This is why you think life would be better with someone else.
Love and relationships are easy when they first begin.
The rush of emotion and attraction fuels a seemingly never-ending flood of want, desire, and passion.
A few months pass and a relationship with "I love you"s and great times has now formed.
All is bliss.
Fast-forward a few years…
All the cute little behaviors you loved at the beginning are no big deal anymore.
Shaving or dressing up now takes either going to work or the proverbial “special occasion.”
Dinner out has become grocery shopping.
Weekend getaways are fewer due to work and family commitments.
Things are normal—meaning that they are just day-to-day.
Life is now life, and the newness of the relationship has worn off a touch.
The relationship is comfortable. They feel familiar to you. You know them.
Life together is "unspontaneous."
And then… you see someone who catches your eye.
You talk to them and they are so interesting. You feel a connection, and you can’t stop thinking about them.
And this is where the grass starts to looks greener — you start to wonder why you found your current partner attractive in the first place.
Those loving feelings you had for your partner have given way to resentment.
The problems you have (and all relationships have them) seem huge now, and insurmountable.
You mentally start packing your bags.
The notion that the “grass is greener” derives from a single place: that there is something better out there for you, and you’re missing out.
What you have might be secure, stable, and satisfying, but it isn’t “great,” it’s just good.
The possibilities you can see—or can’t yet see, but you know they’re out there—are possibly/probably too good not to at least consider.
In essence, greener grass is accepting possibilities and fantasies are reality.
We desire what we don’t have or what we might yet get, so we give up what we have in order to see what might be.
In love, this most often happens after the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship passes. The newness and novelty wear off, and we miss the exciting, unknown parts of love and attraction.
In the series, couples whose marriages are in turmoil leave their current spouse to participate in Switch Therapy—during which they will be partnered up with an experimental spouse to gain perspective and new skills in communication, negotiation, and partnership.
These brave couples will then bring those rejuvenated skills back to their real marriages at the conclusion of the two-week experiment.
What these couples will learn—should they choose to keep their minds open—is similar to what everyone needs to accept: no relationship or partner is perfect, and shiny grass is an illusion.
The challenge is to keep the grass as green as possible, which sometimes might take some outside help, like in the case of the couples on Seven Year Switch.
But no matter what, it won’t remain as green as the moment we first set foot on it.
And here is the reality.
The grass only seems greener because of our perception:
- You can’t compare a new relationship to an established one.
New relationships are filled with mystery, questions, excitement, and wonder. It’s the discovery that drives much of the attraction. And once that newness wears off, you’ll be left with an established relationship.
- Infatuation might feel emotional, but much of it is chemical.
The chemical reaction for new love is intense. The brain is flooded with dopamine, and our primal mating desires kick in. That’s not love; it’s lust and desire.
- Contrast can mislead you.
If you’re experiencing any challenges in your current relationship, comparing them to something that is shiny and new will only serve to make your current relationship look unfulfilling and unhappy.
Just like the participants on Seven Year Switch are discovering this week, attraction is normal.
When you’re married, you’re in love with someone and want to be with them; you’re not dead. Finding someone desirable is part of what makes us human.
It’s our choices when thinking about and dealing with that attraction that defines us.
Don’t be fooled by the grass is greener syndrome.
The grass is greener where you water it. Relationships require investing in and re-upping every day.
If you aren’t putting in, you’re disconnecting.
If you think you’re missing out on something or someone else, it likely means that you have already disconnected from your current partner.
That doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is over; it means you’re checked out. Sure you could try to build something new with someone else, but if you wait just a little while, that shiny, new relationship will be old and established before you know it.
Charles J. Orlando is a relationship expert, bestselling author, and is the expert host of FYI’s smash hit docu-drama Seven Year Switch, which airs every Tuesday at 8pm on FYI. Check your local listings, or visit FYI.tv for viewing information in your area.