Why Comparing Your Relationship to Others is Never a Good Idea
Comparing our lives to others is something we do a lot. Be it academic accomplishments or something else, we compare pretty much everything to others. But when it comes to the person you’re involved with, it’s important to remember that comparing your relationship to others is never a good idea.
In relationships, we can compare our relationship to others in two ways:
We compare the relationship to someone else’s.
We compare it to a past relationship or relationships.
If you are guilty of this type of comparison, don’t worry. Comparing your relationship to others is not unheard of.
We live in a society where certain types of relationships are glamorized. A simple Google search or visit to Twitter can deliver a plethora of hashtags related to #RelationshipGoals or #CouplesGoals. It’s easy to give way to this adornment and question your own relationship.
However, there are several reasons you should resist the urge to compare. Take a look below to find out why and how to stop comparing your relationship to others.
You should never compare your relationships to others because it is toxic.
Getting caught up in comparisons blinds you to the good things about your own relationship. You end up ruminating over the things your relationship lacks, which can lead to sadness and resentment toward your partner.
Rather than feeling blessed and appreciative that you found someone who adores you, you end up feeling like you are not getting enough out of your relationship. Ask yourself what it is about your relationship that you feel keeps it from measuring up to the ideal. Maybe you are attaching the following ideas to so-called “perfect” couples:
They enjoy expensive, lavish date nights pretty much all the time.
They go on exotic trips.
They are constantly in a state of bliss together.
With social media, it’s easy for couples to project an image of perfection to the outside world. However, it is important to remember that you are only seeing a portion of this pair’s life, and it’s a portion they are choosing to show the world.
These couples aren’t going to use social media to showcase the bad and ugly side of their love life. Like you, they have arguments, embarrassing moments and boring evenings. But you don’t get to see that from the comfort of your smartphone or laptop. And you certainly shouldn’t allow another couple’s social media to leave you questioning your own relationship.
Now, there is nothing wrong with being inspired by another couple’s experience or admiring the affection between two people. You can certainly learn new things and gain insights into your own relationship via another couple.
But when you begin to compare your life to others, it becomes toxic for your relationship. When you go from admiring a couple to fixating over why their relationship seems so perfect, it can start to take a toll on your everyday life.
Don’t give into this toxicity. Take a break from social media in favor of taking some time to admire your own relationship and the things that make it special.
You Don’t Know Everything
Each relationship is different and has its own way of working. When comparing your relationship to others, it’s often during times a picture of another couple pops up on your newsfeed, a glossy magazine cover displays a celebrity couple’s picture alongside a headline about wedding bells, or when you see a couple getting cozy out in public.
Ask yourself how much you actually know about someone’s relationship. Even if you are friends with a couple, you can’t possibly know everything about them. Remember that even trusted friends aren’t going to tell you all the details of their — and they shouldn’t. Their relationship is their business. Furthermore, if a couple is dealing with a conflict, they are most likely going to deal with that matter privately.
When you hop on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you see a couple enjoying their vacation or their date on the beach. But remember that you weren’t there this morning when they were having a hideous shouting match over the house chores, were you?
Plus, you cannot know all about somebody’s relationship. This is regardless of whether a couple keeps it low-key on social media or chooses to post every teeny tiny detail about their relationship online.
It is their relationship and therefore, should stay between them. Don’t let grand acts of PDA on social media dictate relationship.
The (Unnecessary) Blame Game
You could risk destroying your relationship if you start blaming them for not fitting an ideal image. When you start comparing your relationship to others, it may leave you feeling inferior. This insecurity can manifest itself into anger and you might find yourself snapping at your partner. Picture saying the following things to your partner:
“Why don’t we do fun things like Julie and Matt?”
“George and Alice are the best couple. They’re perfect. Why can’t we be more like them?”
“Jessica and Adam have the type of relationship I wish that we had.”
“I could be having a way better time if I was dating someone like Patrick!”
Not very nice, huh?
When you tell a lover that you wish they were more like someone else or that your relationship mimicked another’s, you are basically telling them this:
“You’re not good enough.”
“Our relationship isn’t good enough for me.”
“I’d rather be with someone else.”
“I want to change you.”
This unnecessary blame will eat away at the bond you have with your partner.
More importantly, while you spend time blaming your lover, ask yourself this: Have you been taking any responsibility for yourself?
It is very important to know that the notion of acting like someone or being with someone else instead of your current boyfriend or girlfriend can change your relationship issues.
So, you need to make some changes. Instead of playing the blame game, focus on what you two have. Pay attention to your bond and why you got together in the first place. Obviously, there were several things that drew you to your partner but you may need to remind yourself of these things more often.
Remember and pay attention to small gestures that make you feel affection toward your partner. This can include things like the way they make you laugh, how they go out of their way to make you happy, how they are a major help with chores and the like.
It’s easy to take a relationship for granted, particularly when you’ve been with someone for a long time. That’s why it’s important to reflect on the things that make your relationship great. When you do this, you will uncover a new appreciation for your relationship, which will strengthen your bond. When you reflect upon these things, you will begin to appreciate your relationship more than before as often, we take these things for granted.
Embrace and Enjoy the Uniqueness of Your Relationship
We are all unique individuals. Because no two people are exactly alike, this, in turn, means that no two relationships are the same. Each relationship has different dynamics and therefore, comparing your relationship to others is pointless.
If you have been happy and satisfied in your relationship, why let someone else’s depiction of their love story ruin that?
Remember that you don’t even know if what they share is true! If you are satisfied, then nothing else matters. No relationship is perfect. If you have been happy overall up until this point, why let yourself get bothered by other couples?
Enjoy and embrace the love that you and your partner share. Both of you are unique and so is your relationship. Comparing won’t get you anywhere. Rather, it will complicate things.
Remember, imitating others does not help you in life. If there is something that bothers you about your relationship, then work on it instead of striving to replicate someone else’s love story.
You and your partner are different.
The couple you are getting jealous of is different.
Focus on yourself and your needs first as life is more about your situations than others.
Make that Jealousy Work to Your Advantage
It’s normal to feel jealous sometimes. Everyone experiences jealousy now and then.
Let’s say you see a couple going to this expensive restaurant or a couple trekking somewhere amazing while you and your partner are watching Netflix on the couch. No one can help but compare.
But rather than feel jealous, why not turn that negative reaction into something positive? Let that jealousy inspire you instead.
Plan something. Sometimes watching others makes you realize how long you haven’t been on a date night or spent quality time. Don’t let yourself become frustrated by treating your love life as a competition. Instead, try to get inspiration and ideas from other couples to do something fun on your own that you both can enjoy.