Few relationships are supposed to last forever.
It’s an awful feeling when you start to realize that you’ve outgrown your partner or fallen out of love with them.
After all, you still probably care about them a lot and the love that existed for them before hasn’t entirely gone away.
But holding onto a relationship that you’ve outgrown won’t do anyone any good. It won’t feel nice for the person you’re with or (most importantly) you.
How do you know if you’ve secretly outgrown your relationship? Here are 8 signs that’ll give it away.
1) You struggle to make conversation when it’s just the two of you
When you first got together, you probably talked for hours over the phone, couldn’t stop chatting on dates, and texted each other 24/7 – never running out of things to say.
But what happens when it’s just the two of you now? Do you have anything to say to each other anymore? Or do you mostly sit in silence when you’re together?
When you’ve been with someone for a long time, it’s natural for the conversation to fizzle a little as you both slip into comfortable silence with one another.
But you should still find some things to say to each other – even if it’s just talking about their day, work, family, career plans, or hobbies.
But if that isn’t the case for your relationship, and you struggle to get through any one-on-one time, this isn’t a good sign.
2) You don’t agree on the important things anymore
When I first got together with my ex, he was adamant about being a stay-at-home dad. He loved his kid cousins and hated his job, and all he wanted in life was to be a family man.
But after a few years together, his views changed entirely. He liked his job now and didn’t want to be a “family man”.
And that was the moment that I realized we’d outgrown each other.
Perhaps you’ve changed your mind about whether you want kids or to get married. Or perhaps you’ve just developed a different perspective on the world and believe different things now.
Maybe you argue about these things. Or maybe you just don’t agree on much anymore. But whatever it is that’s different about the two of you, it’s a sign you may have outgrown each other.
3) You feel like your lives are heading down two separate paths
Another sign you’ve outgrown your relationship is if you feel like your lives are going in completely different directions from how they once were.
A friend of mine used to have a jet-setting job. Her partner worked on cruises. The dynamic worked for them, as they both had similar lifestyles.
But then she got a promotion and stopped traveling. After a few years of putting up with his absence, she had a serious chat with him.
She wanted to live with him and spend more of her time with him, like her friends were doing with their partners. She was even feeling ready to start a family.
But he still wanted to live the nomad life on his cruises. And she realized that they were heading down very different paths.
Maybe your experience is the same. Maybe one of you is going to college and the other isn’t. Or maybe one of you wants to move out while the other wants to go traveling.
Whatever it is, things are different for both of you now, and you struggle to see how you can live life alongside each other anymore.
4) You find their behavior immature or childish
You used to find the things they said or did funny. You’d spend hours with them laughing over silly things they’d do.
But now, you find their behavior immature. When they’re out with friends and cracking borderline jokes, you don’t find them funny anymore.
When they tell you what they got up to while they were on holiday with their friends, it doesn’t seem right that they’d be doing that at their age.
Your sense of humor changes as you get older or go through different phases of life. And it’s a sad truth that you can outgrow someone’s humor to the point you fall out of love with them.
And the first sign that this is the case for you is if you rarely laugh at their jokes anymore. Instead, you scowl at them or feel embarrassed.
5) You feel embarrassed by their lifestyle
It’s an awful feeling and you probably feel very guilty about it. But as you change and outgrow a relationship, you might start to feel embarrassed by the way your partner lives their life.
Perhaps it’s because of something major, like them having hobbies that involve illegal substances or partying every night.
Or because of how they choose to spend their free time, like playing video games 24/7 or staying up late most nights at their friends’ houses.
It could even be because of their living situation, like if they’re living with their parents, having everything done for them, way later than they should be.
You might’ve been living similar lives at one point. But things have changed now.
And if you’ve outgrown the relationship, you probably feel a bit embarrassed by their social activities, rather than supportive or happy to get involved.
6) You’re on very different career paths
A friend of mine dated a guy who always wanted to be an actor, just like she did.
They spent six years together, and while she gave up the dream pretty quickly and got a full-time job, he never did. He was unemployed the whole time they were together.
When people used to ask her what he did for a living, she’d have to say he did nothing. If they probed about why (thinking they could help if he’d been let go recently), she’d have to say he’d always been that way.
Eventually, she’d saved a good deposit for a mortgage and was ready to move out of her parent’s place. But he was in a completely different phase of life.
And she realized that their different career plans (or his lack of career plan) just wasn’t going to work long-term.
7) You don’t have anything in common anymore
Everyone’s interests change as they get older and go through life. And there’s nothing wrong with having different interests in a relationship.
In fact, it can promote better independence and keep the spark alive when you have different hobbies, according to experts.
But when it’s reached the point where you don’t have anything in common anymore, this isn’t a good sign.
A lack of shared hobbies and interests can make it difficult to connect with your partner or talk about anything that interests you both.
Maybe you used to love playing video games with them. Maybe you loved going to the gym as much as they did. Or maybe you enjoyed drinking lots once upon a time.
But life is different for you now and you no longer enjoy or participate in these activities.
Whatever it is, if you have nothing in common anymore, and it’s starting to show in the fact that you can’t find joy in doing anything together, it’s not good news.
8) You have more bad days than good days
Relationships should benefit our lives and bring us happiness, joy, and contentment. They shouldn’t make us feel sad, angry, anxious, or depressed all the time.
They aren’t all sunshine and rainbows, that’s for sure. Every relationship has its good and bad days. But the good should definitely outweigh the bad.
When things take a turn for the worse, it shouldn’t take long before the relationship is back on track – provided it’s still a healthy relationship.
But when every day is a bad day, and even the good days aren’t as good as they used to be, this isn’t good.
If the balance is off in your relationship, and it’s been like that for quite some time, something isn’t right – and deep down, maybe you know that.
Not every relationship will stand the test of time. And that’s a hard truth to come to terms with. Especially when you wanted (and promised) forever with this person once upon a time.
But staying in a relationship when it’s run its course will only do two things.
Firstly, it’ll hurt you and the person you’re dating much more than if you were to just call it quits now. And secondly, it’ll hold you back from finding true love and happiness in your life.
And both those facts just don’t make it worth it – no matter how long you’ve been together or how much you’ve been through.
So even though it’s hard to let go of someone you care about and once saw a future with, you know deep down that you have to do it – for your sake and the other person’s.