I’m sure you’ve come down with a case of Grass Is Greener Syndrome before. I know I have.
At one point or another, we’ve all found ourselves mentally “what if-ing” our way out of our current status, situation, or circumstance – whether it be with work, school, friends, our looks, personality, health… whatever it may be.
Up to the point of it affecting your emotional well-being, a lot of it is just basic human nature. It’s fleeting and totally normal.
But what about when it shows up in the one area of your life that you’ll never be able to emotionally afford its presence?
One of the most devastating relationships to be in is with a partner who has Grass Is Greener Syndrome.
Every source I found on the internet defines Grass Is Greener Syndrome as (I’m summing it up in my own words here from what I found):
Grass is Greener Syndrome is when someone believes what they currently have is no longer adequate, satisfying, ample, or enough. Because of this, doubt creeps in and the belief that “better is out there” is adopted and acted upon. This is generally followed by a complete lack of regard for the emotional casualties upon exit – whether that exit is physical or emotional.
Here’s my definition:
“The inability to emotionally and/or physically commit due to underlying and un-dealt with insecurities.” Period. Plain and simple.
Grass Is Greener Syndrome is more about an absence of commitment than it will ever be about a lack of relational fulfillment.
Having Grass Is Greener Syndrome is also…
- An indicator that you’re playing in the emotional little leagues. You need assistance in the form of finding “a perfect 10/better than what you currently have,” to be your training wheels and induct you into the majors. Why? You can’t do so on your own. If you could, you’d commit – to being single, being in a relationship, being honest, not deflecting, working on yourself, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, etc.
- Emotional S&M that is exclusively self-inflicted.
- A symptom of emotional unavailability and narcissism that does not discriminate against age, gender or orientation.
- On a subconscious level, for Grass Is Greener Syndrome to take place in a romantic relationship, one must be a walking contradiction who values control over everything and is painfully insecure. They believe that if they fully commit to one person, they could be missing out on attracting someone who would be a better emotional, financial, and/or superficial beard. Although they’d never admit it, the “greener grass,” would legitimize them in some way, while invalidating their inadequacies. It would shut the haters down and surely, extinguish any further curiosity of greener grass.
- Because they are so insecure, people who suffer from Grass Is Greener Syndrome are also professional lily padders. They have to be on one lily pad (relationship) to jump to the next. They use their relationships as insurance policies. This is why Grass Is Greener Syndrome is not just associated with breakups.
Is there a way to hack Grass Is Greener Syndrome?
If you are in a relationship with someone who has Grass Is Greener Syndrome, the best outcome is that you break up with them or they break up with you. A lot of the time, these people will still get their needs met from you while they cheat, lie, and keep a watchful eye out for greener grass.
That could mean anything from not deleting dating apps while they’re in a relationship with you to full-blown cheating and in some cases, having relationships on the side (emotional and/or sexual), with other people while still being in a relationship with you.
For most people, my definition of Grass Is Greener Syndrome is not believable or easily assessable.
As long as there is a struggle when it comes to self-esteem and confidence, we will always be convinced that our “not enough-ness,” is the reason why our partner has an emotional and relational handicap.
Like attracts like.
In other words, to give anyone the time of day or to be attracted to someone who has Grass Is Greener Syndrome, you have to be as insecure and as narcissistic as they are. I learned this the hard way. Narcissism basically boils down to making everything about you.
Your partner will make everything about them – their needs and their agenda – while you make all of their disrespectful, insecurity-inducing, and selfish behavior associated with that agenda, about how YOU are somehow, not enough. And whatever angel you view it from, that’s making it all about you. This is what I call “reverse narcissism.”
Reverse narcissists are some of the kindest people you will ever meet. They are also professional doormats. How do I know? I used to be one.
I used to be very attracted to men who had Grass Is Greener Syndrome. If I could get a guy to fully commit, who unbeknownst to me, was always keeping his options/eyes/ears/arms and in some cases, legs open, but gave off that addicting vibe of never quite “having” him…
That must mean that I was truly something special.
I wanted to be the reason why he changed his ways. Doing this would also invalidate the heartbreak and insecurity that others had caused me in the past.
Today, nothing could turn me off more in romantic relationships or friendships. One thing I’ll never partake in is competing with anyone or anything. I don’t want to be chosen – I’d rather be seen, pursued, connected with, and committed to – without having to put on a “notice-and-please-choose-me,” dog and pony show. No thanks. Someone else can get picked and “win.”
Contrary to what many of us are lead to believe, life is all about joy – the joy of being, the joy of intimacy, sex, laughter, and love. It’s not about being in some amateur hour triangle of ambiguity.
Sometimes, the person suffering from Grass Is Greener Syndrome will try to make excuses that they’re new to committed relationships or that they don’t want to hurt you.
This is not about malicious intention or relational ignorance – it’s about empathy. If you’re able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes (empathize), you’d be able to see how much certain things would hurt the other person and because of that, adjust your behavior/decisions or communicate that you can’t commit at this time. Instead, most will try to have their cake and eat it too.
With that being said, going through a breakup with someone who has Grass is Greener Syndrome is excruciating. There’s never any closure; nothing makes sense and you’re left feeling more inadequate than ever.
The only way to hack Grass Is Greener Syndrome…
Commitment & Consistency
If you were/are in a relationship with someone who has a history of lily padding from one relationship to another, trying to find the greener grass and is always convinced that he/she can do better…
Understand that this will prevent him/her from ever being able to sustain a mutual, mature, and connected relationship with anyone.
And if they ever happen to find someone standing under the greenest grass they’ve ever seen…
More often than not, they’ll f*ck it up.
The only way to hack Grass Is Greener Syndrome is by setting the relational bar so high that no one else can reach that height. This is done through consistency and commitment.
Here on this blog, I am consistently vulnerable, consistently honest, genuine, receptive, real, invested and compassionate... I’m consistently myself; consistently consistent.
So, when I write something that’s politically incorrect or could be taken in a way that I did not intend, I never get anyone coming after me for it with guns blazing because people know who I CONSISTENTLY am – Someone who would never intend to hurt or offend anyone. I’m also someone who won’t dignify false assumptions with a reaction.
I’m committed to getting people answers and getting them out of loneliness, suffering, and pain that I know all too well. I try to set the bar as high as I possibly can.
This is why so many readers keep coming back here to the blog despite visiting other amazing sites, reading other insightful books, going to life-changing seminars, etc. It’s also why I don’t stress over “losing” an audience. I know how high the bar that I set is because I reach that height with connection, consistency, commitment, and authenticity… with all the love in my heart.
The same goes with relationships. Don’t worry about the little details of when you weren’t your best, most mature or perfectly on point. As long as you were consistent in how you treated your partner, how you committed to them, and your standards… you’ve set your bar all the way up.
This doesn’t mean that your ex won’t meet someone new and have what appears on social media and feels to him/her better than it was with you. This is called a honeymoon period and it ALWAYS fades out. Once it does, the true height of where the bar resides is revealed (yours will still be higher).
If you spoke with your actions and gracefully bowed out on your white horse when your partner’s un-matching words and actions were in question, you’ve proven to them that not only do you know their relational handicap has NOTHING to do with you, but you refuse to create more unnecessary drama, bs, and pain. You fold. You reject having to compete and aren’t interested in residing in a triangle. You go on your way in peace.
You don’t put up with crumbs because you know how high you set the relational bar. You’re now the type of person that exes lose their mind over because they have no way of replicating or exceeding the bar that you set through their endless conquests.
Others have said this before me, but we truly do “teach people how to treat us.”
Also, your ex now knows that when the day comes that you do move on, it’s going to be with someone who meets you at the same height that you set your bar. That’s a tough pill to swallow because they know how high that bar is.
There can be room for reconciliation if your ex discovers that the grass is anything but greener. However, it won’t happen until they can make changes independent of a loss-of-control, narcissistic freakout. They need to prove their commitment to you through consistent words that match consistent actions and patterns.
Ultimately, you deserve someone who meets you at the bar you set. If they can’t help but wonder about the possibility of greener grass, that’s on THEM, not you.
Written by: Natasha Adamo