Updated: Aug 21, 2021
Distance has the same effect on the mind as on the eye.” ― Samuel Johnson
People that were once very close seem to be far away, why does this happen? The distance we feel happens for many reasons, it could be simple or complex, but let me turn your attention to a specific kind of 'feeling of distance', here the closeness & relatedness seems to be fading away but the concern, care and love is still there, at least for the time being, but beware, if no counter measure to nurture is taken, that too will fade away!
When we unpack the relationship principles that govern intimacy, we can better understand weather the reason behind the distance is it accidental or intentional.
A principle is a universal truth or an ideas that is fundamental, for example, “a little acorn can spawn a mighty oak”, there is no dispute here, likewise, there are certain relationship principles that can predict the course of a relationship, like, “if two people aren't growing together in life then they are fundamentally growing apart”
What does this mean to you? Is it True? Is it a universal truth? Has it happened to you?
You will surely find the answers to these questions in your own relationship experience , all you got to do is take a pause and reflect. Look at any of your relationship where you feel the relatability factor seem to have diminished, but you still deeply care for them.
Communication is a great tool for exchange of ideas in human interactions. There are so many techniques through which one can improve their communication skills. However intimacy is not only a function of your communication skill, but also a function of your relatability.
One of the clichés used by friends and family to articulate this distance is “you have changed” or “who is this new person”. Because for most people the primary circle of intimacy, closeness and relatedness is family & childhood friends.
No principle should be accepted without rationale, sometimes you will agree, sometimes you will disagree, but once you gain clarity and buy into the principle, then if you don't build them into your life, you cannot expect anything to change. That is a fact of life, a principle of personal growth.
The closeness with others is subject to different forces at play during the various seasons of a person’s life, during which some people might move into the closeness circle, while others move out of it. Either way as a rule of thumb, people in the core circle are people that you believe you are close to and therefore you are intimate with.
Have you found yourself surprised that someone who was close has grown apart and you were unaware of it until you engaged with them.
I don't know your personal growth journey, but from my own experience, intentional personal growth will reflect on your relatedness with people because;
“If two people in a relationship are not growing together then they're often going to unknowingly be growing apart”
In retrospect, I lost a few intimate relationships over the years and wondered why I am not feeling the same connection as I did earlier? Once I began my personal growth journey I was able to understand the principle better, that is, my relatedness level with them was low as I was not growing in my thoughts, beliefs and behavior as they were growing.
Think about those people in life that you are closest to, are you closest to those people because you can relate to them or because you can't relate to them. And when you can really relate to someone you tend to grow and the relationship grows in intimacy i.e. closeness.
When you can't relate to someone then the intimacy and connection in the relationship falls apart.
So I want to share with you a day to day phenomenon that happens in everyone's lives. Pretty much all of the time. This will hopefully bring more clarity to relatedness level a bit more effectively.
Everyone is born into a family, be this a great family, strong and robust or be it a dysfunctional family, destructive and toxic. We all have one, whether we like them or not, it is absolutely irrelevant. This for us is what is in the earlier years of our life and we refer to it as normal. Similar to companies, or organizations, or social groups, family units are guided by an underlying visible & invisible culture.
Culture is made up of social norms and accepted thinking, behaviors, attitudes, and actions that are deemed as okay and those that aren't. And if one breaks the rules or acts out of accordance with the accepted codes or status, then one gets into trouble, one ends up having problems with the rest of the group, who are kind of operating in alignment with the rules.
Therefore when we are brought up in a family unit, along with the visible do’s & don'ts, the unseen morals, values, emotions, are also inculcated into each other, that creates a sense of closeness due to the relatability factor.
"you can either GO through it or GROW through it"
So say for example, one person in the family unit was to leave the family unit and had to overcome some tremendous personal or professional challenges, and go through seasons of crisis after seasons of crisis.
Here is the principle of crisis, you can either GO through it or GROW through it, and when you choose to intentionally grow through it, you fight through the crisis and you eventually break through the crisis to become stronger on the other side.
So when this person in the family unit is growing outside of the comfort zone and overcoming challenges, everyone else in the family unit may not be going through such a change. What happens when this person eventually goes back to the family unit?
Well it's going to seem and feel a bit of a disconnect, like a bit of a gap or a void. I bet you might have some similar experience to share,
Change is generally seen and deemed as being negative or being a bad thing. But what I'm going to say, in this context is, change is generally just growth and all intentional growth is good and all intentional growth leads to maturity and all growth is spiritual.
If two people or a group of people are all growing together then they're going to be growing closer. If one person is growing independently, apart from the rest then that one person is growing apart from the rest.
Going or Growing through
The answer lies in the difference between intentional growth and accidental growth. If you can understand and see this happening in your own life, then you're going to be able to identify how this principle hopefully can be applied and how it works itself in all of your relationships and virtually every single area of your life.
If two people are not growing together then they will be growing apart. This is going to be true in the context of your family relationships, in the context of your marriage, in the context of your friendships and other relationships.
Once you realize the reason behind the levels of relatability in your relationships, then you would be able to understand how to build them.