Sometimes you outgrow the people you love. It's no one's fault; You may feel as head-over-heels in love with them as you always have, but maybe you've started noticing that you want different things in life, or that you're going different directions. Maybe you want more, and they're content exactly where they are. While there's nothing particularly wrong with wanting different things, it could be one of the signs you've outgrown your partner, which can be really sad if you still want to be with them.
"It's so confusing and disheartening to feel that you are growing away — and beyond — your partner," licensed clinical psychotherapist and relationship expert LeslieBeth Wish tells Elite Daily. "You might still have feelings of love, but you begin to sense that your partner might not be the best match for the long haul." Ultimately, you have to put yourself first. If you begin to feel like your partner is holding you back, it may be in your best interest to keep going without them. "If you need to move in a certain direction in your life, and your partner cannot or will not come along, then you might have to cast your vote for you and your life and not struggle to maintain a relationship that impedes your growth," Wish says. Here are four signs you may be outgrowing your partner.
1. You want different things.
If you start to notice you want more from your relationship, and your partner is happy where the two of you are, that could be a sign you're outgrowing them. "Moving in, getting married, or wanting a family are more easily fulfilled when you and your partner are on the same page," Wish explains. "But you might fear voicing these concerns if you sense that your partner is not ready," even though you've been ready for a while.
2. You feel like you're holding your career back for them.
You may find yourself altering your career path for your partner — like not moving to the city that serves as a hub for your career or not applying for a promotion because it may keep you from being able to spend as much time with bae. Maybe you want to go back to school for more training or change positions at work. Wish says that "any one of these steps is a sign of taking on more risk in your career and changing your priorities. But you might hold back on taking these chances if you feel you would intimidate your partner — and then risk losing him or her."
3. You have different pastimes.
The two of you used to love going to happy hour at a new bar every week and club-hopping every weekend, and now you may be starting to get tired of it. "You discovered that you have other goals and ways to spend your time," Wish says. But bae is perfectly content with spending their time how they always have. So, "you might hold back if you are afraid of being alone, of failing, or of 'leaving your partner in the dust,'" she points out.
4. Your focus has shifted.
"Financial changes, such as saving money rather than burning through it, can also be signs of outgrowing your partner," Wish says. "You find yourself in a different time zone: One of you is focusing on the now, while the other is now focusing on the future." And while there's nothing blatantly wrong with focusing on the now, if you want more, it could cause somewhat of a rift between you and bae. You're growing and evolving, and you may want to start putting down roots. But, "your partner is stuck in old and unproductive habits and patterns and is not interested in the direction you are going," psychotherapist Jeffrey Rubin, author of The Art of Flourishing, tells Elite Daily.
So, what now?
If you've started to notice any of these signs, it could mean you're slowly outgrowing your partner, but that doesn't mean your relationship is doomed. "Before you rush to breaking up, talk to your partner — without blaming him or her for your feelings and need to make changes," Wish suggests. "Telling them that you are looking to try new things, and you would like them to try them with you is a good way to start," Nicole Richardson, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Elite Daily. "There may be times you can encourage them to try to grow with you."
As important as communication is in any relationship, having a talk about something may not always have the result you were hoping for. "If [telling them] that doesn't work, I think [you should let] your partner know that you have made some shifts that are important to you, and [that] it's OK that they haven't made them," she explains. "But it is putting you in a different state of mind."
They may not want to (or even be ready to) make changes in their lifestyle, and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you feel like you need to switch things up, and they don't, or they decide to go in their own way, "there may not be much that can be done," Richardson says.
However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't at least bring it up and talk it over. You may still be able to get on the same page. "Often, the equilibrium in couples is so strong that one person's emotional bravery and decision to change and grow actually sparks the other person to do the same!" Wish says. And aren't the best relationships the ones where you inspire each other to grow, together? If you still want to make your relationship work, have that conversation. But if you feel like it's time to let go and move on, don't be afraid to make that move. You deserve the kind of relationship you want, and someone who wants the same things.