Here’s Why You Can’t Compare Your Relationship to Anyone Else’s

It’s tempting to compare every last detail of our lives with everyone else’s, especially when things are going wrong. Relationships aren’t exempt. The problem is that it’s not even possible to really know what other people are feeling, regardless of how they present themselves to the world. Even if it wasn’t impossible, it’s not really relevant, anyway. Oh, how we torture ourselves! Here are some reasons why you just can’t compare your relationship to anyone else’s.

  1. People lie. Not that they are trying to trick you, exactly, but sometimes out of self-preservation, people gloss over the less than savory details about their relationships and try to paint a great picture.
  2. Social media is a farce. Studies have found that the people who post the most about their awesome relationships on social media are actually the ones most lacking in the self-esteem department.
  3. Timing is everything. Maybe you’re with Mr. Right Now while everyone else is getting married. No shame in that game.
  4. It’s a time waster. More specifically, it takes time away that could be spent focusing on the person that you’re actually in a relationship with.
  5. It disempowers you. You could spend all day wondering why things aren’t another way, or you could work on making the right changes in your own life.
  6. We tend to compare their good stuff to our bad stuff. You could probably point out something better about every single person you meet, but you’re forgetting that they can do the same to you.
  7. Every couple has it’s own pace. Some people meet and move in together within a month, while others date for seven years before even thinking about it.
  8. Overanalyzing leads to bad decisions. One dating study found that people’s super analyzed ideas about their relationships really had no bearing on whether they broke up or not, or only proceeded to confuse them.
  9. It devalues your relationships. Whatever your journey is it’s your journey and it’s valid in all its complicated-ness. Or in how simple it seems.
  10. Your way isn’t right for anyone else. If you’re on the high and mighty hill looking down on other couples, hop off it. Happy people don’t need to pump themselves up by putting others down.
  11. It can create competition. Being inspired by an adorable relationship is one thing, but feeling the urge to outdo their date night is a whole other thing.
  12. You can’t really predict anything. We all know that gushy cutesy couple who smeared their love all over town and then broke up one second later.
  13. You wouldn’t trade for another life anyway. We tend to get so far into our heads comparing our lives that we forget that we wouldn’t trade for anyone else’s, anyway. We’ve already put in plenty of work in this one.
  14. How happy (or not) they are has nothing to do with you. Whether you suspect that couple is hiding a dirty secret or you admire their communication skills, it’s really not even your business how they’re getting by.
  15. Every relationship is completely unique. Have you been in the same relationship with different people? No! Two people coming together creates a new dynamic that has never been seen before, and could never be replicated again. And that’s that.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog