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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Your Relationship: Telltale Signs That You and Your Spouse Are Growing Apart

As a psychotherapist in NYC, one of the most common responses that I get when I ask clients what caused their relationship to end is: "We grew apart."

Your Relationship:  Are You and Your Spouse Growing Apart?

Often, people tell me this and they don't really understand what happened and why they grew apart.  Most of the time, it seems to be a gradual process where the two individuals in the relationship slowly start to spend less time together and, when they're together, they're not as engaged with each other as they once were.

What Are Some of the Signs That You and Your Spouse Might Be Growing Apart?

There's a Decrease in Your Sexual and Emotional Intimacy
There's an old saying, "Sex is the first thing that goes" and, generally, this is usually the case with many relationships where people grow apart from each other.

While it's usually true that people are less sexual after the first year or two, if a decrease in sexual intimacy gets to the point where you and your spouse's sexual life is almost non-existent, this is usually a sign that the two of you are growing apart.

Aside from sexual intimacy, when people in a relationship grow apart, there's often a decrease in emotional intimacy.  You're not sharing your feelings with each other as much as you used to do.

There are so many distractions, TV, cellphones, iPads, and so on, that it's easy to distract yourself from your partner by getting immersed in these distractions instead of paying attention to your spouse (see my article: Relationships: The Importance of Unplugging From Electronic Gadgets to Spend Quality Time Together .

The Two of You Are Spending Less Time Together
This is related to a decrease in sexual and emotional intimacy.  Often this happens because the individuals in the relationship are bored with each other and look to find other outlets (staying late at work, spending more time with other people, having affair) instead of spending time with their spouse.

The Romance is Gone
No one expects that you'll be as passionate in a long term relationship as you were when you first got married, but when you and your spouse are growing apart, there usually aren't even romantic gestures any more.  Both people might be "going through the motions," which usually isn't fulfilling to either person.

The Fun is Gone Out of the Relationship
Humor is an important part of life, especially in a long term relationship.  Having a sense of humor and the ability to have fun enriches the relationship and helps couples to weather the challenges in any relationship.

You're Bickering Has Increased Over Petty Issues
When people are growing apart, they often feel frustrated with each other.  This can lead to bickering over petty issues.

Are the Two of You Growing Apart in Your Relationship?

If you and your spouse are bickering and there's a voice in your head that says, "Why are we arguing about this petty issue?" it's often because the bickering is a symptom of two people who are growing apart.  Whatever precipitated the bickering, it's usually not about whatever you're arguing about.  It's usually indicative that there are other things going on that you and your spouse aren't addressing.

In my next article, I'll discuss what you and your spouse (or partner) can do if you realize you're growing apart and you both want to get closer to each other.

Getting Help
If you feel that you and your spouse are beyond the point where you can repair your relationship on your own, you could benefit from seeing a licensed psychotherapist who works with couples, a therapist who has expertise in helping couples get closer and who can be objective.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com.