It is one of the most powerful instincts we have as human beings; the instinct to judge ourselves based on what other people are doing. Entire books have been written about the power that other people have on us, and this is no less powerful when you are in a relationship with someone. After all, you are both human, and it is normal to have a healthy amount of consideration for the other people in our lives.
The problem is when your friends’ relationship becomes some sort of unseen barometer as to the quality of your own relationship. Your friends might be doing great, but you aren’t your friends. If you can keep that kind of perspective in mind, you should do fine. But let’s spend a little more time on how to truly gauge whether or not you have a healthy relationship.
When Connecting the Dots Goes Wrong
As kids, we all learned to use our heads by doing connect-the-dot exercises. We did it for fun, and we did it to learn. But as adults, we often connect dots that don’t really need to be connected at all.
Consider this: what if you know a very happy and healthy couple who are the adventurous types – they enjoy going surfing, rock climbing, and hiking on the weekends. Meanwhile, you and your significant other consider yourself to be more of the “social butterfly” variety – you like hitting the trendiest bars on your weekends. Does that make you better? Worse? Neither. It just means you have different tastes. It says nothing about the quality of your relationship.
That’s when connecting the dots goes wrong. Instead of using someone else’s relationship as a gauge for how you should feel, just ask how satisfied you and your partner are in your relationship. That’s a question that will yield significantly better results.
Do You Have to Be So … PDA?
You’re going to come across a lot of couples here at Kupple.com. And eventually you might see a couple that loves to PDA – publically display their affection – and assume that that same couple’s relationship stands on solid ground. You’d be amazed at how appearances can be deceiving. Rather than just a book by its cover, remember that there is always a “honeymoon” phase in any relationship – and just because you’re past the honeymoon phase doesn’t mean your own relationships is failing. In fact, you might stand on far more solid ground than the couple that can’t keep their hands off each other.
So, no, you don’t have to be so “PDA.” In fact, if you feel comfortable with your significant other without PDA, you’re probably doing pretty well. It doesn’t mean that the spice from your relationship is gone.
What About When There Are Real Problems?
Of course, not comparing yourself to another couple doesn’t mean you can’t afford to stand back and look at your own relationship. If it’s working, it’s working – keep doing what you’re doing. But if there have been some bumps in the road, you might want to address them. Just make sure that you’re not addressing them simply because another couple made you feel self-conscious. Do it for yourself – and for your relationship – instead.