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The Pain of Being Outpaced

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The Pain of Being OutpacedIf one were to define an ideal relationship, it would be two people growing up together, keeping pace with each other’s strides, stopping a while to catch one’s breath on the way for that vital recharging of sapped energy before moving on. This would also be one of life’s most beautiful, mutually rewarding experiences – this keeping pace and moving ahead together exercise. Unfortunately, growth is neither a made-to-order process nor one that follows a predictable pattern. As generally happens in most cases, one person grows faster than the other, leaving the slow-to-catch-up partner behind.

What happens when growth in a relationship becomes unbalanced, when one person outpaces the other, the dimensions of his/her life expanding to include new people, new relationships, experiences and pursuits with lesser time for old preoccupations and friends? The person who is left behind, the one who is less open to external influences, could naturally experience a feeling of being let down.

No relationship is ever exempt from this law of growth. Children outgrow their parents, siblings go their own separate ways, lovers part because they can no longer relate to each other and friends stop seeing eye to eye. This could be a scenario that happens anywhere.

There comes a day in the life of a child when he stops being a child. As an adolescent his priorities suddenly change. His parents, though still important and necessary, have to take second place in his growth graph.  His interaction with his parents undergoes a change. He now operates on two levels – one as their obedient son, and the other, as a teenager coming to terms with his budding sexuality and its accompanying conflicts.

How are the parents expected to react to this change? Hurt because he won’t share his inner life with them anymore? Worried because he’s changing, become distant and aloof sometimes? Or proud that he’s learning to take his place in the world on his own? Sadly, parents find it hard to let go.

Siblings too grow differently (according to their genes, their individual exposure to outside influences and their level of self-esteem). Differing career choices, new sets of friends, new emotional involvements and differing goals affect the growth pace of each sibling differently.

Life treats each one of us in different ways, ways that shape our attitudes and behaviour. Friends too face this dilemma. Marriage is also subject to the law of change. There are couples who grow and grow away from each other. They have little to say to each other when intense intimacy gives way to growth for one partner and stagnation for the other.

Actually any relationship can run out of steam when one person goes out of sync with the other. Question is how will you negotiate this change to keep pace with someone you care for? What is the best way to respond to the reality of someone you love, outpacing you? Accelerate your change process or just let go of the person and allow him his space?

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Responses to The Pain of Being Outpaced

  1. 1 sanjay

    This is the worst thing that can happen in any relationship. One person going ahead of the other. But it happens all the time. The jealousy, the pain and the anger are hard to overcome sometimes. I’ve discovered that the best principle to adopt is to simply let go when someone you care for has to go his or her way if that is their mission. Even in friendship there are times when your best friend outpaces you and finds someone else to be more interesting. Simply put, you’ve been outpaced. And who knows, one day you might outpace someone else. That’s the law of life. Why fight it? Face the pain and look at the gain!

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