Is It Ever A Good Idea To Compare Your Partner To Others In A Relationship?

Although social media has made it easier to stay in touch with each other, there are also some serious downsides to it too. Not only can it cause anxiety and depression in teenagers, but it can also make older folks feel pretty miserable about themselves too (via NBC). The reason for this is that social media platforms, like Instagram in particular, are wrought with perfectly curated accounts and profiles that can make many people feel like their life is lacking in some way — including their relationship.

"It [social media] also creates unrealistic expectations of a partner because we piece together the best of each partner or relationship that we see on social media and expect it all in one person and in our own relationship," relationship expert Anita Chlipala tells Bustle.

You can actually be genuinely happy in your relationship, completely in love, and all you have to do is see a few photos of your friends with their partners or even photos of people you don't know, and suddenly what you thought was romantic bliss just isn't enough for you. While there's nothing wrong with looking at the other relationships around you and admiring them, when you start comparing your relationships to those of your friends or strangers, then you immediately do a disservice to your own partnership.

Is it ever a good idea to compare your partner to others in a relationship? Short answer: no. Here's why.

It's bad for your relationship

Although it's normal to compare our relationships to others, it doesn't mean it's necessarily a good idea.

"I think [doing this is] absolutely normal," professor of psychology at the University of Miami Dr. Brian Doss tells PsychCentral. "It's hard to know what a relationship 'should' or 'ideally' looks like, so we use our previous relationships, relationships of our friends, and our parents' relationship as important benchmarks for our current relationship."

But while comparing for that reason makes sense, it's when you take that comparison further that you end up on shaky ground. Holding your relationship and partner to standards that may not be realistic is unhealthy on so many levels. It can cause resentment toward your partner, create relationship dissatisfaction, and even give you a warped idea of what a relationship should look like (via Women's Therapy Institute). When we do this, we fail to see just how amazing and beautiful our own relationship is. Sure, it's not perfect, but neither are any of the relationships around us.

It's bad for your friendships

If you're constantly comparing your partner to partners of your friends, you won't just start to resent your own relationship, but you'll start to resent your friends too. The problem here is that no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors, so you're actually comparing your partner and relationship to something that may not even exist. Your friends don't have perfect relationships either — ask them, and they'll confirm it (via Cosmopolitan). Even if they did, for the sake of argument, it's better to be happy for them than jealous of them. Jealousy never got anyone anywhere.

Because comparisons can negatively affect all the relationships in your life, it's better to reflect on what you see in other partnerships that you admire and try to steer yours in that direction if you feel that your relationship will benefit from it — but realistically so (via Stylist UK). Relationships are hard work as it is, so if you bring comparison into it, you can make it even more difficult to navigate in a healthy and progressive way. Look at what you have with your partner and be grateful for it. If there are parts that need to be tweaked, then tweak them. But remember, this is your relationship and your partner, and what changes you make should be for the better for both of you — not because someone else's relationship dictates otherwise.