The “Grass Is Greener” Syndrome It’s likely at some point you’ve heard the saying, “the grass is greener on the other side”. Although this expression can be applied to many things, it’s often discussed in the context of love and relationships. The “grass is greener” concept is best defined as the uncertain yet unshakable feeling there’s something better out there. It’s often experienced when a couple is about to take the next step – long-term commitment, a promise ring, marriage – and the relationship falls apart for seemingly no reason at all. It’s also been described in popular culture as “quarter-life crisis”, “mid-life crisis”, “cold feet”, etc.
Although uncertainty can happen in any relationship, the “grass is greener” mindset stems from the much more intense feelings of self-doubt. Today we live in a world where social media is always at our fingertips. When everything is only a click away, it’s inevitable for us to compare ourselves/our relationships. But the problem with these comparisons is that we’re ultimately evaluating ourselves against polished, perfect, and unrealistic images!
If you’re the dumped party, it’s understandable you’re feeling confused or shocked right now. When you look back, however, you may begin to see signs of your ex acting out of character. Often the person struggling through the “grass is greener” syndrome will be very unpredictable. They may deliberately seek to experience things without you. They may have a change in personality or lifestyle. They may spend time with people they previously wouldn’t have. They’ll say things like, “I love you but I’m not in love with you”, “I don’t know what I want”, or the famous “It’s not you, it’s me”. They’ll be completely sure about the breakup 1 minute, then completely unsure the next. It’s very likely they won’t have any good answers or explanations, and that makes the entire process even more painful.
So what should you do if your ex is experiencing the “grass is greener” syndrome? First and foremost, know that that grass is almost never greener on the other side. It only looks greener because you’re looking from afar and blinded by fantasy. Most dumpers come to regret their decisions when they truly experience the other side. If it takes your ex long enough to have such a realization, you may even begin to question the same fundamental things yourself: Is this the person for me? Are there greener pastures?
As cliché as it sounds, the grass actually is greener when you care for it. You control the path to make your life the best possible life it can be. Remember that growth equates to happiness. If you’ve been dumped by an ex in search of “greener grass” then shift the focus to working on yourself. Invest all the energy in YOU. In the event of reconciliation, you will be the best version of yourself. Hey, you might even be surprised how much better the grass looks when it’s properly watered!
We’ve all heard the story, watched the movie, or experienced it directly before:
Alex dates Annie for a long time. Alex and Annie break up. Annie then finds a new beau very quickly, causing Alex to question his sanity and wonder “what in the actual hell”…the woes of a REBOUND RELATIONSHIP.
A rebound occurs when a relationship has ended and the rebounder chooses to fill a void shorty after the relationship’s end by being with another person in some capacity. The recipe for a rebound relationship is ultimately a mixture of confusion, sadness, impulsivity, and regret. At its core, a rebound is really just distraction from a healing heart.
If you’re the ex of a rebounder, you’re likely asking yourself the following: 1.) Is my ex in a rebound relationship? 2.) Is my ex in love? 3.) Does my ex even care about how much the rebound affects me?
Let’s tackle the first question upfront. How do you know if your ex is in a rebound relationship? The question is simple but may be hard to answer. Is your ex ready to open their heart to someone new? If the answer is no, then they’re filling a void and it’s a rebound.
Now with respect to the second and third questions, I propose that you’re thinking about it the wrong way. Instead of obsessing over the fact that your ex is in a rebound relationship, think instead about the massive impact you left forcing your ex to fill the void so quickly! Of course it hurts, but when you allow for such a paradigm shift, you can begin to appreciate the magnitude of your absence. You have more power than you realize!
So what do you do if your ex is in a rebound relationship? Thankfully the answer to this question really is simple. You work on yourself. You’re the person who attracted your ex in the first place. It’s possible you lost that original self. Maybe you placed their needs above yours. Maybe you became a person you no longer recognize or like. Now your mission is to start working on YOU so that others (including your ex) will see you as the person you really are. You need to make an effort on yourself. Self-help is an uphill battle, but time spent on oneself is never time poorly spent.
Remember: A rebound relationship is all about making one feel better; it’s based on what is received and not what is given. A real relationship requires a heart open to both giving and receiving.
Dr. Laura is the newest addition to The Love Chat team and will be writing our blog.
Q: Is Dr. Laura really a doctor? A: Yes, she is a licensed medical doctor.
Q: What is Dr. Laura's specialty? A: She provides multidisciplinary care with a focus in behavioral, emotional, and mental health.
**Although she is a doctor,Dr. Laura is not your doctor. Coaching and correspondence with Dr. Laura is not medical advice and does not replace or supersede the advice of and relationship with your personal physician, therapist, psychiatrist, etc.