Grass is Greener on the Other Side….Or is it?

In relationship, we often compare ourselves to how others are doing, think we should be doing better than we are, or fantasize what it would be like with another partner. The grass is greener syndrome is the idea that there is always something better than what we have.

This constant barrage of commentary is a great exit to being fully in the “relationship game”. Rather than experiencing stability, security and satisfaction in the present environment, the feeling is “there is more and better elsewhere and anything less than ideal won’t do”. This leaves us one foot out the door.

What lies underneath this syndrome…..

When we pair up with an intimate partner, we become primary attachment figures for one another. This primary relationship is not the same as other relationships, ie our friends, co-workers and family. There are different governing principles for a primary relationship – ones that include a requirement for safety and security with one another. We need to feel like we have our partner’s back and they have ours. We need to be the “go-to” person for one another and make the well–being of our partner as important as our own. These two key points – creating a safe, secure base for each other is necessary to navigate through the associated challenges of a long term committed partnership. Being vulnerable and sensitive comes with the territory of being in a primary intimate relationship. We are never more vulnerable and sensitive than in this kind of relationship. Easily hurt, our vulnerabilities live close to the surface. It is these hurts and sensitivities that have us think – there is someone out there who will love me better and is more suitable. This kind of thinking is delusional….and moves us away from the present moment and the person we are with. For many the following fact is revealed, “wherever I go, there I am” – a spiritual truth written by John Kabat-Zinn, teacher and practitioner of mindfulness. Since, our mind is the story-maker; it doesn’t want us to see the truths of our emotional pain, what we have carried forth from past relationships or how we continue to contribute to the emotional pain of another. This ego defense is what blocks us from seeing the true relationship at its core. Without having an intention to create a safe, secure base, we won’t be able to own and dissolve this pain or experience a form of “real connected love”.

Life is relationships and having healthy relationships is an investment in seeing our “growth” that is trying to happen and giving enough time and space to feel and be felt by the other. So, the next time you think “grass is green on the other side” – remember that you are only fantasizing about something other than your current situation, avoiding the opportunity to gain more insight and understanding into yourself and the other.

The best way to deal with the “grass is greener syndrome” is to learn the underlying reasons beneath the abstract ideas of idealizations, perfectionism, and the inability to commit. The other piece is learning how to nurture and increase your connection to what’s current so your relationships maintain and strengthen rather than become unsatisfying. The idea is to build a place of stability and security for one another, rather than jumping around to compensate for a lack of internal stability. Being a safe connector for your intimate other, allows for a change in perspective, giving time to see the “fruits” of your attention and attunement.

Therefore, I think the cliché should be changed to this: The grass is only as green as we keep it!

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