When you compare your relationship to others, you are seeing someone else’s rehearsed, perfected video. But you know all the outtakes and missed cues behind the scenes of your own video. In other words, you are comparing apples to oranges, and you are bound to come up short. When you do, it can’t help but make you sad and dissatisfied about what you don’t have.
In actuality, there may be nothing wrong with your relationship. Every one is different, and there is really no way of knowing if yours is better or worse that your neighbor’s because you can’t be with them 24 hours a day. You can’t see what goes on in their private moments. You can only see your own.
When you compare yourself to others, especially if you compare yourself unfavorably, you are creating something to be unhappy about. Try to resist this toxic behavior. Instead, think of what you have to be grateful for in your relationship.
It isn’t easy. It’s natural to compare your relationship in two ways—to the relationships you’ve had before, and the relationships of your friends.
Every relationship is unique. When you compare to your previous relationships, you have to remember that you are at a different time and place in your life. You are a different person than you were when your former boyfriend brought you flowers on a regular basis. You have a different dynamic with your current partner, who never thinks to bring you flowers, but who always fills the gas tank for you. Or whatever it is that he does to demonstrate he cares.
Even when the comparison is good, it’s a bad idea. Essentially, even making good comparisons is a time waster. Truly happy people don’t need to note how much better they are than others. While you’re wondering about other people, you could be spending time with the person you’re with at the moment. And when you overanalyze, it’s just confusing. Comparing with others devalues your current relationship.
Break the comparison habit. Ask yourself, does comparing my relationship with others reap any rewards? Probably not. It may even hurt your relationship by creating unwanted competition with something that may be a fantasy, since others are not always what they seem. Every time you catch yourself making a comparison, substitute that by thinking of something to be grateful for in your current relationship. Be positive and be persistent. Bad habits take time to eradicate, but you can do it.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact