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Are You Growing Apart or Just Going Through a Phase? Signs to Watch Out For & How To Fix Your Relationship

Do you feel like there is a gap between your partner that it’s getting harder and harder to bridge?

You wake up one day, and you realize you haven’t been the same couple for quite some time now. The response and presence are there, but a growing distance makes you feel lonely and abandoned. Conversations are few, fights are many, and you can’t seem to find a solution no matter how hard you try.

So, is it just a rough patch, or are you falling apart? 

If you still can’t give a clear answer, check out the list below.

Signs you’re growing apart

There is a disconnect

It’s normal for partners to feel disconnected from time to time. It often happens during a life-changing event such as welcoming a new baby, starting a new job, or moving to another place. In such cases, couples are usually able to bounce back quickly.

However, if the disconnect lasts too long to be just a phase, you may want to dig deeper and figure out the real problem behind the distance you are feeling.

The best way to restore the bond is by having a deep, open conversation. You can also try doing the things that made you happy before the change. There is something very comforting in doing activities that feel familiar and safe. 

You don’t go to them for support

Remember the days when you sought refuge in your partner whenever you felt upset or misunderstood? If the answer is NO, you may be facing a bigger problem than you thought. Having a solid support system from other people is rare, and you should consider yourself lucky.

But reaching out to your best friends and family for help without even thinking about confiding in your spouse or lover is a major red flag! Once again, healthy communication is the key to resolving this issue. Be clear about why you no longer lean on your partner but at the same time, try to understand them without playing blame games. 

Intimacy is practically non-existent

There are sexless couples out there with healthy relationships that are pretty successful. But their success lies in other forms of intimacy, such as emotional, spiritual, intellectual, etc. So, if you used to enjoy a healthy sex life, and now physical and emotional intimacy is a thing of the past, chances are, you are growing apart. 

What is causing a rift between two people who couldn’t keep their hands off each other, and how to resolve it? For starters, remember that sex is not everything. Intimacy can be holding hands, a massage, a foot rub, a conversation, etc. Take it slow. Sorting out your emotions will relight the fire eventually. 

You’re using sex as a smokescreen

On the other hand, maybe you’re using sex to avoid thinking about the real issues. If sex seems to solve every problem you have in your relationship, or you consider it the only thing keeping you together, the chances are that you are growing apart and headed for the end. Many couples hide behind healthy intimacy, forgetting to deal with all the issues that drive them apart.

You no longer spend time together

Sometimes, you simply need a change of environment – new people to exchange thoughts with, new faces to make you smile. You probably know the feeling if you’ve been in a long-term relationship. 

However, spending all your free time with other people or even at work just because your partner is “boring” or “there’s nothing to talk about” means you have started growing apart.  

Remember that this is the same person you found fascinating just a few years ago. But back then, it was a fresh, new love with hormones flying all around. You had millions of ideas about things you wanted to do and places to see together. 

The spark will go out when you stay trapped in the daily grind of work-eat-sleep-repeat and don’t do anything new with your partner.

There are trust issues 

Do you trust your partner, and what’s the point in staying with a person whose loyalty you keep questioning?

Many struggling relationships are ridden with jealousy, mind games, and manipulations. Building trust back is one of the hardest things to do, and these toxic patterns don’t help at all. 

If you want a healthy future, you can’t live in constant wondering if they are telling the truth or everything they say is a lie. It’s a terrible emotional and mental state to be in. Trust issues aren’t a surprise if you no longer feel safe, loved, and as close as you once used to be, though. 

Disagreements turn into fights

Every couple fights; it’s simply part of life. You can’t avoid it, and you probably shouldn’t. Disagreements (and their resolution) are a sign of growth. 

However, know that your relationship is in serious trouble when disagreements always lead to fights instead of peaceful conversations. 

One of the reasons behind picking a fight over the pettiest of things may be dissatisfaction, one-sided or mutual. Fights are often just a superficial manifestation of underlying discontent, and the best way to address the issue is to have the sincerest conversation possible. 

Tell each other what is bothering you. You’ll be surprised how often it’s not you or them. It might be something else totally. 

You’ve become indifferent 

On the flipside of fights, there is indifference. You have reached a point when you no longer have the strength to fight. You have simply given up on finding a solution for your problems and you’re unfortunately growing apart. 

Your partner shows zero interest in whatever you say.  

Picture this, you have great news to share, and they show no emotion, you try to pick up a fight just to get them paying attention to you, and they don’t engage at all. Indifference is definitely worse than fighting.

“Together forever” becomes a dreadful thought

Once you loved dreaming about your future together, making plans, fantasizing about your family, kids, dream home, etc. Now, you can’t stand the thought of sharing an entire lifetime with your partner. 

Whenever a conversation about the future comes up, you try to dodge the bullet by quickly changing the subject. This happens when you want to move further in life but don’t see yourself with them down the line. 

You feel lonely in their presence

Spending time in each other’s company is supposed to make you feel loved, seen, appreciated, desired… This is the time when you two connect on a deeper level – go out on an occasional date, share good food, watch a movie, snuggle under the blanket. It’s literally like time stands still and nothing else matters.

There is nothing sadder than spending an entire day with the person you love and still feel lonely, just because they choose the TV or the phone over you. To bridge the gap, address the issue with kindness and open-mindedness. They might be only looking for an escape from something else, like a problem at work, and not from you.

You don’t miss each other when you’re apart

If you miss your partner when you’re not together, there may be hope for your relationship. It shows that there is still some emotional investment in the arrangement. You are probably still willing to work on it, so the distance is a phase that you can easily overcome.

On the other hand, if you feel happier being away and dread seeing them again, you’re growing apart and it will probably not end with happily ever after for you.

They irritate and annoy you easily 

Do you remember their little quirks you used to find adorable at the beginning of your relationship? Well, now they are your pet peeves!

Suddenly, you are annoyed by how they eat, talk, walk, dress…

Every little thing they say or do has the power to make you go off the rails. You keep criticizing one another about everything. 

Even getting a call from them irritates you to the point you want to smash the phone just to make it stop ringing.

This is a bad sign of a struggling relationship, and getting your feelings out in the open is the best way to deal with your issues.

You’re playing the blame game

The distance in a relationship crosses the line and becomes toxic when a couple starts to play the blame game. Maybe you do not acknowledge your part in the issues, and neither does your partner. If this is the case, you’re unfortunately growing apart. However, if both of you are willing to accept liability and work on making things better, it might just end up being a phase you will get through.

Neither of you is willing to compromise

Sometimes the difference between a phase and irreversible distance in a relationship is the willingness to compromise. Coming to a compromise might be hard, but if you truly want the relationship to survive, then it is something that you will have to do. The important thing is to ensure that both of you are on the same page about what the problem is in the first place.

What to do about it/how to fix your relationship?

Just because you and your partner or spouse feel like you’re growing apart, it doesn’t mean the relationship has run its course. If there is a will, there is a way.

People who are still madly in love can feel there’s no emotional connection for several reasons, and believe it or not, you or them don’t have to be one of them. 

Today’s world puts enough pressure on everyone, and sometimes isolating and withdrawing helps “regroup.”

As long as you feel this distance is just a phase, you have nothing to worry about. It’s important not to allow the gap to grow and become your new reality.

Here are some things you can do to bounce back and have a healthy relationship once again:

  • Be open about how you feel 
  • Share from the heart without trying to manipulate the situation
  • Show empathy and listen to each other
  • Spend more quality time together and be present
  • Include more physical contact  
  • Make each other a priority
  • Stop comparing each other to other people/couples
  • Control the urge to fight 
  • Don’t be afraid to look back on the good days
  • Forget about pointing out each other’s flaws
  • Share the things you like about each other
  • Stop blaming each other
  • Have deep, long conversations about the future
  • Work on the problem together
  • Do something new once in a while

Final thoughts

Preventing your relationship from growing apart is a challenging but very possible mission.

You need to recognize the signs that you’re drifting apart early and start working on your relationship before the issues take roots. 

Love can conquer it all!

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