"As cliche as it sounds, all relationships are different, because everyone is different. Your ideal date night might be watching a movie, whilst your friends’ dates are going for a picnic"Illustration by juliet babinsky for varsity

I often find myself comparing my relationship to other people’s. When I do this, I almost always feel anxiety that there’s something wrong with my relationship, or that other people are just ‘better’ at being in a relationship than I am. Usually when I’m with my partner and not as much exposed to other people’s relationships, these anxieties go away, so I’m pretty sure most of them stem from my own insecurities. However, when I’m feeling this anxiety, it’s hard to realise that and snap out of it. I worry that it makes me unfair to my partner by doubting their trust or their intentions. Is there a way to stop comparing myself to others and stop feeling this anxiety?

Pictures of friends’ date nights overflowing your instagram feed? Magazines inundating you with perfect celebrity couples? Netflix rom coms hammering in the ideal romantic relationship? With all these seemingly perfect relationships competing for your attention and validation, it’s easy to feel inadequate. I know I have. 

Take a step back and think about the last time you felt low in your relationship. If you compare those feelings to how you project your relationship on social media or to friends and family, I’m guessing everything is not always as it seems. What you see of other people’s relationships is never the whole truth. This is not to say that all those gooey-eyed couples you see on social media are on machiavellian missions to convince you of their relationship superiority. People just don’t tend to publicise the negative. 

The idea of a league table of relationships - that they are something one can be good or bad at - is a deeply flawed social construct. No one can be better than you at your relationship, because you are the only one with the exact set of circumstances and feelings that started, and keep, your relationship going. As cliche as it sounds, all relationships are different, because everyone is different. Your ideal date night might be watching a movie, whilst your friends’ dates are going for a picnic; it’s perfectly normal to romanticise what we don’t have as ‘better’, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what other people are doing, as long as you are happy.  


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It’s difficult to step back when you’re in a relationship, as we tend to hold on to what is good rather than face what might be wrong, but it is crucial for you to  ask yourself the hard questions. If you’re feeling insecure, maybe consider the cause of those insecurities: do you think it’s jealousy, or is it that you are not getting what you want in your relationship? People have different love languages, and when wrapped up in the ‘all that glitters’ aspect of a relationship, you might miss the fact that you’re not exactly getting the affection or attention that you’re looking for from your partner. In any case, communication is key. Let your partner know how you’re feeling, because they might be feeling the same insecurities, or could be sensing you feeling uncomfortable when these doubts creep up. Talking to each other might also help you figure out the nature of this anxiety. To navigate hanging out with other couples when with your partner, you could establish a code, like your partner squeezing your hand to reassure and remind you of your connection, which doesn’t need to be compared to anyone else’s. 

Remember that it’s healthy to reflect on your relationship. You say that these insecurities go away when you’re with your partner, which sounds to me like you are happy and comfortable around them, and that’s all that matters. Your relationship is only for you two to focus on and enjoy.