9 signs you and your partner have really grown apart, according to psychology

Are you concerned about the direction your relationship with your partner is going? Maybe you feel unsure about whether you’re growing together or apart?

According to psychologists, some classic signs may mean you have grown apart. And although it’s tough, it might be time to face up to it. If this all rings too true, don’t worry, I’ll advise on how to start repairing the divide.

1) Emotional distance

Have you felt that you and your partner aren’t as close emotionally as you once were?

Do you feel like there are some things you don’t feel like speaking to your partner anymore because of how you feel inside?

Psychologists say that if you’re connected to your partner emotionally, then your relationship is more likely to succeed. So if you feel like it’s going the other way, this could be a sign that you’re growing apart. 

Some of the signs of emotional distance from your partner according to the article above, are:

  • Not discussing emotions
  • Making assumptions about your partner’s feelings
  • Creating a cycle of pulling away

If you feel like your needs are constantly unmet, then you may be experiencing emotional distance from your partner. 

But all is not lost. it’s up to you to decide if you want to work on building this back up again.

2) Lack of communication 

Another sign that you and your partner have grown apart, is a lack of communication.

Have you noticed that you just don’t speak to each other the way you used to? You’re not sharing things like before. The little things that made you happy or things about your day? 

This could be a sign that you have drifted apart.

This article about communication in romantic relationships, explains how a lack of communication can go on to create many other issues within a relationship. 

Some of the issues it shares are:

  • Unresolved conflict
  • Difficulty managing finances
  • Struggles with raising children together
  • Problems with sexual intimacy

These are all things that can break down and end a relationship if they are not seen to.

3) Spending less quality time together

Remember when you first got together and you spent every minute possible together?

What kind of time do you spend together now? Is it the same amount of time or has it reduced?

Quality time isn’t just about spending time together. It’s about how you spend that time together according to psychologists. Whether you and your partner are being attentive to each other or not makes a huge difference.

Attentiveness makes all the difference. Do you listen or pay attention when your partner asks for it? Do they do the same for you?

Perhaps you might still be spending time together, but you’re both on devices or just not engaging with each other like you used to. 

This could be a sign you’ve both grown apart.

4) Seeking validation elsewhere

Are you feeling like you need to have others make you feel good about yourself? Because you’re not getting the validation you need from your partner? 

I remember in a previous relationship when I knew we’d grown apart because I was looking elsewhere for attention. My partner at the time wasn’t giving me the validation I needed, so I went looking for it everywhere else. Not long after, we split up.

While it’s great to have our partner’s blessings and approval, (and complements and love are essential for most couples) our validation should really come from inside.

Psychologists say that seeking outside validation is a way to sabotage your love life. So if you continue with this, then it may bring about the end of your relationship. 

5) Feeling alone

Have you started to feel alone more and more?

This might be because you and your partner are slowly spending less and less time together.

It might also be because you don’t feel like your relationship is the same as it used to be, that your partner is slowly slipping away.

This could be a sign that you and your partner are growing apart.

An article about loneliness in relationships explains many reasons for this feeling. One of them is growing apart.

However, it does go on to suggest that things such as lack of communication can also contribute to feeling alone in a relationship.

6) Keeping secrets

feel trapped in a relationship 9 signs you and your partner have really grown apart, according to psychology

Do you keep more things to yourself than you used to? Are there secrets you’re no longer sharing with your partner? 

According to psychologists this can be because of a breakdown in a partnership and can create more distance between a couple.

Perhaps you don’t trust your partner like you used to as a result of having grown in different ways over the years. Or how they might react means that it’s better if you don’t say anything at all. 

None of these reasons are particularly healthy in a relationship.

7) Constant arguments

Are you and your partner always arguing these days? Does it feel like you are never on the same page anymore?

When you grow apart your perspectives might also change. Perhaps that perspective change also leads you to grow apart. The way you both see the world might differ, which can result in arguments and frustration.

This relationship expert says that if this is happening then it might be time to call it quits.

8) Loss of intimacy

When was the last time you were intimate with your partner? 

If you can’t remember, or it was a long time ago, this could also be a sign that the two of you have drifted apart.

A loss of those special loving moments can make it feel like you’re just living with a roommate rather than a lover. 

I always think about the beginning of a relationship and how just spending time together, in each other’s arms or laughing together forgetting the rest of the world exists felt.

Things always change in relationships, but that feeling of closeness, and intimacy, is so important to keep you bonded together.

If you’ve lost this feeling, it may mean things have changed between you both.

9) Separate life goals 

Maybe when you first met you were young and didn’t have the life goals you do now. Perhaps you had the same goals. 

But as life goes on we change. And often, so do the goals we have in life.

If you’ve got to the point where your life goals don’t align anymore then this is a huge sign that you’ve grown apart because it means you want different things from life.

However, there is some good news! According to this psychologist, just because you’ve got different life goals and may be growing apart, there’s still a chance to save your relationship.

Final thoughts

Even if you’ve noticed some of these signs in your own relationship, all hope is not lost. Growing apart doesn’t have to mean the end if you and your partner are willing to put in the effort to reconnect.

The key is to start with open, honest communication. 

Share how you’ve been feeling and listen to your partner’s perspective with empathy and an open mind. Acknowledge the ways you may have drifted apart without placing blame.

From there, work together to rebuild the foundations of your relationship. 

  • Make quality time a priority again, even if you have to schedule it. 
  • Be attentive and present with each other. 
  • Discuss your life goals and see where you can find common ground and ways to support each other’s dreams. 
  • Rekindle the intimacy and emotional connection you once shared.

It won’t always be easy, but with commitment, care, and the help of a couples counselor if needed, many relationships can come back from the brink of collapse. Growing apart can be a wake-up call that leads to growing together again in an even stronger partnership.

Remember, you fell in love for a reason. If those reasons still exist, there’s hope. 

It’s up to you to decide if your relationship is worth fighting for. 

With love, dedication, and a willingness to grow together, you may find your way back to each other again and emerge with a bond that’s stronger than ever.

Picture of Louisa Lopez

Louisa Lopez

Louisa is writer, wellbeing coach, and world traveler, with a Masters in Social Anthropology. She is fascinated by people, psychology, spirituality and exploring psychedelics for personal growth and healing. She’s passionate about helping people and has been giving empowering advice professionally for over 10 years using the tarot. Louisa loves magical adventures and can often be found on a remote jungle island with her dogs. You can connect with her on Twitter: @StormJewel

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.