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29 Secrets & Signs You’re Growing Apart in a Relationship

Every relationship has its ups and downs, but if the downs are starting to add up, it might be a sign you’re growing apart in a relationship.


When you meet someone for the first time and fall in love with them, it’s difficult to envision anything coming between you. At this initial stage, of course, you’re seeing each other through rose-colored glasses—nothing can diminish your love. However, as the relationship evolves and moves into more serious phases like living together, the initial infatuation often fades, exposing the more realistic aspects of your partnership. This transition can be eye-opening, revealing signs you’re growing apart in a relationship.

When reality sets in, and you’re faced with life’s mundane responsibilities like bills and shared household duties, the once vibrant romance may begin to lose its luster.

This shift from a dreamy state to a more practical one can bring a sense of drifting apart. At this stage, it’s important to recognize the signs that indicate you’re growing apart in your relationship.

These signs can range from minor issues like neglecting date nights or forgetting to communicate small daily details, to more significant challenges such as deep-seated disagreements on fundamental values or chronic lack of emotional intimacy.

Understanding the Psychology of Growing Apart

Okay, but wait, what is going on behind the scene when you start noticing signs you’re growing apart in a relationship? It’s not just about who forgot to take out the trash or whose turn it is to pick the movie on Friday night. There’s some serious psychological stuff at play here.

First up, let’s talk about attachment styles. Think back to your childhood and how you bonded with your caregivers. This early stage sets the tone for how we do relationships as adults. There are mainly three styles: secure, anxious, and avoidant. [Read: Attachment styles theory: 4 types and signs & ways you attach to others]

Secure folks are like relationship ninjas – they’re great at handling closeness and independence. Anxious types can be clingy and always crave reassurance. Avoidant types, on the other hand, value their freedom like it’s gold and might pull away when things get too cozy.

When partners have clashing styles, it’s like trying to dance a tango with someone doing hip-hop – you’re bound to step on each other’s toes. This mismatch can be a classic sign you’re growing apart.

Now, let’s chat about life changes and stress. Life has a habit of throwing curveballs – a new job, a move to a different city, or even starting a family. These changes can stress out even the chillest of us. Stress can make us retreat into our shells, and suddenly, sharing feelings takes a back seat. [Read: Relationship stress: How it feels, 38 signs & best ways to fix it as a couple]

Communication breakdowns are a major issue in relationships. Effective communication acts as a crucial link between partners, but when it starts to falter, you might find yourselves feeling disconnected.

Misunderstandings begin to accumulate, and it can seem like you’re not on the same page anymore. Ever had a moment where you’re like, “Do they even get me anymore?” That’s a red flag right there.

Signs of Growing Apart in a Relationship

The signs you’re growing apart in a relationship can vary greatly in how serious they are, and the more you recognize in your own partnership, the stronger the warning signal. Some of these signs might be subtle nudges that something’s off, while others are glaring red flags that can’t be ignored.

Whether you use this list to ignite a spark and work towards mending things, or as a reality check that it’s time to move on, the choice is yours. This guide is here to help you take a closer look and make informed decisions about your relationship’s future.

1. Decreased Communication

While it’s normal for your 24/7 texting and calling from the early days of your relationship to dwindle down a bit, there’s a clear difference when communication takes a serious hit. It’s like your chat has gone from a lively text thread to the occasional emoji. The quality and quantity of your talks have taken a nosedive.

If you find that you’re having more meaningful conversations with your barista than your partner, that’s a red flag. It’s totally different when the decrease in communication feels like you’re both becoming strangers, rather than comfortably settling into the relationship. [Read: 42 secrets to communicate better in a relationship & ways to fix a lack of it]

2. Diminished Emotional Intimacy

Sharing feelings? What’s that? If opening up about emotions feels like pulling teeth, you’re hitting a rough patch. Emotional intimacy is the glue in relationships. Without it, things start to unravel.

3. Changes in Future Planning

A shift in how you envision your future together is a tell-tale sign things are rocky. Remember when you planned trips to Bali and dreamed of a golden retriever? Now, it’s like planning next week’s grocery list is a stretch.

Of course, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. The natural ebb and flow of physical connection happens in all relationships, but it’s the persistent and noticeable lack of warmth and closeness that could be quite alarming.

4. Lack of Future Conversations

Aside from the changes in your future plans, a significant red flag is when discussions about the future start to dwindle or feel unrealistic.

If chatting about plans for next year seems as far-fetched as planning for 2050, that’s a problem. This shift often reflects a deeper issue – perhaps you don’t see each other in your futures anymore, or there’s a lack of excitement about what’s in store for the two of you. [Read: Does he or doesn’t he see a future with you? 30 signs to read him]

5. Increased Focus on Individual Activities

Doing your own thing is healthy, but if it’s all solo, all the time, it’s like you’re living parallel lives. It’s great to have hobbies, but when you’re more into your book club than date night, that says something.

6. Feeling of Indifference

Indifference in a relationship can be defined as a lack of interest, concern, or sympathy towards your partner. It’s when their needs, desires, and experiences no longer evoke any significant emotional response from you.

This detachment is like an emotional flatline where nothing they do makes much of an impact – positive or negative. So, when you or your partner are more interested in trivial things, like the daily coffee order, than in what each other did throughout the day, it’s a sign of concern.

Indifference is the emotional equivalent of a shrug, and shrugs don’t scream passion. It’s a silent but potent sign you’re growing apart in a relationship, where the absence of conflict or drama doesn’t necessarily mean harmony, but rather a disconnection.

7. Lack of Shared Laughter

They say everything is 10 times funnier when you’re with your beau, right? But if you find that the giggles and belly laughs that used to be a regular soundtrack to your time together have dwindled, it’s worth noting. Shared laughter is a sign of joy and connection in a relationship. It’s about those inside jokes that no one else gets and the silly moments that turn into cherished memories.

It’s not just about missing the laughter itself, but what it represents – a deep, joyful bond. So, if you’re both more likely to crack a smile with others or while alone, rather than together, it’s a subtle sign you’re growing apart in a relationship.

8. Avoiding Conflict

Sounds good, right? Wrong. Dodging disagreements means you’re not invested enough to fight for the relationship. Some healthy debate shows you both still care. It shows that both partners are still passionate and care deeply about their viewpoints and the relationship.

It can also be a sign of two engaged individuals willing to communicate their perspectives. The key, however, is how you handle these disagreements. [Read: How to resolve conflict: The 20 best ways to cut out the drama]

As long as you’re able to argue respectfully, listen to each other’s points of view, and find common ground or a compromise, a little conflict can actually be a healthy, integral part of a strong relationship.

9. Different Social Lives

If it’s all ‘my friends’ and ‘your friends,’ and never ‘our friends,’ you might be drifting into different social orbits. Why is that, we hear you ask? Well, having a shared social circle can actually be a relationship’s safety net. It’s not about ditching your personal friends, but rather about building a community together.

When you both enjoy hanging out with mutual friends, it creates shared experiences and memories, strengthening your bond. Plus, it’s pretty fun to see your partner vibing with your pals. But if you’re always socializing separately, it’s like living parallel but disconnected lives.

10. Frequent Irritation

Little things, like how they chew or breathe — yes, even breathe — start to irk you. You might think these are trivial issues, but here’s the thing: It’s not solely about the noises they make or the way they perform certain actions.

It’s that underlying feeling of annoyance that seems to grow from something deeper. This irritation often stems from a larger sense of dissatisfaction or discomfort in the relationship.

11. Lack of Mutual Support

You got a promotion, they got… nothing to say? In a well-bonded relationship, both partners celebrate each other’s ups and grieve the downs as if they’re their own.

Support is the backbone of any healthy relationship. It’s about feeling cheered on and having someone in your corner, whether you’re riding high or facing challenges.

When this element is missing, and achievements or setbacks are met with indifference, it’s a problem. It shows a disconnect in how you share and experience life together. Without mutual support, you’re essentially just two people sharing Wi-Fi, nothing more.

12. Feeling Alone Even When Together

You’re sitting right next to each other but might as well be on different planets. Emotional distance can make you feel lonelier than actually being alone, another telltale sign you’re growing apart in a relationship.

13. Less Effort in Appearance

Okay, hear us out. You definitely don’t need to dress to the nines or impress your partner every single day – comfort is key, after all. But there’s a fine line between being comfortably casual and slipping into complacency. [Read: 65 physical attraction tips to look way more attractive & desirable in no time]

If you or your partner don’t feel the need to put in a little effort now and then, it might hint at a deeper issue. When every day is a sweatpants day, and not in a trendy athleisure way, it could be a sign of taking each other for granted.

It’s not about the clothes, it’s about showing that you still care enough to present your best self to each other, even in small ways. This change can be subtle, but it’s a telling sign you’re growing apart in a relationship.

14. Rarely Saying “I Love You”

You know how when you’re really, really into someone, you feel this overwhelming urge to say ‘I love you’? It’s like your heart is so full, it just spills out. But when those three words start becoming a rarity, it’s concerning. It’s like a love song that’s lost its chorus.

Regularly expressing love verbally is crucial because it acts as a barometer of the emotional connection in your relationship. [Read: “I love you” vs. “I am in love with you” – The big differences]

15. Declining Shared Interests

Remember that cooking class you took together? It’s now just a distant memory. Why is this a sign you’re growing apart in a relationship? Shared interests and activities are like the threads that weave your lives together.

They offer opportunities for quality time, creating shared memories and experiences. When these common activities start to fade away, it’s often because you’re losing those shared moments that help maintain your bond.

It’s not just about the hobbies themselves, but the connection and closeness that come from enjoying things together. If you’re no longer finding things to enjoy as a couple, it might indicate that you’re not just growing apart in your hobbies, but in your relationship too.

16. Walking on Eggshells

You’re more careful with your words than a diplomat. This kind of tension suggests a fear of conflict or underlying issues that aren’t being addressed. It also points to a lack of comfort in being open or just saying what’s on your mind.

When you can’t speak freely, it indicates a breakdown in communication and trust. It’s a sign that you’re growing apart, as you’re no longer comfortable sharing your inner world with each other. [Read: Walking on eggshells in your relationship? Signs & how to fix it]

17. Your Gut Feeling

You know what they say about our guts – they’re our second brain, especially when it comes to relationships. Trust your instincts. If something feels off, it probably is. Your gut feeling acts as a powerful indicator, often picking up on subtleties that your conscious mind might miss.

It’s important to listen to these internal cues. They can guide you in understanding the true state of your relationship. Ignoring them can mean overlooking essential signs you’re growing apart in a relationship. [Read: Gut instinct: What it is, how it works & 30 tips to follow & listen to your gut]

18. Fantasizing About a Different Life

Lastly, this is kind of like a big wake-up call in your relationship. When you catch yourself daydreaming regularly about a life without your partner, it’s a significant indicator that something’s amiss.

These fantasies can be a window into hidden desires or discontent, revealing that you might be craving a change. While it’s normal to occasionally wonder about different paths, consistently imagining a life without your partner suggests deep-seated issues that need addressing.

What to Do If You’re Growing Apart

Just because you’ve ticked off a few items on that list doesn’t necessarily mean the final curtain is falling on your relationship. It could be your cue to step up, make some changes, and turn things around. Here’s how:

1. Open and Honest Communication

It’s time to break down the walls. Start having real talks, even if they’re tough. Share your feelings, fears, and needs. Remember, it’s not just about talking, but also about listening.

2. Seeking Professional Help

You don’t have to wait for the issues in your relationship to become severe before seeking help. Relationship counseling can be immensely beneficial even in early stages of disconnect.

What counselors do is provide a neutral, supportive space where both partners can voice their concerns and feelings openly. They are trained to help identify underlying issues that you might not be aware of and offer practical tools and techniques to address them.

3. Re-establishing Shared Goals and Interests

Rediscover what brought you together. Was it travel? A love for spicy food? Working on a project together? Finding common ground can reignite that team spirit.

4. Investing Time in the Relationship

Quality time is the currency of relationships. Start investing. Plan date nights, weekend getaways, or even cook dinner together. It’s about making your relationship a priority on your to-do list. [Read: How much time should couples spend together: 24 clues to your number]

5. Practicing Empathy and Understanding

Try seeing things from their perspective, even if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Understanding your partner’s point of view can help bridge gaps in your relationship. It’s not always about agreeing, but more about respecting and validating each other’s feelings.

This also means reflecting on your own actions and considering how you would feel if you were on the receiving end. Empathy involves putting yourself in their shoes, acknowledging their emotions, and understanding why they feel a certain way. [Read: Reasons why empathy is important in a relationship]

6. Embracing Change Together

Change is the only constant. Embrace it as a couple. Whether it’s a new job, a move, or personal growth, navigating these changes together can strengthen your bond. Teamwork makes the dream work, right?

7. Reviving Physical Intimacy

Physical connection can reflect and enhance emotional bonds, so it’s a two-for-one situation here. Work on bringing back the warmth, whether it’s through cuddles, kisses, or more. It’s about rekindling the physical spark that complements the emotional one. [Read: Stages of physical intimacy & truths to go from strangers to lovers]

8. Creating New Experiences

Shake things up a bit in your relationship by trying new activities, visiting new places, or even exploring new cuisines together. Maybe you both have been curious about bouldering for the longest time, or there’s that cooking workshop you’ve talked about attending. Act on these shared interests!

Stepping out of your comfort zone together can reignite the spark in your relationship. It’s about making new memories and experiencing the joy of discovery as a team.

These new experiences can bring a fresh perspective and excitement to your relationship, helping to strengthen your bond and reminding you why you connected in the first place.

9. Setting Boundaries and Respecting Individual Space

While we mentioned declined shared interests earlier as one of the signs you’re growing apart in a relationship, it doesn’t mean you should swing to the other extreme and overdo the togetherness.

Balance is key. It’s important to ensure both of you have the space to grow individually. Respecting each other’s need for personal time and space doesn’t push you apart. Rather, it can bring a healthy dynamic to your relationship. [Read: Boundaries in a relationship: 43 healthy dating rules you MUST set early on]

Having individual interests and activities can actually enhance your connection, as it allows each person to bring something new and refreshing to the relationship. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean losing your individuality, it’s about complementing each other’s growth.

10. Regular Relationship Check-Ins

Treat your relationship like a living entity that needs regular care. Have check-ins to discuss what’s working and what’s not. It’s like a regular performance review, but for your relationship, keeping things proactive and under check.

11. Know When to Let Go

We know this isn’t easy, but sometimes the healthiest option is to acknowledge when a relationship has run its course. Recognizing the signs you’re growing apart is crucial, but so is understanding when efforts to bridge the gap are no longer fruitful.

Letting go can be one of the toughest decisions you’ll face, but it can also be the most respectful one for both yourself and your partner. If continual attempts to reconnect and resolve issues aren’t bearing fruit, or if the fundamental differences between you are too great, it may be time to consider parting ways. This decision should be made with care, compassion, and respect for the love you once shared. [Read: How to let go of a relationship: Things to do to walk away unhurt]

There’s Always a Path to Reconnection

It’s a tough pill to swallow when you wake up one day and realize that the person sleeping next to you feels more like a stranger than a partner. The signs you’re growing apart in a relationship can sneak up on you, like shadows lengthening at sunset.

Recognizing these signs is the first step in addressing the underlying issues. Whether it’s through open communication, seeking professional help, or making a conscious effort to rekindle the spark, there’s always a path to reconnection.

Remember, even if there are multiple signs that you are growing apart, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship is over. But it does mean that you must do something about it—and fast—if you are to salvage what’s left. However, it’s also essential to be realistic and recognize when efforts are futile, especially in scenarios where fundamental differences or persistent issues overshadow the love that once was.

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David Cullen
David Cullen
David Cullen is frequently described as erudite, insightful and witty – but only by himself and only after several large glasses of Rioja....