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Comparing Relationships

Magellan's

Comparing Relationships

Administrator’s Opinion

If you take the strengths of other relationships and compared them to the weakness of your relationship, how do you think you’d size up? Do you think this will make you feel good?

The funny thing is , this is what most of us do at one time or another, and some of us do it pretty often.— It’s not that useful, and it’s also a roadmap to misery and unhappiness.

We often seem to think, that the value of our relationship can be increased or decreased by the relationships of others. If our friends have a so-called “perfect relationship” (which I don’t think there is any), we might question our own relationship and feel unhappy and miserable if it doesn’t come up to the other ideal.

I think each relationship is different and unique, but at the same time, I also believe comparing relationships sometimes might be a good thing if you can focus only on the good things others are doing that is making their relationship to blossom, and incorporate what you’ve learned into your own relationship, to prevent it from heading downhill.

We as a people, will always compare ourselves to others. It becomes a habit, and sometimes not even aware, we are doing it.

Your energy will be senselessly drained if you continuously feed your ego with meaningless comparisons.

Note: This is the opinion of the administrator. A trained marriage therapist and relationship expert will be commenting on the topic discussed at the end of two weeks.

QUESTION 

Could comparing your relationship with others, affect your own relationship?

Response to Comparing Relationships by Colleen Blake-Miller, M.Div  ( Individual, Couple and Family therapist)

Comparing ourselves and what we have to others; yes we know it happens and if we are honest we’ll admit that we catch ourselves doing it from time to time.  We live in a culture that thrives on getting us to do just that; compare ourselves and what we have with the people around us.  Advertisers have us feeling like what we have isn’t enough (compared to what others have) and then they solicit us to acquire more ‘stuff’ to help us ‘measure up’.  So it isn’t surprising when a person finds themselves comparing their relationship with somebody else’s.  

Comparing our relationship with the relationships of others is a recipe for disaster.  The act of comparing involves looking at what you have, then looking at what another person has, looking back at yourself and questioning if you’re up to par.  It is a set up, because if you come out on top today, I can promise you that tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that you won’t be coming out on top.  Eventually you will walk away feeling that your relationship doesn’t measure up or isn’t somehow good enough based on how you see others relationships to be.  This becomes a problem because all we can do from the outside looking in is ‘perceive’ what’s going on in another persons relationship, only the people in that relationship truly ‘KNOW’ what is going on.  Even when people speak about their marriage, we must consider that they don’t typically boast about what isn’t working for them, but will broadcast what IS going well, and keep their struggles to themselves.

So we must be mindful not to make adjustments in our relationship based on what we THINK is going on in someone else’s.  Instead of comparing our relationship with others I encourage couples to focus in on the areas that they are having difficulty, and look to improve them in a creative way that will be unique to THEM, as another couples solution may not fit for them and could in fact cause more harm than help.

With regards to having mentors in our lives who can help guide us in our relationships I think that these kind of relationships can be helpful and supportive if done by a couple who is ‘seasoned’ and can appreciate the uniqueness that each couple possesses, and desires to help them build on their strengths, and use these strengths to improve areas needing growth in their marriage.  This defines a healthy and helpful mentoring relationship. 

Colleen Blake-Miller M.Div
Individual, Couple, and Family Therapist
To contact Colleen log onto
www.colleenblakemiller.com or call 416-837-4892

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22 Responses to “Comparing Relationships”

  • Jenn:

    Comparing your relationship with others can affect your own relationship, if it becomes a bad habit. People always look at other relationships and examine their own. However, to each it’s own..and not everyone is alike. But you can learn from other relationships maybe about a specific problem or issue or something significant that will help to better your own and make your relationship more effective and grow.

    My husband and I enjoy having couple retreats every year with our good friends, and we always seem to learn something and also count our blessings as well. As we always end up saying , “There is always someone else worst off than ourselves”…

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  • Osaro:

    All relationships are different and unique in their own way. But if it will do you good to see what others are doing right in their relationship, there is no problem comparing yours with theirs, to see where you need improvement.

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  • Macy:

    Comparison is a very common thing that people do, especially the young folks in relationship, they often compare their partners to that of their friends. This can actually lead people to cheat on their partners, because all they see is how cute their friends partner look and they would want to try and get the same. This is not a good thing to do if you are in a serious relationship.

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  • Alan:

    As the administrator said, your energy will be senselessly drained if you continuously feed your ego with senseless comparisons. Learn to be who you are, and accept your partner for who they are.

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  • Macy:

    Yes Alan, the administrator is very right, senseless comparisons will drain your energy. Reserve your energy and use it for better things that will enhance your relationship.

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  • kelvin:

    All relationships are different and unique. Comparisons for the wrong reasons will likely dry up your relationship with your partner.

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  • Mary:

    I agree with Osaro “All relationships are different and unique in their own way.” And there’s nothing wrong with seeing what others are doing right in their relationship to have the long lasting and enjoyable one.

    Look at couples who celebrate their 25th, 50th anniversary etc… I personally would love to hear or see how they have managed. All relationships are different. And I believe all relationships need improvements from both partners, inorder to last. But also ensuring that you don’t sit around comparing your relationship senselessly and for the wrong reasons.

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  • Eve:

    Comparing relationships might not be as bad as people may think, especially if compared for the right reasons. If you compare what other partners are doing in their relationships, and then come home and blame your partner for what is not going well in your relationship, then that is a recipe for disaster.

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  • Macy:

    Eve made a good point. If you compare other relationships and then come home and blame your partner, that is a recipe for disaster. The sad thing is, that is what most partners in a do.

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  • Uyi:

    Comparing relationships is not a good idea, i tnink you should refrain from it.

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  • Sheila:

    If you compare relationships for the right reasons, it is actually a good thing to do. But if your intention is to compare and then look down on your spouse or partner because he or she does not meet the expectation of what you saw from the other relationships, then it is a roadmap to disaster and i think you should stay clear from that route.

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  • kelvin:

    I really do think what Sheila said is the reason why majority of people in relationship compare and contrast.

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  • Martinez:

    I do not agree with you kelvin, I do compare, and am sure most people does too, but its not for the reasons Sheila mentioned on her comment. I believe most people compare and contrast to better their relationship.

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  • Martinez:

    I think jenn make a better point on the reasons why most people compare relationships. For most part, its to better their relationships.

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  • Cindy:

    I would rather not compare my relationship with any other. I am who i am, and i will take my partner for who he is. We both choose to be with each other, so what other people are doing in their relationships does not have anything to do with mine. Comparing could easily lead you to do what you did not intend to do.

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  • Penny:

    I will agree with those who say comparing is wrong – Reason being every relationship is different, yes you can learn from some but it is not good to compare. You don’t know what it took for that couple to be where they are today so there’s a good reason for you not to compare – You have to work with what you have and thank God every day that you are still together because a relationship it today’s society is VERY VERY hard and takes a lot of work to maintain.

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  • Brenda:

    Relationship take a lot of work to maintain, so comparing relationships is not a good idea, especially when you don’t know what the partners you are comparing are going through in their relationships. Most people disguise the difficulties in their relationship with a cheerful appearance. Please to stop thinking the grass is always greener on the other side of the street.

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  • Angela:

    You don’t know what is going on in peoples relationships, so it is not a smart thing to compare other relationships to yours. You could be easily deceived.

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  • Penny:

    Easily deceived is correct Angela – No one knows but those two people in that relationship had to deal with. Our grand parents and great great grand parents am sure can testify to that. Throughout the difficult times I encourage myself by telling myself that if our grand parents who has gone on before us did it so can I even though its more difficult in today’s society – Back then I am sure it was more difficult for them because they didn’t have all the resources that we have today to rebuild a relationship.

    I their time brushing things under the rug was the norm or not speaking about it at all, so we are very fortunate today to have what we have and if we are going through difficulties in our relationships don’t hesitate to ask for help – Try not to look over the fence at others but take it upon yourself to help yourself and your partner. Many of them stayed married for many many years not because they compared their relationships to others but because of hard work and endurance and hoping for a better tomorrow and also CHANGE. I am sure they too don’t always get along BUT worked hard for that change.

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  • Christina:

    I would not be looking at others relationship to make a decision about my relationship, don’t think it’s a good idea.

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  • Kelvin:

    It doesn’t sound right to compare, but sometimes when you see couples who stayed together for as long as they lived, you want to compare that relationship and try to emulate how they did it. I think if relationships are compared for the right reasons, it doesn’t sound like a bad thing to do.

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  • Stewart:

    Comparing relationships might not be all that bad, if it is compared for the right reasons. I would compare to make correction in mine.

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