Remainly - Online Couples Therapy

Growing together or growing apart: how to adapt and change

Green tree growing in a forest

As we age, it is perfectly normal for your personality and interests to evolve and change. One of the reasons that many long-term relationships begin to break down is because both sides have failed to adjust to these changes with their partner, and we often hear the phrase ‘grown apart’.

But, can this be avoided? Effective communication and a little care can help couples grow together rather than apart, and it is one of the secrets to a fulfilling and lasting relationship.

Why Do Couples Grow Apart?

As individuals, we are continually changing as we are influenced by external factors such as our work and social lives. As we age, we also change; it is simply a natural part of life’s process. Couples grow apart when one, or both, sides fail to keep up with these changes.

What Are the Signs That a Couple is Growing Apart?

Spotting it can be tricky, but there are some telltale signs that you have grown apart in your relationship.

  • Consistently spending less time together or not enjoying each other’s company.
  • Keeping secrets.
  • Spending time thinking about how things used to be.
  • Making big decisions without consulting your partner.
  • Less intimacy.

Couple walking together holding hands

How Can Couples Avoid Growing Apart?

Fortunately, there are many ways couples can reconnect or avoid growing apart if they feel as though they have. The following advice is also useful as a general way to improve communication and build a stronger relationship that stands the test of time.

Revaluate Your Goals and Dreams

When couples first meet, there are usually discussions about where you want to be in the future and what you are working towards. It is often these discussions that bring you together and create a bond. As people and relationships develop, these goals may change, and it is essential that you and your partner are on the same page. By having regular discussions about your goals as individuals and as a team, you are ensuring that you’re both working towards the same future.

Say Thank You

We all like to feel appreciated, and something that is often cited in relationship troubles, is the feeling of being taken for granted. Both partners should be recognising when the other deserves a little appreciation, even simple things such as working hard for a bonus or cooking dinner. Make an effort to say thank you whether it’s face to face or leaving little messages for your partner to find.

Remember that communicating gratitude isn’t as simple as saying thank you when your partner does something for you (after all that is just being polite). Showing that you appreciate them should also come with an open and positive attitude that resonates throughout day to day life, even if it is just routine tasks.

Never Assume Your Partner’s Emotions

Assuming how the other person feels about a situation is a sign of poor communication, and it can quickly lead to a breakdown. Being clear about your feelings and actively listening can reduce the risk of misunderstanding and improve the way you deal with situations.

Take an Interest and Ask Meaningful Questions

Conversation and communication are both vital to staying in touch with your partner. Taking an interest in your partner’s job or hobby can help to bring you together and secure a bond. When you ask your partner questions, make sure you actively listen to show them you are interested. Encourage your partner to do the same, and you will both continue to learn new and interesting things about each other.

As part of our advice at Remainly, we can suggest topics to help promote meaningful conversation between you and your partner.

Bring Back Old Habits

Many of us often think back to the early days of our relationship, or the ‘honeymoon’ phase. Think back to these early days and consider the habits that made the time so special. Did you always eat together? Did you plan weekends away? By picking up old habits, you can reignite a spark within your relationship.

Couple cooking dinner together

Go to Bed at the Same Time

Ending the day together creates an undeniable bond between two people, it is one of the reasons that parents find it so important to tuck their children away at night, and it is the same for adults in a relationship. It is very common for couples to go to bed at night at separate times, but we encourage partners to try to go to bed together at least a few times a week.

According to organisation The Better Sleep Council, lying in bed with your partner can also promote better sleep and improve wellbeing, as well as strengthen your relationship.

Plan Date Nights

‘Date night’ may sound a little cheesy, but it is a highly recommended method to reconnect with your partner. Planning a date night shows your partner that you are prioritising them and allows for a period of distraction-free conversation.

Again, this is a time to ask your partner meaningful questions. You can discuss their childhood experiences and happy memories or their likes and dislikes. Make sure you both take it in turns to do the talking.

At Remainly, we are confident that we provide helpful and meaningful advice for couples. Our online couples counselling videos are led by leading European relationship therapist and psychology expert Andreas Løes Narum. Whether you would like to strengthen your relationship or deal with a more serious issue, we have several different pathways for you to choose from. For more information on how we can help you, please browse our website.

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