perhaps at one point in time you bit your tongue and now you are ready to speak up for yourself and that ain’t flying with your significant other…it may be true that you are “outgrowing” your partner in a way…
But far too often two people get caught up in a relationship dynamic that simply does not work.
Why can’t you express yourself?
It’s not always easy to be vulnerable and honest in a relationship where there’s a disconnect and you are having a hard time hearing each other.
There are common negative patterns that couples get caught in that make it difficult for partners to express themselves to each other.
***This explanation of what may be going on with your communication and connection does not excuse emotional abuse or intimate partner violence.
If you are worried or concerned that you may be in a relationship in which you are being abused, I urge you to visit TheHotline.com or call (800) 799-SAFE for 24/7 confidential support free of charge.***
If you are not worried about abuse, however, your difficulty with self-expression may have more to do with a dynamic born from disconnection than from outgrowing your partner.
Stay tuned for next week’s post where I’ll share some things you may be doing to sabotage your relationship especially if you’re worried you are outgrowing your partner…
And make sure to get your name on the registration list for a free Master Class I’m offering on June 15, 2017 where we will dive in even deeper on what to do if you’re scared you’re outgrowing your relationship (and you can even share your questions that I will happily address):