Turn Envy Into Inspiration
It’s just two days before Valentine’s Day and if you’re single, you may find yourself feeling a little jealous of anyone who’s in a romantic relationship. They seem to be everywhere this time of year. In fact, social media makes it nearly impossible to avoid those gooey, romantic photos of blissful couples in love. Do you find yourself feeling a little relationship envy?
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Even if you’re in a relationship, you can still have relationship envy. It often crops up when you least expect it or right after a fight with your significant other. While it’s natural to be curious about someone else’s relationship and even find yourself wanting what they have from time to time, know that chronic jealousy will only eat away at you—and your relationship—over time. If someone else’s seemingly blissful relationship leaves you feeling less than loved, it’s time to nip that envy in the bud and discover what’s good about your own love story. Here are four ways to handle relationship envy.
1. Remember, You’re Just Seeing the Highlights
When it comes to social media, remind yourself that you’re seeing the highlights of another person’s romantic relationship. People don’t tend to share the low points of their life. All the fights and the drama are neatly tucked away. So when you have relationship envy in this case, you’re envying the highlight reel—not the day to day reality. There’s much more to a relationship than the carefully curated images and anecdotes that get shared online. In fact, some may argue that the more lovey-dovey a couple appears on social media, the more problems they likely have in real life. What’s so enviable about that?
2. Stop Playing the Comparison Game
Do you know the old adage “To compare is to despair”? It couldn’t be truer when it comes to relationship envy. Fixating on another couple’s love life—and making all sorts of assumptions about the issues and problems you think they don’t have—only erodes the love and trust within your own bond. It’s impossible to fairly compare your life with another’s because you never know the whole story. And chances are you never will. So when the desire to compare romantic relationships creeps in, remind yourself how destructive that inner monologue can be.
3. Rediscover Your Gratitude
Nipping relationship envy in the bud is pretty simple if you can commit to doing a gratitude practice every day. When comparison or longing thoughts intrude your mind (or even when they don’t), grab a journal and jot down three things you really appreciate or even love about your current relationship or partner. Think about the qualities your partner has that bring out the best in you and that makes him or her such a great person to go through life with. That list doesn’t have to include grand gestures alone. You should be equally grateful for the day to day things your partner does to make your relationship work.
4. Focus on Making Your Relationship Great
Finally, you can use your relationship envy to shed light on what aspects of your relationship you’d like to improve. If you truly admire aspects of someone else’s relationship and want them for your own, think about what you and your partner can do to make it happen. If you envy another couple’s closeness, why not have weekly date nights with your partner? And if you want your partner to be more helpful around the house just like someone else’s partner, encourage your partner to take ownership of some household chores. Just be delicate in your approach. Instead of saying you wish they did something like so-and-so does for their partner, focus on how doing what you want them to do would make you feel.
Relationship envy is not healthy. Instead of wanting what someone else has, look to their relationship for inspiration. That’s much healthier! See what they have and make it work for your relationship. Once you have what they have, and in a way that works for you, you’ll have nothing to be envious about.
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