Love is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. Ideally speaking, it is involuntary, gratifying, and rewarding. Coming to romantic love – Psychologists define it as the strong desire for emotional union with another person. Love as a whole may mean different things to different people, but romance generally has certain commonalities in terms of its building blocks and foundations. As dreamy as the movies might make it seem, romantic relationships come with their own fair share of baggage, among which the factor of comparison can be found, which again is a part and parcel of every relationship.
As individuals, we often tend to have a basic idea about the kind of partner that we would like to be with. Some wish for a person who is athletic, some want an individual who is intellectually very sound, while some simply desire an understanding and jovial partner. That said, we not only are at least mildly aware of the kind of person we want to romance; once we do find that somebody, we continue to pitch their strengths, and primarily their drawbacks against those around us. In simple words, it is called comparing your partner. While it would be great if we appreciated the person we’re with by drawing positive comparisons, what majority of us do is its exact opposite.
I Don’t Compare My Partner, BUT
What We Commonly Compare
There is no limit to the number of factors upon which comparisons can be drawn. The basis on which we compare our partner to another being may vary from person to person. However, some of the prime factors serving as reasons for comparison have been identified below:
- Physical Appearance
- Family Background and Socio-Economic Status
- Educational Background
- Personality Type
- Popularity Quotient
- Romantic Equation of another Couple
What We Should Do Instead
The key to a lasting and content relationship lies in your ability to deal with unflattering comparisons. Psychological research also says that comparing your partner to someone else’s could be a key source of stress and conflict, which is why it is important that we view our partners and ourselves as one single unit.
Remember Your Choice
First thing’s first – irrespective of the fact that comparing your partner to another is a part of the relationship that you share with them, we must not forget that there was a reason why we chose to be with them in the first place. There were certainly some qualities of theirs that made us make that choice. Instead, we can remind ourselves of the choice that we had made, and thus make conscious efforts to accept our partners for who they are.
Envy v/s Inspiration v/s Jealousy
Knowing the difference between these three concepts is key. You are envious when you admire a characteristic someone possesses, and inspired when you wish to imbibe that quality you admire. However, comparisons are primarily drawn in a negative aspect rather than a positive one, which in turn may spoil a great or a budding romance.
As much as I would advice self-reflection to those who wish to discover more of themselves, in this case it would mean for you to remember your own flaws and how you are living with them. Nobody is perfect, and so the way we accept and love ourselves, we must do the same when it comes to our partners as well.
Love and it’s Expression
We all have certain characteristics that contribute towards our uniqueness, and make us different from those around us. Likewise, every being has their own way of both loving, as well as showing love. By looking at your friend’s or your cousin’s partner, or the way people express love in the movies, the only ones to undergo stress and a low would be none but you yourself. Both acceptance and gratitude are key, here. Appreciate the things – both little and big that your partner does to let you know how much you mean to them.
If it Hurts that Much; Don’t Do It
This reminds me of the story of a man who pays a visit to the doctor telling him that each time he pinches his calves, it hurts. The doctor smiles, and simply says, ‘Then stop pinching your calves’. As ridiculous as it may sound, the reason I mentioned it is because if you’re doing something that hurts you, why do it in the first place? If comparing your partner is emotionally distressing, tell your mind to stop doing it. It may be easier said than done, but it sure as hell is not impossible.
Talk to your Partner
As humans, we all have the tendency to expect from those who we love. The easiest way to convey this would be to communicate with your partner. At times, our partners may be aloof towards our desires, which again is okay and natural; however, by expressing our wishes, some (or all) of them may actually stand a chance of getting fulfilled! It is all about being aware of what would make the other person happy, so as long as the goal is achieved, the power of speech I say, would be put to some good use!
Lastly, drawing comparisons as mentioned, is a part and parcel of every relationship. However, it is always wiser to focus on the “we’s” and not the “I’s”, so that we can efficiently have a fulfilling romance brimming with love and contentment.