A few years ago, I was in a relationship with someone that was kind and caring, and in the beginning, things were going great.
After a few months, however, I began to get a restless feeling of wanting to run away.
I started to focus on all the things that my partner didn’t do and daydream about how things would be different with someone else.
Psychologists refer to this as the “grass is greener syndrome,” and it’s an implication that someone is unsatisfied with certain aspects of their life.
“The hallmark of the “grass is greener syndrome” is the idea that there is always something better that we are missing. So rather than experiencing stability, security, and satisfaction in the present environment, the feeling is there is more and better elsewhere, and anything less than ideal won’t do”
Believing I would be happier if I dove into a new relationship, I left my boyfriend abruptly and dated someone new that came with a whole set of very serious issues.
The grass is almost never greener on the other side.
I found from personal experience how detrimental seemingly “innocent” daydreaming can be and learned new behaviors to prevent myself from falling into the same trap again and again.
Here are some ways that you can deal with the grass is greener syndrome if you feel like it is interfering with a healthy relationship.
Stop comparing your relationship
I cannot tell you how many times I have had to hide someone’s social media account from my feed because I found myself depressed and wondering why my boyfriend and I weren’t living the same kind of life.
Social media makes it far too easy to believe that our relationships have something to be desired.
After all, when you are gazing at a seemingly perfect couple, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of assuming they have the perfect house, perfect kids, perfect life, perfect jobs, etc.
The reality is that no one’s relationship is without its flaws.
Everyone is human, and someone’s online profile is never depicting everything behind the scenes.
Identify how often you are fantasizing
It is normal to occasionally think about what things would be like in an alternative universe.
For example, a couple of nights ago, I was video chatting with some friends, and someone asked the question, “What if you were in quarantine with your first boyfriend?” This thought led to a full-on discussion of how different our lives would be and how grateful we are to be with our current partners.
I want to stress that occasional thoughts are not the issue. The issue is when we allow these thoughts to be constant, and they begin to take hold of us.
If you are continually imagining being with someone else, you are allowing it to interfere with being present with your partner, and it has become an issue that you need to face.
Assess what you are feeling
The constant anxiety that I used to feel in relationships stemmed from two main feelings that I didn’t want to face.
Fear and self-doubt.
When any conflict would arise, my mind would begin to form thoughts of how much easier things would be if I were dating someone else. From there, the seed would be planted, and my relationship would begin to unravel.
Being vulnerable with someone can be one of the most terrifying things we ever do, but it can also be one of the most rewarding.
By voicing what you feel it will allow more transparency into your relationship, and it will most likely bring you and your partner closer.
Practice being present in your relationship
If I could go back in time, I would have changed one thing about my mindset in previous relationships.
I would have been more present.
I constantly overanalyzed situations and felt like if my boyfriend and I didn’t end up together “forever,” it was going to be a waste of time. Instead of enjoying the little moments, I often let a cloud hang over them because of the future.
Relationships ebb and flow and none of them are created equal.
Why worry about forever when you could enjoy what you have at this moment?
As long as a relationship is healthy and you and your partner respect each other, then you should focus and try to nourish what you have now, instead of yearning to be on other pastures.