In today’s world, comparison with others is the order of the day. On many subjects, we do not stop comparing ourselves, whether professionally, physically, with our children … and our relationship as a couple too.
I regularly hear in my accompaniments reflections such as: “In the couples I know, it goes well despite everything…” or “Many people make do with…” or “Yes, but my parents stayed together anyway…”.
This is a very important phenomenon that takes up a lot of space in our lives, just observe for a few moments: does it happen to you?
Observe your couple from your own point of view and not that of others.
When you compare what you do in your relationship with another, or when you compare your partner with another in his attitudes, in his actions, you set in motion an extraordinary inner judge. This one will not be objective and impartial.
One of the important consequences is the increase of frustration, envy, jealousy… that you might feel towards your couple or your partner.
From that moment on, you are no longer present in your relationship, but in this comparison which will often lead you to an idealization of it.
Your gaze will be the only answer to your needs in your couple. The way you look at yourself, at your partner and at your relationship will allow you to be objective in the relationship that you currently have or that you want.
It is important to be aware of this aspect, because your own way of looking at yourself evolves as days and years go by… You no longer have the same desires, the same needs, the same expectations. By comparing yourself to another couple, your need will inevitably be distorted, because you cannot know where the other is in the relationship they are currently living.
Here is an example: at the beginning of a couple relationship, you will give a lot of importance to your partner inviting you to a restaurant once a month for example, and then over the years, what will be most important for you will be to spend one evening a month at home without children. While for your friend it is important to go to the theater every week.
At this point, if you don’t take the time to look at yourself, your couple and your needs, and stay in the comparison. You might forget what is important for you and your couple. On the other hand, if it awakens in you a need that you had put aside, then this is the opportunity to express it to your partner.
You will observe that the most important thing is your own look!
We all need reference points, so how do we do it?
Benchmarks are established from childhood, the child looks at his parents (or the figures of education) and reproduces the same thing, repeats the same words, the same attitudes. Have you ever observed this? It’s normal, and it’s part of the process.
On the other hand, as an adult we have the choice to create new points of reference for ourselves. It’s not necessarily simple, because the easiest thing to do is to reproduce what we see around us, what we’ve seen in the past in our family, what’s socially acceptable and even what we see on television… So, where do we find these answers in this need for reference points?
Not a simple answer, is it?
And yet it is the only answer that will allow you to move forward in your current or future relationship.
Your points of reference evolve with whom you become, with your own experiences, with your own history and not that of others. The opinion of others is only the life of others!
How many couples will choose to live without children and others will not? How many couples want to live separately and others don’t?
What is the age difference that will make a couple work?
Who knows what is the best answer for you in your relationship? Only you and no one else. You are unique, your partner is unique and your couple is unique.
How do you get out of this trap of comparison?
- The first step is to realize that you need the other person’s opinion, to do like the other person or sometimes you find it difficult to make decisions on your own.
- The second step: when you begin to become aware of this, try to write down in a small journal what you have observed, is it always the same question or the same subject for which you are asking an outside person’s opinion on your relationship? Do you have the opportunity to find your own answer? Think of yourself as an observer.
- The third step: ask yourself the following questions “If I rely solely on my opinion, what will I do? How will I feel? What would be the worst thing that could happen if I made this decision? What am I afraid of? Is it justified?
If you don’t have any clear answers emerging, it’s totally OK! Give yourself a few days and go back over your notes to see if there has been a change or if an answer emerges.
To conclude, regularly remind yourself that when you look at another couple, even if it is a couple of friends who are quite close to you. You will only see in this one what they want to show you, and you will never see the whole picture of what is going on between them.