“I don’t get it, has something gone wrong? Has he/she changed?”
Do these questions pop up in your mind when you realize a close-knit relationship between you and someone just doesn’t feel like it used to anymore? Or worse, you start to self-criticize – “Is there something wrong with me? Why does he/she seem distant now?” (Yes, dear ENFP-INFP fellows, we hear you!)
We often question, feel sorry, or even blame ourselves for a fading relationship with a friend, a spouse or an ex, even a family member. While we fully understand the inevitable fact that some people in our lives stay and some others leave eventually, sometimes we still can’t afford to see someone drifting away.
Some would say; “Well, life happens”, but what actually happens when it happens? Is this even normal?
Fading chemistry and outgrown relationships are unpleasant, and very uneasy to face, really. Some people would say that it is inevitable. But, is there anything we can do about it?
1. You’re not alone, it happens to everyone
Take a look at this point of view:
There were two birds, born and grew up together. Living and facing the same environment, they shaped and shared mutual values.
One day, they decided to explore the world outside their comfort zone, this time, they went separately. The first bird went to the north, and the second one flew away to the south.
Both met different challenges, different climates, and lived with different groups of ecosystems. Slowly, they reshaped their way of thinking and their values.
One summer day, these two birds flew back to their origin, and saw each other again.
What could possibly happen?
- They reunited, reminisced about the old days, and grew old together afterwards happily; or
- They reunited, realized how both of them now had different values and perspectives about life, then decided to drift away from each other.
Both are likely to happen, right? Maybe that’s what ‘life happens’ would look like.
We move forward, as do our values in life.
2. Why is it so common?
First and foremost, we should be aware that each of us is a single individual, who has different traits, identity, and personality. And in our lives, we grow within different surroundings, environments, values, and challenges. Those intrinsic and extrinsic factors really shape us, those make you – a unique self. And it’s never perpetual, it is and will always be dynamic. We evolve as life goes on.
We also have to admit that it really takes compatibility for individuals to keep getting along. The different stages of our personal growth and self-discovery take part in it.
At certain moments, our conscience would detect chemistry with another soul, and it also recognizes when we suddenly feel distant from our closest ones, maybe because we’re suddenly on different life phases. For instance, if one of you has become much busier than the other, or if you move out of town away from that person – the relationship could possibly just drift away.
So, yes, let’s just accept that life happens, and relationships – do evolve.
3. It’s okay to be upset, but no one’s to blame
You may be sad or mad at first, especially if you’re on the “being left” side. You’re allowed to feel what you’re feeling, because every feeling is valid. But your friend slash family slash partner’s feeling is also valid. At the end of the day, it’s not a competition and it’s important to be mature when we come across this kind of situation, because—like it or not, it happens multiple times in life. It’s not their fault to develop new values that they draw from college, and you’re not wrong to find politics are just plain unexciting and depressing.
You see, you shouldn’t view yourself as a victim. There’s no bad guy here. This “outgrowing a relationship” stuff is natural, and that person’s probably feeling a similar emotional turbulence as you are. It must be sad and confounding for both of you when the mutual feeling of love is still there, but the connectedness between you is dying out. Ultimately, both of you need to put your own selves’ best interest and personal growth first, even if it means leaving and hurting the other person.
As the saying goes, “Treat people the way you want to be treated” and “Before you judge, better you try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes first.” Before getting all worked up and offended, might as well use your empathy and imagine yourself walking in that person’s shoes, feeling unfulfilled while staying in a relationship that used to nurture and gave him or her comfort. Sooner or later, not leaving could adversely stick a wedge into the relationship instead.
4. “So should I talk it out or just leave it there hanging?”
We hear many “outgrowing relationship” stories out there don’t involve the talking—does it matter?
Well, no one likes being left without a word.. It leaves the other person to come up with ugly speculations, and perhaps a terrible heartbreak. So if it’s between lovers, there is no way you don’t talk about it. As for other relationships, it really depends on the circumstances.
Sometimes, a pair of best friends (or cousins) can suddenly drift apart without a word said, with no wild clash or unnecessary misunderstanding entails. In other cases, people feel betrayed, and a tight relationship can radically turn into a long cold war. So if you two seem to be cool with the sudden relationship fallout, and mature enough to take the subsiding bond as normal, you’re safe. But if you notice an unfathomable tension, you really should talk it over. Oftentimes we avoid this because it looks like it’s going to be awkward. True, it is going to be very weird and awkward. But clear communication is way better than avoidance, which is exactly the root cause of an irrelevant clash. Besides, there’s actually a chance that this person is willing to grow with you—so basically, put away assumptions, we never know.
According to some experts, our best first approach could be by carefully expressing how we feel to him or her, and be transparent on how you expect the relationship to go from there. Make sure there was no misperception and that you both agree to move on to the next phase—whether together or separately—like how grown ups should be.
5. Maintain a good relationship
Let go of grudges. While we know you’re not having the best time to find silver linings, and that not all doomed relationships end amicably, holding a grudge will do you no good—it messes with your mental health and possibly your immune system. .
No, you don’t need to force a relationship to last. Let go, and let it be however it is. Just cherish all the growth lessons you’ve learned together. Those up-and-down journeys you went through with each other were legit, and no one can take your memories together away from both of you. Acknowledge that this person was there in one of your darkest moments in your teenage years, or that he/she and their presence and support were parts of the rock that propelled you to stay standing and to eventually be here today.
So stay friendly, because there’s always a possibility that you’ll rekindle the close relationship you once had—maybe one day when you’re on the same page all over again. Or let’s say one day you’re on the brink of a burnout, then you start to reconnect with your childhood best friend because he or she is the only person who understands you and your limitations to the core. And hey, distance can actually bring two people closer because being away helps one better in self discovery. Who knows that after you move somewhere far, you start to build a deeper connection with your loved one more than ever.
6. “I suddenly worry about my current close relationships. What can I do so they don’t change in five years?”
As one ends, it opens the door for another one to blossom. When it comes to relationships (of any kind), the possibility is endless. It’s true that your closest ally today could be an estranged ex confidant in a few years from now—because nobody knows what will happen in the future, and this is a fact of life. No matter how hard you try, if it’s time to say goodbye, then it’s time.
The bottom line is.. “Hakuna Matata”. Throw out your worries about what’s to come and what will unfold in your relationship. Remember that hard times will make you become wiser, and sad times prepare you to embrace happier days.
Give your all to live in the moment, don’t let your anxiety make you overlook the blessings bestowed upon you, including those whom you love and love you back with everything you are at the moment. Our life’s made up of every walk we carried in the past, and the people that crossed our paths along the way. Focus in shaping the future we want, and for that matter, we rely so much on the people we surround ourselves with today.
So yes, be the best version of yourself and just be present. Remember; you are loved.
Hi, welcome to Olga and Nadya's first collaborative writing, which is – honestly speaking – not a freshly brewed idea, as we've talked about doing this plan since a long time ago. But, still, for humans – things are easier said than done. Hope you enjoy this article. And... hit us up if you have some related stories on this topic! ;)