What happens when one of my clients is growing and changing, taking on a new perspective and the world by storm, and his or her partner is not? It’s not uncommon for the one who is doing all the changing to feel as though he or she and his significant other are growing apart, starting to predict the end of the relationship.
First of all, you need to determine if you and your partner are growing apart, or one is growing and the other is not so much. If you are growing and changing in one direction and your partner is growing and changing in another direction, yes, it would appear that you are growing apart. If this is the case, it might still be workable, because you can move in a similar direction in different ways, which can create opportunities for exponential growth down the line, if you can play off or and encourage each other.
On the other hand, the truth of what I see predominantly is couples that have one partner growing and changing, making giant leaps and bounds, and when he or she looks to his or her partner for support or encouragement, all that comes back is the classic eye-roll, or passive (if not sarcastic), “Oh, that’s just great.”
That’s when you feel like, “This is not working.” Asserting, “My partner doesn’t care about my growth,” (personal, spiritually, or both) feeling as though you are growing apart and your partner could care less about joining you on the journey you’ve chosen for yourself. So, your initial thought is that you’re not being supported, or you’ve been rejected, and feel as though, “I can’t live like that.”
“My partner and I are growing apart.”
If you’re feeling unsupported or rejected by your significant other, be aware that this has nothing to do with your partner at all; it’s all you. Even with all your growth up to this point, you are still harboring the fear of being unsupported and fear of rejection. These fears are coming up as an indication in your life that these fears must be dealt with if you are to move to the next level.
Sure, you can circumvent these fears altogether and end the relationship, abandoning your partner, and continuing your growth solo, or you can choose to take this opportunity to face your fears, promoting your growth even more.
Maybe it’s time to step back and take a look at what is happening from a perspective outside of yourself, possibly reframing the scenario, altering the details enough to keep your feelings disengaged so you can be more objective. Something like,
Imagine a couple has come to you for advice and they’ve told you that they love each other but one of them has gotten a promotion and in order to continue his or her growth with the company, he or she must work from an office 300 miles away from home. Chances are, you are not going to advise that he or she takes the promotion, move away, and end the relationship. Why?
I think, if you could be objective about it, you would suggest a way to renegotiate the promotion, or find a way to compromise or further encourage the growth of the couple through this exercise to find a win-win solution which will enhance the relationship, having moved through this process and conquering this challenge together.
Following this process, you might consider applying this advice to your own relationship. Though I would also challenge you to consider that you’ve also just made a huge mistake which is common for everyone who is on a path of discovery, who has discovered or experienced something that is not fully embraced by your social circle (especially those people closest to you), you have become a self-righteous hypocrite.
Sounds bad, but you have just joined the ranks of all the ego-centric narcissists who have paved similar paths for themselves. Good luck with that.
As harsh as it sounds, your ego has taken control of your life, and you’re starting to feel superior when comparing yourself to others. You’re judging others who are not in lock-step with you and thinking about (if you haven’t already done so) isolating yourself from your circle of influence, asserting your own personal needs and desires over others who are incapable of seeing things clearly from your perspective.
This is hardly tolerance or love; in fact, it is quite the opposite. You’ve let your fear overshadow all you have worked for, and we all know that the path to the dark side is paved with the best intentions.
Tolerance would suggest that everyone is on their own journey, they are not broken, and honors each person’s right to their own perspective and station in life without judgment. Yet here you are, passing judgment on the person (if not the people) closest to you.
Love, of the unconditional variety, would dictate that you love the person you’ve aligned yourself with unconditionally, regardless of what he or she thinks about the path you’ve selected for yourself.
Your lover is not under any obligation to follow you on your journey, because your journey is not for your mate, even though you both could learn, find value, and deeply benefit from your decision to do so.
It is upon you to love your partner, to create sacred space in your lives together, where you can share and abide in safety and security without the fear of abandonment. Honoring your mate implies that you respect his or her right to their own opinions and defend his or her right to do so, from both others and yourself, without judgment.
After all, aren’t we all just doing the best we can with what we have?
If you are able to take the high road, you may find that your partner is paying far more attention than you think. It’s not unlike your response to a new business opening in town. It is unlikely that you are not going to frequent that business on opening day or support it regularly in the beginning. It may take many exposures to advertising and your regular review for a period of time to see if the proprietor’s venture is worthy of your attention and support, or just another flash in the pan.
How many times have you been aware of a new business who has caught your attention but prior to stepping foot into the establishment, you notice the business has not survived, the owner has collected his or her things and gone home. The business has closed and the space is available for lease.
The possibility exists that your love interest is paying attention to every move you make, watching you very intently, to see if your transformation is real and longstanding, or just a passing phase.
It is quite common for a partner to tarry, while keeping a close eye on their partner, to see for themselves if this is the real deal.
Once they have faith in your growth, metamorphosis, and evolution, they will join you on your journey, making your dream for a supportive synergistic love life come true.
It’s on you to create, allow and protect the sacred space necessary to make it happen.