I never got it before it happened to me, what people meant when they said, “They just grew apart.” It seemed like such a strange way to describe a falling out. The kind of insidious drift that can onset between individuals who were intimate once upon a time.
But then it happened to me. And happened to me. And happened to me.
I found that over time I had less in common with people who I had once held dear. Truthfully, sometimes this was because I’d forced the connection in the first place. When I was younger, I was desperate to be liked, so I’d contort myself into someone else’s ideal image of me and do my best to stay in that uncomfortable position.
But over time, it would become harder and harder to hold those unnatural poses. After a while, I just couldn’t do it anymore.
However, other times, that wasn’t what happened. And instead, we authentically connected in the beginning — until one or both of us changed in ways that made it hard to spend time together.
It’s funny… because even now, when I look at the people in my life who are closest to me, I can easily feel a pang of fear, thinking about the possibility of this happening. I don’t want to lose my most important connections. I don’t.
But the funny thing is that every time I have drifted apart from someone, it’s made sense. When the moment actually arrives, I have no instinct to fight it. I might feel sad about the situation (depending — to be honest, sometimes I don’t). But when the drift has to happen, I recognize it and go with what makes sense. This is true whether I’m the one who has changed, they are, or both of us.
So even though I dread it in theory, in practice I tend to recognize what has to happen and let it.
And yet… it’s so hard to get my emotions to conform to this reality. Even knowing this, I can’t help but feel insecure and sad when I look at my current connections and think about us drifting apart. Even though I know that I’ve lived through similar many times — and that accepting unpleasant reality can be difficult in the short term but long term has only made my life better.
And it’s given me such a paradoxical relationship with change. On one hand, I embrace it — in myself and others. I know that without change, stagnation sets in — an incredibly damaging force.
But on the other hand, the trouble with change is sometimes you leave others behind.