Let’s face it, we live in a society where comparison is common. We compare clothing style, weight, hair colour, Instagram follower counts, and even relationships.
The comparisons with relationships happen in two ways,
1. Comparing your relationship with someone else’s.
2. Comparing your current relationship, to your past relationships.
And I’m here to say,
Cut it out.
Comparing your relationship with someone else’s.
Comparing your relationship easy to do in a society that glamourizes certain relationships, and has sayings and social media pages filled with ‘couple goals’. But it’s toxic.
It’s toxic because it puts you in the mindset of being sad over what you don’t have, instead of appreciating what you do have.
It’s also toxic because, each relationship is different. Each relationship has it’s own way of working, and that’s okay.
It’s also toxic because we don’t see everything. Whether it’s a couple on Instagram or your best friend’s relationship, you’re never going to fully know the full details of their relationships. Sure, couples that take cute photos kissing on the beach seem ideal, but what you don’t see is their two in the morning screaming matches over dishes in the sink.
You never know what’s truly going on in someone’s relationship, whether they stay low-key or make Instagram posts daily. And you shouldn’t. That’s their relationship, and it should therefore stay between them.
But, don’t let social media relationships or relationships your friends are in dictate yours.
Sometimes I myself am guilty of this. I’ll be out with my partner and I’ll see couples taking pictures together and I’ll say ‘why can’t we be like them?’
But I’m not them. My relationship isn’t theirs but that doesn’t mean my relationships isn’t amazing too. Maybe I don’t take super cute photos on mountain tops, but I do have someone who lets me cry on their shoulder when the world feels like it’s crashing down. I have someone who will send me cute good morning texts, or holds my hand as I conquer my fears. And maybe, that’s relationship goals too.
Comparing your relationship to past relationships.
I’ll be honest, this one is a little harder to shake off. Different relationships teach us different things, and they should. They help us learn about ourselves, about love, and about what we deserve.
And sure, comparisons may seem harmless when they’re statements like ‘they make me happier than __ ever did’ or comparing a healthy relationship to an unhealthy one.
But they can cause trouble too.
Each lover you have, has a different way of expressing love, and a different capacity to love.
Some lovers are hopeless romantics, show you off wherever we go, while others are more low-key, keep to ourselves but love the fuck out of you. These aren’t necessarily bad things, it just depends on the kind of person you are, and the kind of love you respond to.
Comparisons become trouble when they start to affect your relationship. When you start to compare what someone in your past did for you, compared to someone in your present. When you make statements either to your lover or to your friends, criticizing a current lover based on the love you received from someone else.
Don’t get me wrong, you deserve to be treated like gold, and maybe your current lover isn’t doing that for you, but your ex sure did. But, new relationships should not be judged based on old ones.
You should be open with your current partner about your expectations, and your desires to be loved in certain ways. Getting upset at someone who doesn’t do the things your ex did, isn’t fair. Some people show love differently, and sometimes simple communication and understanding can teach them how to show it to you in would like.
It’s not easy to learn to take what they’ve given you and apply it to new relationships, without criticizing or comparing the old with the new. But you should try.
My biggest advice is, if someone isn’t treating you the way you want to be treated, communicate. If you’re someone who responds to love in the form of social media sappy posts and flowers, say that. If you’re someone who likes to keep things low-key, say that too.
Your partners are not your mind readers. And your partner isn’t your ex. Be honest with yourself and be honest with them.