Growing Apart in a Long Term Relationship

I have always been a big fan of Heidi Klum, she’s a busy woman, always doing something, a woman with great energy and a genuine love of life.

So I am sad to see Seal and Heidi divorce; I have been inspired by their relationship in the past.

It is one that has been frowned upon by jealous white men and some groups because of the racial difference. But what I always loved about them was that they looked so passionate and loving. 

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On ‘Growing Apart’:

On another note, they’ve said that they have had ‘the deepest respect for one another throughout our relationship and continue to love each other very much, but we have grown apart‘.

When it comes to relationships, the truth is that, it is rare for any long term relationship to work out.

Not because they cannot work out, but because people aren’t truly educated about how to make a relationship work.

To make a relationship work, you have to know consciously what will make it work. You can’t just do what you’re used to doing for the last 25 years of your life. (read my article about what if he takes your for granted)

You can’t just do what Sex and the City has taught you.

For instance, I spoke to a lady a while ago. She told me about a fight with her husband.

He said:

GOD! You are sounding JUST like your mother!”

She says:

‘Well, what do you expect me to sound like?!!”

It doesn’t work this way. This is her saying:

“Well, I have habits that I’ve gotten from my mother, and I’m set in my ways. Accept them.”


If you want love, if you want lasting love and passion, subconscious bad habits are worth nothing to you.

You have to always be consciously bring MORE love, joy, sensuality, passion, attraction, and sexuality to the table.

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Most of us are ruled by our subconscious

Most of us are ruled by our subconscious, and our subconscious makes up a myriad of experiences and associations from the past.

For most of us, it’s made up of the BAD experiences. And we react to an innocent current event, or a really good current situation with memories of past bad experiences.

This is the power (albeit a sometimes bad kind) of the subconscious. And it is in the subconscious mind that associations with our partner are built.

In the end, it’s inevitable that the man or woman we were so infatuated with in the beginning becomes the person we want to be apart from.


Because we are not consciously putting in the passion, the love, the playfulness and the time and the compassion to make it work.

If you’d like to know how to build passion and attraction, have a read of my article on How To Create Emotional Attraction With Men.

The ONLY reason Why Seal and Heidi Grew Apart

There is only one reason why Heidi and Seal would have grown apart, at the core of it.

The only real reason two people grow apart is bad associations.

What do I mean by associations?

I mean this:

Have you ever had food poisoning?

Did you want to eat that food that ‘poisoned’ you again?

When I was 11 years old, I went to an All-You-Can-Eat restaurant for my birthday. And, you know, when you’re a kid, you compete with all the other kids at who can eat more (well, at least that’s what we did anyway).

So I got in to the pumpkin soup. I ate 5 big bowls of it. By the end I had pumpkin soup all over my face.

I went home, and felt very full. I didn’t sleep well that night. I kept tossing and turning until amongst the dozens of tosses, I tossed up something unexpected – pumpkin soup.

All over my parents’ carpet, in the middle of the night. They were the unlucky ones who had to clean up my vomit in the morning.

Do you know how long it took me to eat ANY kind of pumpkin again? NOT just pumpkin soup. ANY kind of pumpkin.

12 years. AND – do you know the reason I ate it?

Because David’s (my hubby’s) mum made it, and he was there with me.

So it built up a WHOLE new association with pumpkin. Now, I roast pumpkin, I make pumpkin soup….I LOVE pumpkin.

But I never would have if I didn’t have an opportunity to build up positive associations with pumpkin again, through my positive association with my husband David.

In fact, for 12 years, just looking at pumpkin in the supermarket made me feel sour in the mouth.

And, I had to turn away. The association was that bad.

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Focus On This ONE Thing & he Won’t want to leave you

So what am I saying?

I’m saying, the exact same human mechanism of bad associations occurs in our relationships.

I’m saying that, when it comes to intimate relationships, your associations, and your MAN’S associations matter more than anything else, in making sure your partner never leaves you.

In the first 3 months, IF you’re madly in love, and your partner is madly in love with you, and someone comes up to you and asks:

“So do you want to break up with this person?”

You would look at them incredulously and say “no! Are you crazy!?”

All because your associations are great. He’s madly in love with you, he’s bringing his best self to the table daily you are madly in love with him, you are bringing your best self to the table daily.

So of course your associations are great.

You are BOTH filling each other up, meeting each other’s needs at the highest level, and making each other feel loved and significant and desired.

The associations that are being built at this stage are all positive, beautiful associations.

But, a year down the track, and all the other parts of you and your man come out.

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When Initial Excitement Wears Off, The Nasty Comes Out…

His plates aren’t cleaned like you expected them to be from the previous night. He said he’d clean them.

So you blame him. He feels unappreciated, hurt, disrespected, or worse of all – BLAMED.

What happens?

He thinks of you = he feels blamed.

It’s not so bad if it happens once.

But, over time, these things start stacking. And blame may not be the only bad emotion he associates with you. Now it’s blame, hurt, disgust, EVERYTHING.

This is why we can still LOVE someone, but grow apart.

Now, with Seal and Heidi, I don’t know what their patterns were that lead to the breakdown.

I’ll be really daring and hazard a guess. I say that the most likely case scenario is that the bad associations were partially built up through either one or both of them not feeling like they are being put first by the other. And that was a large contributor to the bad associations. 

Heidi is a busy woman, Seal is a busy man. Both of them have demanding careers. They have a life outside of their relationship, which is fantastic.

But it’s when your partner doesn’t feel the like the most significant and important person to you – when work seems to come before you – that you really start to associate them with different and worse feelings.

And what happens is this:

At the beginning, you were 0% likely to leave your partner.

After 3 years, you are 30% likely to break up with them. But you still have positive associations; enough for you both to get through.

After 5 years, you’re 60% likely to break up with them, or leave them.

After 7 years….all it takes now, is one fight.

One remark of disrespect.

And we decide it’s over.

Who want’s to be in a relationship where they associate more bad feelings than good with their lover?


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The non significance of marriage vows

Many people in the media have been saying that they thought Heidi and Seal would last, partly because they renewed their vows every year.

Well, this is why marriage vows count for nothing, when up against past bad associations. I wrote a post about it once, here.

It’s the daily conscious, compassionate and loving commitment to making each other’s associations positive, and not bad, that matters.

I am also excited to let you know that the Commitment Control 2.0 is already out. Click here to register to watch the Commitment Masterclass.

Leave me a comment below, I’d love to know what you are thinking. Maybe let me know your thoughts and experiences with bad associations in relationships. xox


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Thank you, Renee! I think this explanation is great – you helped us all to know what it is we can do on a day-to-day basis to keep relationships strong and vital. It’s really helpful. I appreciate it.


Thankyou for sharing your story Renee, although nobody necessarily wants to read about sick, it’s still a really good interpretation and I appreciate your good intentions. I feel that a good relationship goes past love chemicals and all, because that’s just not real. Whats really annoying is people who get into relationships for a chemical high, I really wish, wish that people wouldn’t do that but then maybe I’m too serious from a less serious persons point of veiw of finding something real and meaningful. One thing you’ll never catch me doing is going into a relationship with a man… Read more »

Reply to  Holly

To add……. I quickly looked it up, lol, me and my inquisitive mind. I just looked it up, their both air signs, Heidi a Gemini and Seal and Aquriouse (I know that’s the wrong spelling). Apparently, people saw their marriage as a fairytale, but then I read that in private, Heidi felt lonely and over burdened with trying to take care of a family and having a career, and seal felt overshadowed because Heidi earned more than him apparently. It said something about people saw Seal as Heidi’s husband. This is from an astrology report and although astrology might not… Read more »

Anna C
Anna C

I think this is the the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ENTRY in this entire blog. If there could only be one entry that people read, it is this. And that is because we do not realise how important our associations are when reacting to our spouse, and how, if they are not curtailed, can lead to the slow death of a relationship. Just when you start to doubt the relationship, you need to check out the associations you have with your partner. Most likely, they are bad associations built up within our subconscious. And our subconscious stores the bad associations by… Read more »

Anna C
Anna C
Reply to  Anna C

Hello Renee, Hope your new year is going well. I know it is, because I see how happy you are. It’s been a few years since I’ve started reading your blog. And I see I’ve written that this is the single most important article there… For me, I was right. As you know, my initial relationship ended. I still loved him, very much, but we grew so far apart. We would even regularly vacation separately. I think you said it best here to describe the reason we broke up: “when your partner doesn’t feel the like the most significant and… Read more »

Anna C
Anna C
Reply to  Anna C

I’m thankful for all the things I’ve learned, all the experiences I had, the non tangible gifts given and received, and the growth I’ve shared. I’m thankful for it.


I think you got one thing wrong at the top. The reason why a lot of people (especially white men) didn’t like her relationship isn’t because they were “jealous.” Most white men don’t find white women who date black men attractive and lose respect for them…..not get jealous. I even knew white women who lied about it because they were so embarrassed. Growing up in diverse urban neighborhoods (not the suburbs or countryside), young white men hear their black peers speak in an incredibly disrespectful and derogatory manner towards females, especially white women, and are not discreet in making their… Read more »

Reply to  Rolande

So what you’re saying here, Rolande, is that most people didn’t like their relationship because they were jealous. Rather, according to you, they are racist (which confirms Renee’s post!). Seal is an individual. You are associating him with SOME black men you may or may not have met and are assuming he is like them and therefore Heidi has devalued herself by dating him. This is YOUR problem because you are making assumptions and giddily applying them to people you do not know. It’s like assuming you’re a rapist because men rape more than women, you are a man, and… Read more »


You have read Dianetics I see….


Lovely article Renee. I agree it’s just really hard to keep up with positive associations when their is so much fighting about independence rather than caring about the others feelings. I love my man but we keep arguing about what love should look like, I’m ready to quit for peace and love sake

Reply to  Lilly

Don’t give up or quit. The reality of marriage means both of you will continue to change till the end. Don’t argue about what love should look like but what it should look like FOR you and listen to what he says it should look like FOR him. Acknowledge that you both have different love ‘languages’, and then promise to speak each other’s language i.e if what love looks like to him is you being home with dinner ready then do it (you may have to discuss though if you are working full time how realistic this is to do… Read more »

Anna C
Anna C
Reply to  Rache

This is good advice. People are changing constantly, even in marriages. You might find that 5 years down the road, the couple has turned into completely different people. The key here is to stay connected, and love that person as they change. A couple I knew who was married 30 years and still happy, told me that they have both changed, but, they changed together, and didn’t grow apart. As long as the path is parallel, no matter where it goes, you are fine. If it starts to split apart, that’s when the tension starts. It’s a valuable lesson I’ve… Read more »


I was sad to hear about their break up since the seemed like an ideal couple but we don’t know what was going on between them. I agree with everything you said. I hate how growing apart is used as an excuse to divorce when other options are available, counseling, making changes and compromise. I’m a bit old fashioned on this where I believe in the marriage vows for better or worse, not just until things go stale with the exception of extreme cases like repeated adultery or abuse, etc. I also feel taking a time up(not divorce) could be… Read more »

Reply to  Adrienne

could not agree more! perfectly said


Renee- This is very true, and I’ve watched it happen with my parents. As long as i can remember, my father and mother had a good relationship. My mom would take care of the kids and my dad would go to work during the day: a traditional family. However, as i was growing, they kinda stopped talking less and less when my mother got a job. I was happy for her as she could be working and be independent, but her job was full time… So my dad would wait for her. He didn’t know how to reach her in… Read more »

Reply to  Mona

Hey Mona, Thanks for this real life story of your parents. It’s very sad how us humans, we mean well and we want to make things work – but often, we don’t even know how. This sounds a bit like your father and what he was going through. And I love your viewpoint on Seal and Heidi needing to part in order to keep loving each other. That’s insightful. Because, as the associations get worse and worse, and if we just keep stacking and stacking on the bad associations, we can stop caring altogether, and be completely indifferent to the… Read more »


Thanks Renee – this post is very timely for me. We are at the eight year mark of our relationship and even though we truly love each other, we seem to be arguing about silly things all the time! Every few weeks we both agree that it’s over between us, but then we miss each other too much and get back together again! I could not understand why we both had all this resentment cropped up towards each other. Now it all makes sense – we were SUBCONSCIOUSLY focusing on all the bad associations, but not CONSCIOUSLY focusing on building… Read more »

Reply to  Elmine

Elmine, hi! Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree with you, what a great way to put it – “we were SUBCONSCIOUSLY focusing on all the bad associations, but not CONSCIOUSLY focusing on building positive associations.”

What we focus on is so powerful, and that can always change as quickly as we want it to. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it! 🙂

Reply to  Renee

I like that Renee focus is important, it’s what we focus on that makes and shapes our future. : )

Reply to  Renee

I like that Renee focus is important, it’s what we focus on that makes and shapes our future. : )

Reply to  Renee

I agree! Ultimately i believe love and staying in love is a decision. While the bad associations may be stacking up, if we decide we will continue to love in spite of this and then focus on building up positive associations, eventually we will find emotional love re-kindled and burning brighter than before… Divorcing does not solve the problem. You will just repeat the process again with a different partner. The grass is never greener on the other side especially when all yours need is a little tender care…

Anna C
Anna C
Reply to  Rache

I agree wholeheartedly with Rache. Love is a decision. And it is said that it takes 5 positive associations to counteract 1 negative association to make the relationship work. Yes, associations are that important. And the intensity of your 1 bad association guides how intense the other 5 positive associations need to be in order to counter act it. Yes, limiting the bad associations is key. Very insightful, everyone’s comments.

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