People Sometimes Grow In Opposite Directions—Let Them Go

by Paul Hudson

Human beings are competitive by nature. Since none of us are born into this world with an inkling of understanding of our purpose, we rely on the doings of those around us to give us direction. Being the egocentric beings that we are, when we see someone undertaking a task, we immediately consider whether or not we could accomplish said task better and more efficiently.

It starts with wanting attention from our mother to building better building-block castles — eventually that competitiveness grows and fills just about every aspect of our lives. Competitiveness becomes addicting as long as you come out on top. Winning is more addictive than heroin — okay, maybe not quite as addicting as heroin, but definitely more rewarding.

All of us who are more competitive than the average, want to be better — want to be the best. Terms like "better" or "best" are relative terms. In order to be competitive, you need to have competition. Luckily, competitive people have a knack for bringing out the competitiveness in others — so finding competition is never too difficult.

Most often we compete with those with whom we are in the closest proximity. Our fellow colleagues, our close friends, family and, most interestingly, our significant others make up most of our day-to-day competition. Competing, as long as kept civilized, can be very helpful in promoting self-growth.

But what happens when you no longer find your competition to be much competition? What happens when your competition can no longer keep up? In most cases, you will just move on and find other competition. This is the main reason we lose touch with so many of the friends we have earlier on in our lives.

Many relationships can survive without competition. Our relationships between friends and family do not require competition, but allow us to flourish when it is present. Not having competition at the work place is usually a good thing, guaranteeing your success within the firm.

However, my question is whether or not an intimate relationship can be successful without the tension caused by competitiveness. Many may argue that tension should not be considered a good thing — not something that we ought to have in our relationships with those we love.

I’d like to argue that this sort of tension is necessary to keep the relationship alive. Getting too comfortable with your lover will inevitably lead to boredom, which leads to a nasty break-up.

The way I see it, a relationship is a living, growing thing — growing being the key word. Ideally, both parties within a relationship ought to grow parallel to each other at an equal pace. Unfortunately, as many of you I am sure have experienced in the past, we sometimes outgrow our partners.

Members of Generation-Y — the Elite — are passionate, diligent and extraordinarily hungry human beings. Nevertheless, some of us are just hungrier than our better halves. If you find yourself outgrowing your lover, one of two possibilities will follow: your partner is either currently in a slump that he or she will come out of in the near future, or you have permanently outgrown your lover and they will never catch up to you.

I try to always give people the benefit of the doubt, but the truth is that outgrowing others happens. If you indefinitely outgrow the person that you love, then I feel your pain — but there is no solution that will leave the two of you happily at each other’s side.

Whether or not you have outgrown your partner is for you to decide, but the only solution is to go your separate ways. Outgrowing doesn’t necessarily mean that you have somehow become “better” or “smarter” than your love; it may mean that the two of you have grown in opposite directions. Once you start developing in separate directions, the gap that you are now feeling between the two of you will only continue to grow in distance.

This is a touchy and difficult subject to discuss. Each relationship is different than every other relationship, just like each person is different from the next. From my experience, however, you either have to close the gap as soon as you possibly can, or accept the fact that the relationship has run its course and that you have reached the end of the line.

It may be a sad thought, but there are so many fish in this sea that you would only be harming yourself and your partner if you were to decide to force your relationship to continue, knowing that what you each expect out of life is not compatible with the other’s expectations or wants. If you find that you and your love are growing in opposite directions, then do what any loving person ought to do: let them go and let them grow — without you.

Paul Hudson | Elite. 

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