7 signs you’ve outgrown your partner (and you should let them go)

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You’ve been with your partner for a while.

Lately, however, you two no longer seem to be on the same page.

You’ve changed. They’ve changed. The relationship changed.

Whatever it may be, you have this stinging feeling that something isn’t right.

Everyone’s growth trajectory looks different.

No matter how heartbreaking it may feel, sometimes you need to extricate yourself from a romantic relationship to get to the next stage of your life.

But how can you tell if it’s a rough patch or if you would be better off alone?

Here are 7 signs you’ve outgrown your partner (and you should let them go).

A little self-reflection will go a long way.  

1) You have different goals

If you and your boo have been dating for a long time, you’ve likely talked about the future.

A clear sign that you’ve outgrown your partner is when you find yourselves on entirely different sides in terms of aspirations.

If your partner’s goals and values have diverged from yours, it can become increasingly difficult to imagine a compatible life together.

As individuals evolve, their priorities shift.

Perhaps one partner discovers a new passion or career pursuit while the other remains firmly committed to the original shared goals.

This leads to a sense of disconnect and an epiphany that maybe you’re not as well-suited for each other as you initially thought. 

A few examples:

  • Couples initially share the goal of having children, but over time, one partner changes their mind or wants to delay parenthood
  • One partner is determined to advance rapidly in their career, which involves relocating frequently, while the other is more interested in staying put
  • One partner becomes health-conscious and adopts a strict exercise regimen and outdoor activities, while the other has no interest in such pursuits
  • Changes in religious/spiritual beliefs can create conflict in a relationship, particularly if one partner becomes more devout or embraces a different belief system

In some cases, it’s possible to support each other’s growth and compromise.

Other times, these differences are irreconcilable.

This happened to many of my friends in serious relationships during their 20s.

They started dating their partners in college or immediately after. 

Back then, they had similar aspirations or were still figuring out what they wanted.

As the years went by, though, one half of the couple became more serious about work, put in long hours, and wanted to buy a house.

The other was still partying every weekend and had no idea whether settling down was even in the cards.

You can guess how those relationships progressed from there.

(They didn’t.)

If you feel like your diverging goals are a deal breaker, it’s time to go.  

2) You wish they would change

Do you find yourself nagging your partner to shape up, make an effort, or change something fundamental about themselves?

Or, you don’t nag them, but you think about it all the time.

How you wish your boo would be more ambitious, more adventurous, more willing to invest in themselves.

If so, you two may not be heading to a happily ever after.

A healthy relationship is built on mutual acceptance, so wanting to change your partner is generally a red flag.

Both partners must support each other’s growth, but this support should be rooted in love and respect.

When you constantly wish that your partner was a different person, it’s worth examining whether the relationship is fulfilling for you both.

Spoiler alert: it probably isn’t. 

3) You no longer fight

This might sound counterintuitive.

After all, not fighting means that you get along fine, right?

Not really.

Conflict isn’t only natural in a relationship; it’s healthy.

It’s a way for couples to vent their frustrations, find a middle ground, and deepen their bond.

If you’re no longer willing to put in the effort to fight, it may mean that, on a subconscious level, you’re no longer interested in bringing the relationship to the next level.  

You’ve become complacent, and addressing issues is no longer a priority for you.

In other words, you’ve outgrown your partner.

4) Your partner embarrasses you

Realizing that your significant other embarrasses you isn’t fun.

Maybe they fit in well with old friends, but you’ve recently started hanging out with new people and you don’t feel like showing them off.

This can signal that the relationship is crumbling.

Other indicators that you’re unhappy with your boo:

  • You make negative comments about their physical appearance or style
  • You actively hide your relationship from coworkers or new acquaintances
  • You find yourself correcting their behavior or manners in social situations
  • You downplay your relationship when discussing them with others (“Oh, it’s not that serious!”)
  • You compare them to others, and they fall short

If you’re embarrassed, your partner is embarrassed too.

They deserve to be with someone who appreciates them just as they are.

Let them go.  

5) Romantic gestures annoy you

In the early days of the relationship, you were a big fan of candlelight dinners, romantic getaways, and spontaneous dates.

Now, not so much. The sheer idea of doing anything corny or sentimental together is annoying.

You would much rather be alone.

Not wanting to spend quality time with your significant other or getting irritated when they try to reignite the spark indicates deeper issues at play.

Like, maybe the fact that you no longer find the relationship satisfactory?

6) They’re holding you back

Feeling stuck in a relationship can take a toll on your emotional well-being.

It’s even worse when being with your partner is preventing your growth.

You want to travel, they would rather stay home. You want to try a new hobby, they tell you it’s not worth it. You want to change careers, they advise you to stay put.

There are all these things you want to do, but stop yourself short because you know your significant other would either refuse to get on board or downright disapprove.

In fact, they don’t do much to support any of your proposed endeavors:

  • They dismiss or show little interest in your personal or professional goals
  • They respond with negativity when you express enthusiasm for new opportunities
  • They insist on monitoring your decisions or movements

I’m sorry to break it to you. Your partner isn’t contributing positively to your life.

Stick around long enough, and they might dim your fire to the point where you no longer feel inspired to grow and explore.

Don’t let it get that far.

7) Your intuition is telling you to move on

The sheer fact that you’re reading this article shows you have severe doubts about whether you and your boo should keep seeing each other.

Everyone occasionally experiences sadness, anxiety, or frustration in relationships – but if these feelings have become the norm, something is amiss.   

If your gut pushes you to ask your loved ones or therapist for advice about your boo, it’s another sign that you’re uncertain about the partnership.

And if you know, deep down, that the relationship is no longer serving your best interests?

Cutting ties is your best choice.

Your intuition is invaluable when it comes to making decisions about a relationship.

Listen to it.

Bottom line

Realizing that you’ve outgrown your significant other is emotionally challenging.

Give yourself time to process your feelings.

Then, have an honest but gentle conversation with your boo. With kindness and empathy, explain that you want to break things off.

Staying in a relationship that no longer suits you makes you feel inauthentic and unfulfilled.

It’s also unfair to your partner, who may miss out on a more compatible match elsewhere.

Parting ways is the healthiest choice for you both. 

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