You’re happily coupled up. Life is good. But if you’re so happy, why is couple envy slowly creeping in? And what does it mean for your relationship?
No one likes to talk about the ‘green eyed monster’, but envy is universal, and we all experience it at one time or another. In many cases envy is caused by feelings of lack, insecurity and inadequacy. Where we want what other people have. This can sometimes happen if you’re feeling unsure of yourself or if your emotional or physical needs aren’t being met.
These feelings can lead us to measure ourselves and our self-worth against others. To idolise another person or their relationships and to convince ourselves that we too could be happy if only… If only our boyfriend was more affectionate, better looking, spent more time with us (insert your own if only here).
In a society that bombards us with messages and images of bigger, wealthier and more attractive is better, it can be easy to begin to look outside of ourselves and our relationship happiness. In fact, research published in Cyber Psychology and Behaviour has found that the more ‘connected’ we are on social media, where people often promote an idealised version of themselves, the more likely we are to experience envy.
However, you only need to look around you to realise that these images aren’t real. It’s important to remind ourselves that what we see isn’t a true reflection of someone’s life or relationship. Just because your friends’ feeds are full of perfect coupley pics and gorgeous selfies it doesn’t mean that they’re without their problems.
All relationships have their ups and their downs and no relationship or person is perfect. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. The more we focus on our close friendships and relationships the less likely we are to get caught up with what we don’t have.
Couple envy reveals more about the state of our own feelings of self-worth than it does about our relationship. It can also be a sign that we’re looking out side of ourselves for validation. We live in a society that idolises bigger, better, more attractive, more expensive. The more you have the happier you’ll be, or so we think. But this simply isn’t true. Having more doesn’t make us happier, but nurturing real connections and friendships does. If you’re feeling envious, it’s a sign that you need to get back to basics and what’s really important to you.
The key is to acknowledge and identify the root of these feelings and to stop comparing your relationship to those around you. Rather than focussing on what you don’t have, turn your focus and attention to what you love about yourself, your partner and your relationship.
Every day spend two minutes focussing on what you are grateful for both in your life. Spending just two minutes expressing gratitude a day has been shown to increase your self-esteem, and improve your physical and psychological health.
Next focus on what you love about your relationship and partner and don’t forget to tell them. What does your partner do that makes you laugh, or feel special? What did you first love about them, what do you love doing together?
Comparisons are poison to relationships and can lead to resentment, low self-esteem, and feelings of not being good enough. The more you hold on to these comparisons rather than dealing with the real issue, the more likely it is that it will have a detrimental affect on your relationship.
Envy often goes hand in hand with shame and guilt and can take a hostile turn. Particularly if these (sometimes volatile) emotions aren’t dealt with. Causing havoc with your friendships, relationships and self-esteem. For example, in some cases friends may turn on or start criticising or back stabbing the object of their envy or may criticise their partner for not stacking up. This can sometimes play out as critical comments such as “Why can’t we be more like them?” “You never hold my hand” “Why can’t you be more like…” and these types of comments can lead to defensiveness, anger and confusion.
Envy can give you perspective and that can positively enhance your relationship. Particularly if it helps you to communicate what you need and want in a relationship. We all give and receive love in different ways and have our own love language. However, most people are unaware of what their partner needs to feel loved. Instead, they give love the way that they would like to receive it.
According to Gary Chapman there are five love languages; acts of service, quality time, physical affection, words of affirmation and receiving gifts. But guys aren’t mind readers, sometimes you need to communicate what you need to feel loved and happy. If he’s spending too much time with his mates and you crave his company then suggest some one on one time and do something that you’d both love.