Last modified on June 24th, 2020
In the previous posts in this series, we first looked at some of the basics of the Grass is Greener Syndrome. We later looked at the signs of Grass is Greener Syndrome as well as ways to overcome Grass is Greener Syndrome.
The last post in the series talked about the concept of Grass is Greener Syndrome breakups. In these posts, we’ve tried to establish what the syndrome is all about and how it affects the life of the sufferer. These have been with major reference to relationships.
The Grass is Greener Syndrome (GIGS) can have a devastating effect on different areas of life. In the post about Grass is Greener Syndrome breakups, we saw how it can leave a big dent in love relationships.
One of the reasons why the GIG Syndrome can cause such havoc in a relationship is because it is a combination of separate issues coming together to create a larger problem.
Thus the Grass is Greener Syndrome is not as simple as “just making a choice” or “wanting what you can’t have“. It is way more complicated than this. The GIG syndrome is fueled by a very strong internal emotionally-based struggle.
Key Elements of the Grass is Greener Syndrome
The concepts of fantasy and fear are the two primary reasons why the syndrome can be so devastating to a relationship. Besides these two concepts is also the element of pain.
The effect of the pain element is such that a specific unfulfilled need completely takes over our attention. This is often to the total neglect of other needs which are already being fulfilled howbeit unrecognized.
As is often the case, most of our decisions in life are non-rational and more emotionally based at the time of the decisions. Our irrational and emotionally charged behaviors become so much stronger when the element of pain is factored into it.
Decisions based on the element of pain are also fueled by the all-or-nothing or black-and-white phenomenon associated with the GIG Syndrome. Thus, it is either the pain is fulfilled or nothing else.
On the whole, the powerful emotions you go through when under the influence of the grass is Greener Syndrome usually outweigh what your rational mind may know.
Managing the Grass is Greener Syndrome
When dealing with the Grass is Greener Syndrome, it is important to understand that the various underlying components of the syndrome affect different individuals to varying degrees.
As a result, some of the underlying causes play leading roles while others play supportive roles in perpetuating the syndrome.
Thus, a clear understanding of this and the identification of the leading cause are important in dealing with the syndrome.
Technically, when it comes to relationship and marriage, the Grass is Greener Syndrome is called “Relationship Anxiety.” One well known reason for this anxiety is the failure to appreciate one’s partner and rather fantasizing about someone better.
It is important to state that the need to seek professional assistance cannot be overstated. This is due to some of the reasons highlighted above as well as in the overcome Grass is Greener Syndrome post.
However, it is also necessary to understand that by engaging in beneficial behaviors that can offset the causes can go a long way in keeping your grass greener.
In going forward, you need to imbibe the fundamental understanding that the “grass is isn’t greener on the other side of the fence“.
The grass is greener where you water it.
Therefore, the overall idea is keeping your grass greener by watering it. In line with this, here are some tips on how to water your grass to ensure you’re always keeping your grass greener.
1. Believe You Can Overcome It
As with any problem, the first step toward a solution is to approach it with a positive attitude and true understanding.
Thus, the first step you need to take is to change your mindset about this syndrome. Yes, it is a syndrome, and like all other syndromes, it can be overcome.
Within yourself, you must first believe that this proposed change is possible. Believe that you can overcome whatever problem this syndrome might have caused in your relationship or personal life.
Your self-belief is a critical element to overcome the Grass is Greener Syndrome. Why?
Assume you were to go for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or any other type of professional assistance. The best the therapist can do is assist you to pinpoint what the underlying causes are and then recommend possible strategies for you to adopt.
They can walk you through what you need to do and encourage you to do same. However, it is ultimately up to you to do as advised and your mindset will greatly affect how far you can go.
Except you change your belief system and adopt a positive mindset, making the requisite behavioral changes might prove difficult.
So, first thing first, change your mindset. Believe within yourself that you can overcome this syndrome no matter how long it might have been pestering your life. Change starts from within.
2. Be Present in Your Relationship
One way to keeping your grass greener is to become more present and available in your current relationship. Constantly looking for that “perfect” partner will leave you unhappy in any present situation.
Realize that no relationship is perfect in any way. There is always one issue or another to contend with which may not be visible from the outside.
Stop worrying about whether what you have is good enough for “forever”. Also, don’t always expect your partner to feel or look a certain way all the time. Appreciate what you have and just trust.
Stop overanalyzing situations in your relationship as it will always ebb and flow. Just let it flow and learn from the experiences to help you grow and evolve both as a couple and personally.
Being more present and focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t have, helps to reduce the grass is greener syndrome. At the same time, it helps to greatly increase your chances of finding true happiness.
So push thoughts of the future into the future and instead focus on the present and the very next step. Take those occasional glances ahead to enable you make general plans to get there.
3. Building Trust
This is perhaps one of the most delicate part of a relationship. It takes so much time to build but the slightest of wrong move can trample it under.
Want to stop the grass is greener syndrome? Then consciously build more trust in your relationship.
Sustainable long term relationships are built on the trust that exists between partners. Trust is not built in a day but earned in the small moments experienced together.
Make it an intentional habit to think positive thoughts about your partner as well as to actively cherish them.
At the same time, do not fail to tell them how much you really appreciate them being in your life. Continuously watering your grass this way help you ensure that you’re always keeping your grass greener on your side of the fence.
4. Fight Fairly
Avoiding problems in a relationship exacerbates them in the long run. There will always be instances of rejection, differences of opinion, or discontentment with your partner.
While it might be frightening facing a problem head-on, it enables you to pursue solutions to the problem.
Try as much as possible to avoid sweeping any problem under the carpet else the differences will multiply.
Instead, identify what the differences are. Then, ask good questions to get more information, and together, proceed toward creating solutions.
Trying NOT to do something turns out to be less effective than trying to ADD a new habit.
Focusing on the WILL DO’s increases the odds that habit change will succeed.
Empathize with each other in cases when you’re unable to come to a comprise. It is not a must that you must always agree in order to have a great relationship.
Keeping your grass greener therefore entails being understanding of your partner’s arguments.
This creates an environment in which they feel open to discuss delicate issues with you. Knowing they won’t be criticized over their views reduces their anxiety and thus the grass is greener syndrome.
Developing effective communication skills is vital to fighting fairly with your partner. Also make it a priority to always create time to discuss areas of concern in your relationship.
5. Ask Questions and Listen
Stop guessing about the thoughts and feelings of your partner to help reduce the grass is greener syndrome. This is vital as most guesses we make of other people’s thoughts and feelings are based on worse fears.
As you perhaps know by experience, your guesses are almost always wrong. Also, they are almost always more negative than the actual reality on ground.
So ask instead of interpreting or assuming what your partner is thinking or feeling.
Ask good open-ended questions with starter-words like “How do you feel about…?” or “What is your view on…?“. These types of questions create room for more fruitful conversations.
Try to avoid the “Did you…?”, “Can you…?” or “Aye you…? type of questions.
Listen empathically to your partner’s response with your best listening skills. Take in the new data and process it.
If the answers are still unclear, there’s no harm in asking for further clarification.
Even getting a bad news as a response is better than no news at all. From the bad news you can at least start creating realistic clear action plans.
This is one of the best strategies for keeping your grass greener as it prevents developing anxiety.
6. Emotionally Reconnect
Finding time to recognize and appreciate what you have will increase your happiness.
Discover ways to frequently reconnect emotionally with your partner. Have those face-to-face chats and share things with each other.
Regularly ask each other some good open-ended questions sprinkled with some small talks. Go for dates and take evening walks together.
Talk about the little things of your day, the worries, the joy and pains. Effectively keeping your grass greener might involve you becoming vulnerable again with each other.
Create more opportunities for those small gestures and actions that will help both of you to reconnect on a deeper emotional level.
Indeed, the grass is greener where you water it. The overall idea is to build an internal place of stability for yourself by personally keeping your grass greener.
Happiness comes from within. It springs from a healthy inner life. No one can make you happy, only you can do that.
Instead of looking for another greener grass, first try to nurture your relationship with the love and care it requires.
Try tending and watering the grass on your side of the fence and watch it turn into a greener grass.