“Having it all” is a fantasy. The 'Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome' of comparison is a futile place to live. There is simply no such thing as the perfect partner. By extension, there’s no such thing as the perfect job, the perfect place to live or the perfect house. When I hear that a client is falling prey to the 'Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome', I ask if they’ve found themselves in a similar place of obsessive comparisons regarding other aspects of their lives. They almost always respond affirmatively. One client recently said to me, “Not only do I compare my fiancé to other men, I’m always thinking about other places we could live and other jobs I could have. The truth is that I’m with a great guy and live in an adorable town and have a stable, good-paying job, and I’m missing it all.” Feeling Disconnected From Your Partner?
We live in a “you can have it all culture”, and no where is this message more pronounced than around the wedding and one’s choice of a marriage partner. We’re indoctrinated to believe that we can and should have it all, and that anything less than perfection in a mate is settling. When I ask my clients to tell me about their partners, they almost invariably reply with some version of this: “He (or she) is kind, caring, responsible, loyal, honest and hard-working. We enjoy each other’s company and are attracted to each other. He’s my best friend and the person I want to be around most.” When I ask about any potential red-flag issues such as abuse, addiction, betrayal, irreconcilable differences regarding core values or religion, the clients laugh and say, “Oh, no, nothing like that!” Do your parents and friends think you’re a good match? Yes. Is he or she someone who would make a good lifetime partner? Definitely. Hmmm. This sounds like a far cry from settling to me. It sounds more like a bad case of the 'Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome.' Which Works - Getting Love Or Being Loving?
What is the antidote? Connect to and express appreciation and gratitude. One of the most common exercises I suggest to my clients is to write a love letter every day to their partner (to send or not). I ask them to write down all of the qualities they love and appreciate about their spouse-to-be even if they’re not connecting to those positive qualities right now. I suggest that they actively express appreciation and gratitude to their partner every day either verbally or through writing. Appreciation and gratitude will automatically shift the person’s attention so that instead of focusing on the negative what’s missing, they begin to focus on the positive and what’s working. 7 Suggestions For Saving Your Sinking Relationship