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Is Your Relationship Growing Together Or Growing Apart

The way you and your partner communicate can speak volumes about your relationship. Are you and your partner using communication to grow closer together? Maybe, after spending so much time together during a lockdown, you may feel like the way you communicate is now stilted or boring.

Using Knapp’s Relationship Model, we’ll look at the ten steps of relational communication. From growing together to growing apart, where is your relationship currently? Furthermore, what stage would you like your relationship to be at?

Five Stages Of Growing Together

  1. First Impressions

The first stage of communicating in a relationship is the initial impression that you make. In this stage, you are most focused on making a great first impression. This level of communication is mainly appearance focused, so you may take more care in how you look and how you present yourself.

  1. Getting To Know Each Other

This is the stage of communication where you test the water. You’ll be exploring each other’s likes and dislikes. It is at this stage where you look for common interests. In terms of most relationships (dating, friendships, associates), this can be where relationships end due to very differing interest levels.

  1. Strengthening

During this stage, you will be willing to share personal information and looking at ways to deepen the bond. In this stage, you are often looking to spend more time together and create relationship commitments.

  1. Integration

During this phase, the relationship becomes closer than before, and you find ways to integrate your lives and build intimacy.

  1. Recognition And Bonding

The final stage of growing together is where you create the agreements that the relationship is recognised and the level of commitment is honoured by both parties. It is at this stage where the relationship is seen as indefinite and only to be broken through a formal notice.

Five Stages Of Growing Apart

  1. Diverging

In this relationship stage, each partner begins thinking individually without discussing or considering their partner. In the differentiating step, each person begins to focus on their interests and endeavours. There seems to be a decreasing amount of common ground for the couple and reduced communication opportunities.

  1. Communication Boundaries

In this stage, partners will start to build a wall, and there will be some off-limits communication topics. Each partner may fear raising a subject as it is likely to start an argument. Instead, each partner will focus on their own personal space and activities.

  1. Stuck

By this stage, communication becomes even more stilted. It is likely that communication only centres on the essentials. In some cases, people feel helpless in this stage and can’t move on due to deep-seated issues. Many people in this stage want to break apart but stay in the relationship for reasons such as children, caregiving or finances.

  1. Detachment

By this stage, communication is completely avoided. Individuals will avoid contact or reason to interact. In the earlier stage, this was to avoid arguments; however, by this stage, the reason is indifference. By now, people may feel physically and emotionally detached from each other.

  1. Coming Apart

In the final stage, this is usually where the relationship ends. The communication will confirm a parting of ways, and each individual will take separate paths.

Need Help With Your Relationship Communication?

If you’re struggling to communicate effectively in your relationship, my relationship hypnotherapy can help you transform your relationship not only with your partner but with yourself, too.


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