Questions for Cathy #9: What to Do About Relationship Growth Gaps?

Cathy Chambliss photo

Have you had the experience of growth differences within your romantic relationship (think, emotional intelligence)? When two people are on different levels, it can be so very frustrating. You want your mate to catch up already! Realistically, growth, solid growth, can be a slow process, if it happens at all. Some may not even realize there’s an issue and fight the insinuation. So, what’s to be done?

EML: If mates are at different levels in their growth what is the best course of action if one becomes frustrated and loses patience with their partner’s slower process?

Cathy: Many relationships end because the two partners are at different levels of growth. One may be more mature than the other or have more emotional intelligence than the other. This does not necessarily mean that your relationship has to end. However, if you feel you have outgrown your partner, you have to be able to accept them for where they are in their development. You can’t push someone to grow, only encourage. If they do not want to grow, then you have to decide if you can accept them for who they are now. If you can’t, then you may look at the possibility of leaving.


If differences, which can turn into major problems, aren’t explored, some might think their mate is just being stubborn, unreasonable, etc. Neither may realize that lack of maturity is playing a major role, which only compounds the issue until anger, resentment, and infidelity intervene. It’s best to take a serious inventory of the concerns. Chat long, hard and carefully about it. Changes won’t happen overnight, but as long as two people are willing to listen and adjust, positive strides will be made. Still at an impasse? Call Cathy or any other another reputable therapist. Help really may just be a phone call away. Still no movement? Like Cathy stated, leaving is also an option. Perhaps not the option hoped for, but it’s possibly the healthiest. Healthy is always a win.

*(Cathy Chambliss: 310-303-9132)

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