Recently, a lot of my readers emailed me about how to get their ex back after what they call a ”Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome” type of breakup.
First, let’s talk about what ”Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome” really means in the context of love and relationship.
”Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome” refers to the belief that what you have right now( in this case it is your current partner) is not good enough and that you will meet someone better and have a happier life.
This type of breakup is probably one of the most difficult kinds of breakups because there is usually no apparent reason and you most likely didn’t see it coming at a time when you think your relationship is all happy and stable.
I understand what you must be feeling right now, and I know that you are confused and devastated and desperate to find out why it happened.
To help you get a better understanding of your ‘Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome ‘ type of breakup, let’s first take a look at what its characteristics are.
How To Tell If It Is A ‘Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome’ Type Of Breakup:
- Your ex is inconsistent with his/her breakup reasons: you might find your ex keep changing their reason for breakup. For example, one minute they might be telling you that the spark is gone, then next minute they are saying that two of you are in different places of your lives now, then next minute they are saying that they want more time to focus on themselves.
- It was a very sudden breakup and it caught you completely off guard: more often than not, there are no obvious telltale signs that warn you about an impending ”Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome” breakup. The dumpee is likely still under the impression that the relationship is going well. The reason is that there is no major problems with their relationship (for example: no big fights or arguments) and the dumper might still love the dumpee( Does the overused ‘I love you but I am not in love with you’ line ring a bell?). But, the spark in the relationship is gone and the dumper starts wondering what he/she might be missing out by continuing to stay in the relationship.
- There is probably a sudden change in your ex. I see this happen a lot. For example, your ex was never really the partying type, but she/he started going clubbing and drinking with friends after breakup. Or, you might find that your ex pierced their ear and signed up for gym membership and etc.
- Your ex might have mentioned that he/she feels his/her life is routine and he/she wants to try something new. This is especially so when two people have been together for a long period of time and they have not really put in effort to keep things exciting for each other.
People Who Are Prone To ‘Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome ‘:
- They are still at a young age (probably in their 20s), and they are still at the stage where they want to try new things and meet new people. They are scared that they might be giving up the chance to have something/someone better by committing to the relationship. It is never certain that they can do better and they are aware of it as well, but they don’t want to regret for not trying to find out what is on the other side.
- If this is their first relationship or first serious relationship, they might feel that they should go out and explore more and also experience more people. As they have never had any other relationships before, they cannot possibly make comparison and they are always left wondering what it is like to date different types of people. I have a good friend who met her high school sweetheart(first boyfriend) when she was 17. After high school, they went to the same university. During sophomore year, she was struggling with the decision whether or not she should break up with her boyfriend because if she continues with the relationship, she could see that they would get married after graduation and she is not sure if that is what she really wants and also she is afraid of committing to the relationship so early. This is a classic case of ‘Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome’ .
- Their close friends/coworkers are all single and are having lots of fun dating different people. External influence can play a role in your ex’s relationship decision. When your ex’s single friends are always out partying and enjoying themselves, your ex might feel that he/she is missing out and it could be him/her having a blast out there as well. Instead, your ex is stuck in a relationship where everything feels routine and boring. It is very common for your ex to have this kind of feeling, especially after you two have stopped trying to spice things up in your relationship.
- They have it in them based on their past relationship history. Your ex has never had a serious and long term relationship. They are always jumping from one relationship to another because they easily lose interest and get bored.
Is Grass Always Greener On The Other Side?
Well, it depends on a few factors. For example, if you treated your ex very badly throughout the relationship, then any other situation might seem greener to your ex. In other words, the standard you have set for your ex plays a role in this case.
If you set the bar pretty low, then it is very easy for your ex to find someone that beats the bar you have set previously.
Let say, you have set the bar quite high( on a scale of 1 to 10, you are a 8 or even 9). Then, when your ex realizes that the new girl/guy they are dating cannot match up to your standard, they will know they have made a mistake leaving you.
There is no guarantee that the grass is always greener on the other side. Every relationship has its flaws. There is NO perfect relationship. You might have the illusion that your new found relationship is perfect during the initial honeymoon period. However, when the honeymoon period is over (it eventually will), you might start to see habits or traits in your partners that you don’t really like or you might begin to experience a different set of problems from your previous relationship.
What Causes ‘Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome’?
In essence, “grass is greener syndrome” is having the belief that there is always something better that we are missing.
As a result, instead of feeling contented and happy in the present relationship, you are always feeling that there is more and better elsewhere, and I can’t settle for anything less than perfect. So, you are not invested in your relationship wholeheartedly.
It often comes from two of the most commonly known human emotions: fantasy and fear. Let’s look at each one in details.
When we talk about fear in the context of love and relationship, it can refer to a few different situations. For example, your ex-boyfriend might fear committing to a serious relationship or marriage. Or, your ex-girlfriend fear of losing her individuality and personal space. Or your ex is scared of boredom.
When they have any one of these kinds of fear in a relationship, they inevitably need to make compromise for the sake of staying together with us and then it comes the feeling of them making oppressive sacrifice. When this persists for long, they might start to think that they can have what they want or crave else where.
Next, let’s talk about fantasy. We humans always want what we don’t have, and then we fantasize that we will get what we don’t have after making the change.
Your ex could be experiencing the same as well. But, after making the change(flipping to the other side of the fence) and after the ‘ honeymoon period ‘ is over and the novelty of the change wears off, they might want to jump again to the other side of the fence for greener grass because they find that there are other things that they want but they don’t have.
Let’s dig a little deeper here. When they feel the grass is greener on the other side, what they are actually doing is that they are blaming their internal unhappiness on external factors or environment. By changing the external environment, they think they could become happier. They might get a short-lived emotional high after they jump to the other side of the fence, but eventually the dissatisfaction will come back again because they never really deal with the internal unhappiness.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Scenario A: Ex-girlfriend initiated the breakup out of blue
‘‘ My ex and I have been apart for 2 months now. She broke up with me out of the blue, not really any signs until the last few days, maybe the week before hand. She had gone out with some people and had a lot of fun it seemed like. Any normal time, i wasn’t worried at all. She started to act different afterwards though within the next couple of days. It was a very sudden break up thats for sure. Her reasons were very inconsistent. Varying from the spark being lost and saying that we were in different parts of our lives (She 21, me 22). We had been together for over a year. Everything was great, arguments here and there but who doesn’t have those.
She even went on to say we spent a lot of time together and forgot about our own lives, which I get. They were very inconsistent reasons time after time. And being a different reason seeming like it was just pulled out of her **** every time.
I feel as though this night she went out she had realized “the grass is greener” or maybe she thought there was something better out there for her? After our breakup she immediately went to this guy that was out that night with them. I saw his car at her house the day of our break up.
They are now “dating” if you will. I’m wondering if this is the grass is greener syndrome or a rebound? He is the total opposite of me. Both her and I are students finishing up our last years. She will be graduating as I go to grad school. Is this Grass is greener syndrome or a rebound? I’m still lost and totally in love with her and don’t want to lose her, I feel like I already have. ”
A rebound usually happens shortly after the breakup, whereas in the case of ‘Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome’, your ex probably have already met someone new before your breakup and it possibly triggered the breakup.
Also, your ex-girlfriend is in her early 20s and she still wants to keep her options open and see what is out there for her. At such a young age, she is probably not sure that what she has right now is what she really wants because of her very limited relationship experience. So, she is tempted to explore more and maybe experience dating different types of people to figure out what she really wants.
Advice: Right now, what you should be is to just let her go and let her experience dating other guys. It is hard watching someone whom you love go out with other people, but you need to live with it for a while. The way to get her back is to make her realize that she has made a mistake and you are more suitable for her than the guys she is dating. We need to make her attracted to you again, just like the first time you two fell madly in love.
Scenario B: Ex-boyfriend suddenly broke up with you
”My boyfriend of two and a half years broke up with me last week. However, each passing day feels like forever. Though it has only been a week, it feels like a month since I last spoke to him. He ultimately broke up with me to see other people. Granted, we are each other’s first real relationship and we both don’t know much outside of each other.
I can understand why he broke up with me, I’ve always wondered what it was like to date other people too, but the problem is that I never saw this coming, much like other dumpees who’ve experienced dating someone with Grass is Greener Syndrome.
My boyfriend has recently talked about how his entire life feels “routine.” Work is the same, except for the fact that he was promoted and now the job is a little more stressful. And our relationship was beginning to feel routine at times too. But after being with someone for that much of time, what do you expect?
Granted, we never fought, rarely argued, and got along great. I’m not really a people person, so it was perfect that I found him and got along so wonderfully with him. He is a little more social than I, but has even said it is amazing that we fell in love with each other because of our personalities towards everyone.
He sent me this message a month before we broke up: Well, let’s try new/different things. The thing that makes me mad is that you are talking to guys on OKCupid because you are sexually bored with me, instead of telling me that you are bored with the sex. I guess I just want better communication. You know that I want to be with you, and that I love you. I want you to tell me these things so that I know how to be a better boyfriend to you, and make our relationship better. You mean the world to me, Butthead, and I just want you to tell me when you feel this way, so I can try to find a way to make thing better. Anyway, I hope you have a good day at work. I love you.
Now, is it just me, or does that sound like someone who is pretty into you? That is why this whole situation is mind-numbingly annoying, confusing, and hurtful. I really love this guy and want to be with him. I’m pretty sure he wants to be with me too, he is just… confused? I don’t even know. We always talked about our feelings and how we felt, except when it was really tough, which was right before he broke up with me.
Now that I am single and “free” to do what I want, I have absolutely no desire to be with anyone else. Though I have always been curious, I am pretty sure I know what I want – I don’t need to be with anyone else to know that. ”
Almost all relationships go through periods of predictability and boredom. A stagnant phase can be one of the last stages a relationship goes through before it comes to an end. But, it can be avoided if you know the right way to handle it.
For any long-term relationship to work, it has to balance feelings of excitement and enchantment with stability and comfort. However, too much comfort can equate to predictability and boredom. To get back the feeling of novelty in your relationship, you can try fun new activities, such as taking salsa dance class or going on an adventure. Having more fun together can drastically improve the quality of your relationship.
Advice: It is a good thing to know that your ex did talk to you about how he felt things were starting to get somewhere routine in almost all aspects of his life. That means that he wanted to make things work and he values the relationship. But you didn’t really think it was that serious or didn’t really expect how much it is affecting him and the way he felt about the relationship. From what you mentioned, it seems that you are comfortable with things becoming routine. When you think back, do you think that it would make a difference if you tried to making some changes?
To get your ex-boyfriend back, you need to remove all the resistance that is holding him back from being together with you again, such as fear of the relationship becoming routine and boring again. So, what do you do? You show him the fun and spontaneous side of you and that assure him that it will be different this time around. It takes conscious effort to keep the spark alive.
Often, the grass starts out a shiny green (‘honeymoon period’). However, it will slowly start to wear a little. It has to be maintained in order to stay a nice shade of green. The dulled green grass on our current side of the fence would be greener if we nurture it.