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Comparing Partners

Comparing Partners

Comparing Partners

If you recognize yourself as one of those who worries your relationship is lacking because it doesn’t lend itself to romantic Facebook posts, stop comparing.

Remember that no one really knows what goes on between two people except them. Once people go home and off line, their very private lives may or may not be anything like what is on FaceBook. People we think are a terrible mismatch may actually find each other very exciting. Those who we think are a match made in heaven may find living with each other as a daily hell. It’s ridiculous to compare yourself with what you only think is going on.

Recognize that people’s idea of the perfect relationship may be very different from your own. Quit comparing your present significant other to past partners, your best friend’s relationship or the prince (or princess) charming you dream of. It’s unfair to ask anyone to be constantly compared and come up short. Imagine if that were happening to you. It’s painful to always feel like you are a disappointment.

Start Enriching Your Relationship

Remind yourself of the things you love about your partner. Every night, before you go to sleep, think about why you are grateful to have him or her in your life. Research shows that being grateful deepens relationships. An unexpected outcome of those studies is that being grateful also makes us more kind.

Take responsibility for your own role when things aren’t as sweet as you’d like. You can’t make your partner be different. But changes in your own behavior can and do set something different in motion. Couples are an ecological system. Your partner is likely to react positively to something you do to make a positive change. If there is genuine abuse going on, it’s of course important to let go and move on. But if things are generally okay and you’d like them to be better, start doing better yourself.

Do random acts of kindness. In the hubbub of daily life, it can be easy to forget to do the little things that make your partner smile. Make it a point to quietly, regularly, do the random helpful and appreciative acts that make life a little easier or more pleasant for that most important person in your life. Use the language of courtesy (please, thank you, excuse me). Be generous with compliments. Do something that is usually her or his chore — just because. It’s not necessary to make a big splash. In fact, most people would rather have 100 little things than 1 big important one (although occasional huge expressions of love are wonderful too).

Reach out and touch your partner, regularly and often. Touch says as much, sometimes more, than words. Simple things like holding hands, hugging, stroking your partner’s arm or hair are the stuff of real intimacy and reassurance. Loving touch affirms your connection and lets you both know that your relationship is special. People who have positive, loving relationships are happier, healthier and even kinder than those who don’t.

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