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Purrfectly Speaking
by Anita Charlot

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I was asked to address the topic of 'Outgrowing your Partner' in this particular issue. I will honor this request in three parts over the next three months. Part I will address the 'more ambitious' partner and their challenges; Part II will address the 'more content' partner and their challenges; and part three will list ways for both partners to embrace the change as a means of growth for the entire relationship … or not, to include my definition of the following, a) the leader, b) the submissive, and c) the equal.

As an individual who is constantly evolving, I have found myself as well as others worrying and considering things that I know should not come into play while considering your personal growth. Things like … if I complete my degree, will my partner understand what that entails? Will I get quizzed when I need to go to the library or to study group? Will they understand the totality of what it means to be a student? Will I constantly have to reassure them that I am not going to leave them or meet someone in school that I can talk 'intelligently' with? Will they be supportive in other areas of my life, i.e. cleaning house while I study; picking up or babysitting the kids; cooking/cleaning/ordering in? If I learn this, acquire that … will it cost me my relationship, etc.

Understand this … there is absolutely no way that you can make someone feel reassured or secure if they are dealing with their own personal issues. Only a person who has issues with where they are in their life in relation to where you want to go would be intimidated by your need or desire to be more than what you were when you got together. Is this the type of relationship you want? One where you would have to play down your strengths, put off your own personal goals for the sake of 'protecting' the relationship? One where you would feel uncomfortable sharing your triumphs? One where you would feel that the other person's responses were not genuine?

Or would you like to feel that this person was in your corner, no matter what. That they were an advocate for your success regardless to whether or not they were interested in the very same things or had the same goals as you do? Would you like to know that they would stick it out with you during the stressful times cheering you on all along knowing that it would not be a victory for you alone but for the good of the entire relationship? Wouldn't it feel good to have them pick up the slack for a while and not feel as though you were annoying them or cramping their style by trying to grow yourself?

Is this possible?

School doesn't necessarily have to be the goal. It could be a new workout program that you have decided to embark upon or an art, dance or foreign language class. It could very well be incorporating meditation or some form of spiritual practice in your life. Having the support, unconditional support, will no doubt allow you to blossom. The question then becomes, will you involve your partner as much as they want to be so that they don't feel left out? Will you start treating them differently once you begin working towards this goal? Will you look down your nose at them because they are not interested in learning or doing the 'new' things that you are now interested in? Will you begin to correct every little thing that they do making them feel as though they are now 'not good enough'?

It is easy to get caught up in your growth and want the other person to join you so much so that you begin to 'force-feed' your newfound information down their throats. Inherently, we all want to share what is new and exciting for us, however we need to be respectful of the other person's position. If they are not interested … they are not interested. You then have to decide what is important to you. What will enhance your quality of life? A partner who is supportive in what you want to do yet not really interested enough to talk to you about it or really get to know the intricacies of what you are involved in? Or a partner who has the same interests or is interested enough to be able to converse with you about it?

Think on these things and stay tuned … .

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