Friday, October 11, 2013

Step Ten: Avoiding Comparison

I am far more guilty of this than anyone has the right to be. We are constantly surrounded with relationships of all types: media, celebrities, movies, TV, music, family, friends, friends of friends...It's easier than ever to snoop your nose into someone's "private life" through social media. The problem is you're not seeing the whole story. For all the people who are over-sharers and tell every bit to their lives, there are also those who only share the good parts. Or only share the bad. So what you end up "seeing" is a rather one-sided and heavily audience-influenced view of what's going on in that relationship.

Since every relationship is different, there is no "one way" that relationships work. Even this series may not work for everyone. You're only doing yourself a disservice to nitpick and compare how different your relationship is from someone else's. We all have different skeletons in our closet so there's no way to determine what's working or not working. For every blog you read that gushes about the sweet date nights their husband takes them on, maybe they're not disclosing the awful fights their having about money or their nightly battles about the in-laws.
I hear from my girlfriends all.the.time about comparing their situation to someone else's. Guys want to be like him and girls want to be like her and instead of being true to themselves and the things that they want they butt heads because neither is the person they wanted to be. If you're projecting onto your spouse that you wish they were different, or that you're relationship were different, then you're sending the message that your partner is inadequate. And where's the fun in that?
Comparison can quickly boil down to resentment. Which leads to hate which leads to anger which leads to suff- oh, you get the idea. Neither partner in the relationship deserves to be compared to anyone else. It's a disservice to them and a disservice to the commitment you made to each other. 
I've found that the best remedy for comparing relationships is two-fold: communicate with one another and double-date. If your needs or goals have changed (or if you suspect his have) and you find yourself idly wishing for something else- talk to your partner about it! Address the situation and explain how you feel. Don't harbor bad feelings because they can often seep out at unexpected times and create a bigger mess than you intended. 
That double-date? I wasn't kidding. Try hanging out with another couple to see how they work in person. Often times there's a lot of hidden communication and/or tension that you don't see in scripted photos or those perfect Christmas card blurbs. 
You married your significant other because they were themselves. Maybe it was because they made you laugh, or they saved you from your darkest days, or their fingers tickling baby toes makes your heart go aflutter. Whatever it is, you chose them. Specifically. Instead of all the other people in this world. Don't undermine that by comparing them to something (or someone) they aren't.

No comments:

Post a Comment

It's so easy to comment and I would love to hear from you!
Mrs. E