Taking a poll… who of you out there has ever (if not always) compared their relationship to other people’s relationships? Be it your friends’, family members’, etc. If your hand isn’t up, you are kidding yourself, because EVERYONE has done it. In fact, it might be one of, if not the worst thing that people do in relationships. I’m certainly guilty of doing it. I have quite a few friends who’ve done it. It’s kind of what makes the world go round… but truly shouldn’t, because it’s bad news and totally messes with happiness.
I can remember 6 years ago, when my husband and I were still dating and living with each other, and every time I’d see another one of my friends, former colleagues, or sorority sisters get engaged, I’d pretty much lose it. Freak out on my guy, cry in the bathroom, and try to psychoanalyze our relationship to figure out why we weren’t coasting on the same road, at the same speed, as all of our peers. It almost got to the point of ultimatum - ‘Babe, if I see another person post a ring selfie before I have a ring on my finger, I’m ✌️✌️✌️TF out’ - which was sooo unfair of me, especially when my man was putting in ALL the work BTS to make sure I did have a sparkler on my hand ASAP.
It’s easy to get those grass-is-always-greener feels when you’ve got your head buried in your phone+scrolling through #blessed pics on social all day everyday, overhear your co-worker talking about the epic trip they’re going on with bae next week, or just can’t tear yourself away from all the DVR-ed eps of Bachelor in Paradise/Bachelorette that paint the picture of true happiness only in Mexico or the Maldives. But you definitely don’t have to succumb to the sour-pussiness that follows it.
Instead, you can try out one of these things to make you stop leveling out YOUR love with the relationships around you. At the end of the day, you have absolutely no clue about what’s going on in the lovegames of your nearest and dearest, so you have no definitive proof that your relationship is any better or any worse. Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan aren’t together anymore. Remember that.
Understand that relationships are truly all different
Comparing your relationship to everyone else’s is seriously like comparing apples to oranges. Yah, they’re both fruit, but some days apples are better, other days oranges are. One has a super thin skin - and can be punctured really easily, the other is more durable, has a thicker peel and can be thrown around a lot more before showing signs of injury. Not one relationship is alike, and that’s the beauty of love. If you can acknowledge that your relationship doesn’t need to meet standards or milestones, then you’ll be much happier. The pressure will be off.
Photo Credit: Joanna Nix on Unsplash
Consider your circumstances, which might help you reset a bit
Look, we all can’t be Blake and Ryan / John and Chrissy / JT and Jessica happy. I mean, they’re amazing, and they obvi love each other HARD, but they do have lots in their lives to be happy about. A comfortable, good life, a safe and secure financial future, popularity and praise on the reg, it’s not everything, of course, but it helps to eliminate or at least diffuse some of those usual relationship stressors. Yes, it sucks to see good friends of yours always jetting off to fun places / honeymooning for more than one week / eating fancy dins all the time (while you’re just dining on HelloFresh during the week --- #boujeemuch?), but so what? If they have the means, they have the means! Maybe you’re not engaged yet, because you or your honey is still in school, maybe you’re not in a house yet, because you want to save more, maybe THEY’RE on vacay all the time, because they know once the kids come, that’ll change real quick. Deconstructing your own situation has a way of illuminating things!
Use happy examples to re-up your edge
Alright, so instead of depressing yourself with all the comings and goings of the ‘much happier’ pairs in your life, use their examples as inspiration for your own life. Did one of your friends just do a fun cooking class with his/her cutie and you wish you were there with yours? Did one of your coworkers just start a straight-off-the-bat successful side hustle with her husband, and you’re jealous you didn’t think to do it first? Stop saying ‘I WISH’ we were like that, and change your tune to ‘OMG, how cool is what Cara and Colton are doing with each other? Can we try it?’ or ‘We’re so good at X, Y, Z, have you ever thought of us teaming up together on something bigger??’ If you’re going to make comparisons, at least use them to improve your relationship - on BOTH of your terms.
Get offline and get social in other ways
Social media is the worst thing for perpetuating feelings of inadequateness in your relationship, so seriously, just get off Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. and invest the time in recreation and relationship building with your other half. Go to the movies, go see Hamilton, go to Iceland, but do it as a bonding thing with your boy or girl. Alternately, rather than sitting at home and acting salty about everything you feel you’re lacking in the relationship department, use the time to talk to your S.O. about what’s on your mind. What you’d like to be doing more or less of, what you want to work on that seems to be missing in your love story as of late. Also, just for fun, try to go out with all of those people who you just admire so much, and see what they’re like together IRL. I’ve no joke been on dinner dates with friends before - the girl literally asking her boyf why he wasn’t more like X, Y, and Z, imploding before us three bottles of wine in, and thought ‘Okay, well, we all have issues. We good babe 😘.’ Realizing that our relationships are ALL hot messes at one point or another really helps even the playing field.
Reserve #relationshipgoals just for you
These two words have really effed up life for us all. Any time we see them or reference them, we’re putting identifiers on what we think 💯-level relationships are like. And in the process, we’re cheapening our own relationships. At the risk of sounding like we should be perpetuating the comparison conundrum ourselves, we’ll just say this. Any time you’re having a particularly kickass, healthy, happy, lovey dovey, weird, but totally-you-two experience with your PIC, post that s*** and tag it #relationshipgoals. But ONLY in reference to yourselves. If you can become the role models, the muses for what you’re ultimately after in your partnership, then you’re doing it right! Find your own weird, love it and appreciate it.
We’re not saying that Sarah Hyland and Wells Adams have it all figured out… but gotta say, they don’t seem to do much comparing. Happy couples usually don’t. Taco Bell trips are ALWAYS #relationshipgoals for them.