Why We Outgrow Relationships and How to Process Emotions Around It

As humans, it’s inherent for us to evolve and to change constantly. With that, our thoughts, beliefs, and values shift over time as we gain new experiences and learn new things. These are good things and are a natural process of personal growth. However, changes can also lead us to outgrow relationships that were once meaningful and important to us.

Reasons we outgrow relationships

It can be hard for us to part with old friends or let go of a person who we have loved so much, but there are very good and valid reasons why we may outgrow relationships.

Different Paths

As we mature, we may develop new goals, ambitions, and dreams that lead us on different paths than those we were once close to. What once aligned perfectly in terms of future plans, careers, or lifestyles may start coming in between us, causing us to realize that we have outgrown the relationship.

Values and Beliefs

Our values and beliefs shape who we are and how we view the world. We often get our belief system from our parents or our primary caregivers. But over time, that could change or develop into something new. 

We grow and develop beliefs independently, and in the process, we can also grow out of old friends or old relationships.

Personal Development

Personal growth often involves gaining self-awareness, facing our vulnerabilities, and working on our weaknesses. This can change our perspectives, priorities, and even our boundaries. Consequently, we may find that the dynamics of a relationship no longer serve our personal growth, leading us to seek new connections.

Changing Interests

As time goes by and we mature, we explore new hobbies, interests, and passions. It is also a reality that we may find that our current relationships do not share the same enthusiasm or engagement. Our evolving interests can create a sense of disconnect, making it harder to maintain the same level of connection we once had.

Toxicity or Negativity

As hard as it may be to accept, sometimes relationships can become toxic or negative. This can develop unhealthy patterns, manipulative behavior, or constant negativity. As we become more self-aware and prioritize our well-being, we may recognize that we need to let go of relationships that no longer serve us. We outgrow them in favor of healthier connections.

How outgrowing relationships can affect us

Grief over old relationships

Outgrowing relationships can bring about a range of emotions. Feelings of sadness, guilt, and confusion, especially if we have shared many significant experiences with the person involved, are valid emotions. 

We miss the person, and the relationship, and we have trouble adjusting to the changes. The realization that the bond we once had no longer serves us can be difficult to accept, and letting go may require us to confront and process these emotions.

Grief is a normal part of outgrowing relationships. Remember that everyone’s grieving process is unique, and it is essential to be gentle with yourself during this difficult time. It is okay to feel the loss deeply and to take the necessary time to heal and move forward in your own way and at your own pace.

Grief takes time, but eventually, acceptance will come. Acceptance does not mean forgetting or diminishing the significance of the relationship, but rather acknowledging that it is a part of your past.

Challenges sense of Identity and self-worth

Outgrowing relationships can also challenge our sense of identity and self-worth. As we transition into new phases of life, and as our values, beliefs, and aspirations change, it may not be acceptable for some people you share your life with. 

The people we were once aligned with might not understand or support these changes, leading to a sense of being misunderstood or judged. This can create a sense of alienation and make us question our own growth and development. As such, it is normal to feel angry or resentful towards the person you have lost or even at yourself. You can feel that, and you are allowed to.

It may be easy to conclude that it’s always easy to let go of a toxic relationship, but it’s a very complex experience. As humans, we are drawn to feelings of familiarity and emotional attachment, even to someone who has hurt us. 

We also cling to the person for fear of being alone. Losing hope for things to get better with the person and accepting that letting go is the only choice to make can be very painful and difficult. We start to question if we will ever be worthy of anyone’s love.

Letting go and moving on will not be easy but possible. You can channel that negative energy through physical exercise or journaling. It is the best time for self-reflection. Talking to a therapist can also provide an objective perspective and help you work through these emotions. 

Other integrative medicine to complement other Western, Eastern, or alternative practices is also available such as Intuitve Energy Healing sessions where we focus on emotional healing can also provide opportunities for emotional release and help us seriously restore harmony in the mind, body, and spirit.

Picking up the pieces

most important thing to remember is that outgrowing relationships is a natural part of life and does not necessarily imply a failure or a lack of value in our past connections. It simply signifies that we are evolving and changing as individuals. 

Outgrowing relationships teaches us valuable lessons about resilience and self-advocacy. It can be empowering to set boundaries and assert our needs, even if it means letting go of people we once cherished. 

By letting go of toxic people or past relationships, or by accepting that things can’t stay the same with some old friends, we can open ourselves up to new experiences and connections. We create opportunities to surround ourselves with individuals who can genuinely support and understand us. 

Overall, outgrowing relationships can be a transformative and sometimes challenging experience. But by confronting feelings of loss and change, you also present yourself with opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery.