Dissecting ‘The Grass Is Always Greener’ Mentality

  • It is natural to wonder what it would be like if you were not with your partner, according to a therapist.
  • Being honest with yourself and your spouse/ex-spouse helps everyone understand the urges behind 'the grass is always greener' mentality.
  • Contrary data speaks to the grass being as green, in that, things are the same in any new relationship or marriage as the current or previous one.

"There is an idiom that talks about how people see the grass as being greener on the other side of the fence, and for some, that very well might be true."

When someone chooses to get married, they are deciding on who they wish to spend their life with. They are telling the world that they are uninterested in anyone else and have forsaken all others. On paper and in theory, that’s part of what it means to be married. In practice, interpersonal relationships are not always the most clear-cut, and small problems can arise making you, as a married individual question what your other options may be.

Sometimes, it can be bigger issues like infidelity or abuse that makes you question what else is out there. There is an idiom that talks about how people see the grass as being greener on the other side of the fence, and for some, that very well might be true. However, for those considering divorce as a way of exploring that sentiment, it can open up a very complicated discussion.

Being honest

In order to have that discussion, you need to be able to be honest with yourself. According to licensed marriage and family therapist Cindy Norton, it is natural to wonder what it would be like if you were not with your partner and were with another person. Given the problems and the range of them that can surface during the course of a long-term relationship, it’s easy to think about what it would be like without the other person there. For many, they’d be a lot happier.

However, the sentiment implies that there’s always someone out there better than the spouse that you currently have, and while that may be true in many instances, it’s not a guarantee that there’s anyone out there waiting for you. The reality of uncertainty can be harsh, but it invalidates the sentiment that there’s something better out there waiting for you as a reason for anyone to seek a divorce.

The honesty does not only extend to one’s self, but also to their significant other. In any relationship, communication is key, and as difficult as it can be to communicate with someone whom you may have a strained relationship with, it is a necessary component to moving forward with or without the marriage intact.

In order to get the best settlement in their divorce as possible, communication and honesty with an ex-spouse can be effective resources. Opening up the dialogue can help end the marriage with a sense of civility, benefiting you in your settlement or in any possible custody agreement.

Contrary data

There are findings that suggest that while the sentiment of “the grass is greener” is not necessarily true, it also is not necessarily false, in that, the grass is not less green. Research from Princeton University concluded that many of the studies regarding divorce and subjective well-being have largely been uninformed by more general subjective well-being literature.

This has influenced much of the findings regarding the idea of “the grass being greener” to imply that it would be less green, which research has proven to be false. In addition, many attorneys would agree that while half of their clients who divorce live happy, more fulfilling lives after the experience, there also is another half who are left with even more hardships, especially financial hardships given that they often are supporting two separate households with the same household income.

Identity crisis

With income and finances often a large aspect of the focus during marital discord, individuality can get lost, and many spouses and ex-spouses can find themselves questioning their self-worth. They can find themselves questioning if they are more than just a pay check or an alimony payment.

The low self-esteem and inability to help one’s self can actually cause divorce to occur, according to Susan Pease Gadoua, a licensed therapist for Psychology Today. This can be due to many individuals having personalities that find it difficult to help someone that can’t help themselves.

For these individuals, they see the grass being greener as more of a logical sentiment, because they have a difficult time connecting with the reality of the person that they married and wish to move on. Both sides of this coin are not exclusive to men or women in general. Sometimes, husbands can find themselves being logical in wanting to separate from someone who cannot help themselves, just the same as wives can.

Look internally

Whether the grass is more or less green than on your side of the fence, it’s necessary to understand that pursuing the perception of a better life with a better partner by your side has consequences beyond a broken relationship. There are going to be costs at every turn with legal fees, logistical fees, finding a new place to live, and any sort of spousal or child support, among them.

Ending a marriage should be more about the discord and general issues that exist between two individuals who no longer function as a couple. In fantasizing about the future and looking elsewhere, you lose sight of the problems staring at you in the present.

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