We’ve never been more connected to others than we are these days, thanks to social media. We can easily keep in contact with people all over the world with just a couple of clicks of the keyboard. While social media is a blessing in many ways, it can also cause relationship problems and sometimes relationship envy!
Something I’ve heard many times as a therapist is people comparing their relationship to other people’s relationships that they see on social media. Often times, these comparisons lead to “relationship envy” or bad feelings about one’s own relationship. Maybe it’s not good enough, fun enough, happy enough, etc. In some cases, this results in arguments between the partners.
So what do you do if you’re poking around social media and begin believing that your friends are having much better relationships with their partners than you are with yours? When their family appears to be picture perfect, their holidays are always joyous events, and their children are oh-so-precious in every. single. picture.
Here’s a few tips for when the relationship envy bug bites you:
Tip #1: Recognize that *most* people only put the best part of their lives on social media. When looking at social media, it’s easy to believe that everyone has wonderful lives! However, it’s the rare couple that will post the arguments, disagreements, and fights they have (thankfully, because who wants to read that?!?). Every couple has their ups and downs- including your friends in their relationships. Just because they don’t post it, doesn’t mean that they don’t have trying times too.
Tip #2: Instead of wistfully wanting, implement. Instead of wistfully looking at Facebook posts of all the fun your friends and their spouses are having, try implementing some of your friends’ ideas into your own relationship. Pull out the iPhone and snap some cute shots of your kids. Plan a getaway with your partner. Start a new tradition with your family. Wistfully wanting will get you nothing but bad feelings. Do something about it instead!
Tip #3: Find your happy. Find your own happy in your marriage. Realize that your happy marriage may look different from other people’s happy marriages and that’s okay. Marriage isn’t a competition; it’s a journey and happiness isn’t a team event- it’s an inside job. Others can’t make you happy. Only you can make you happy. Other people, events, occasions and the like can influence your happiness or unhappiness, but the choice of which they influence is always up to you.
Have you had relationship envy in the past from looking at social media? I would love to hear about it and how you got past it!