There are many times in your life when you’ll meet someone and picture them by your side for years to come. You meet someone and you hit it off so well that you don’t ever want to picture your life without them. They make you feel whole in some ways, as though you were missing a piece of yourself and had never realized it wasn’t there until they walked into your life. They make you see brighter colors, clearer skies, really and truly feel the moments of pure and genuine happiness. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a romantic relationship. Often times, you can exhibit these emotions and feelings in genuine friendships in your life, not always with someone of the opposite sex and someone you are dating.
While meeting people who make your world feel bigger and better is a universal human experience, growth is as well. In life, we all wish to grow into better people. We’d hope, and most of the time we are, growing to become better versions of who we were in the past. No one truly stays stagnant in life. We change and we become different people as we go through different things, different phases of our lives. It’s inevitable. You won’t be the same person you were as a teen when you grow into adulthood. So, it makes sustaining relationships sometimes a bit, difficult.
When you meet someone when you’re young, you have a particular set of wants, needs, and standards that are set in place for that particular time period in your life. And, as you grow older, these may change. You may want different things out of people growing up. You may think you want to be with someone forever when you’re younger, but as you get older, you realize you are feeling unfulfilled, or as though something else is missing in your life. This isn’t something to be ashamed of or something that should be made out to be a problem – it’s just something that happens naturally in life.
There have been times in my life where I have outgrown friends and romantic partners and at the time, I felt guilty for ending things for the sake of my own sanity or my own desires. It’s like a gut-wrenching pain you feel when you’re hurting someone else, and you don’t wish to ever cause them pain. Outgrowing relationships doesn’t mean you don’t love someone, it just means you don’t want to settle for something and regret it or hurt someone even more later down the road. But, the initial struggle of having to walk away for something you have invested time and effort into while knowing the other person still feels the brighter colors, all-too-familiar pangs of excitement – it hurts.
When you want to spend a future with someone, you don’t want to half-ass it. While it’s a juvenile way to put the feeling into words, when you outgrow a relationship – it feels as though you’re only giving it half of yourself. Things just aren’t as bright and everything seems a bit duller. While you still love this person and cherish everything you’ve built together and everything you have been through, it also feels as though you’re doing a disservice to both them and yourself by staying around. You never want to be with someone just because you know it’s a solid thing and won’t go anywhere, even though you feel as though you may be happier somewhere else.
Outgrowing people isn’t something to feel guilty over, it’s just something that needs to be recognized as what’s really happening. Sometimes, we’ll try to make excuses for why we feel the way we do. We’re having an “off few weeks,” and things will get better. Maybe we’re stressed out because of work, school or outside forces that may be interfering with our emotional balance. But, the more we push the reality of the situation away, the more we begin to resent the relationship and ourselves. It may not even be conscious. We may know in the back of our minds this relationship is no longer for me. I no longer want to be the person who does the things we usually do, I want to expand my horizons, I want to try new things and meet new people. This is totally okay, there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong is lying to yourself and the person in your life about it.
You can’t force yourself to stay with someone when you are really unhappy. I mean, you can, but in the long run, things will always be a bit of a struggle. You’ll find problems in everything they do, everything that happens and everywhere you go. You will always be stuck wondering what else is out there, or how you can slowly leave without doing anyone any harm. The truth is, the longer you lie to yourself, the more pain you will cause to everyone involved. Once you address the truth, you can truly learn to make a better life for yourself, and the person you are with can find someone else, as well.
There’s an old saying that says: “stop watering dead flowers.” If a relationship is no longer working for you, you feel it in your bones. There is no need to continue to put time and energy into something that will hinder your growth and trap someone else. It isn’t because the person has done you harm, it isn’t because the relationship is toxic or unhealthy – the relationship just doesn’t work for you anymore and you need to live that truth. Don’t deny yourself the sanity of living your own, authentic life. Don’t deny someone else the opportunity to find someone who will genuinely love and appreciate them either. Face the music.