My ex and I were very compatible with the roommate stuff.
Brock and I? Not so much, especially at the beginning.
But even with that being said, I have never wished that Brock was more like my ex in this regard.
Because not only would that be pointless.
It would also be poisonous.
Rather than comparing the two men, I recognized that my experiences with the first made me skilled in some areas and deficient in others. I didn’t wish Brock kept house like my house; I realized that I had never learned to negotiate housekeeping with someone else.
So it was a challenge.
And challenges can be met.
It breaks my heart a little every year when I meet new students that have siblings that have passed through my classroom. The first words out of their nervous mouths are, “I’m nothing like my brother/sister.” I always reassure them that I don’t compare siblings and that I’m excited to get to know them for who they are, unclouded by the impressions left by their kin. I instruct them to tell their brother or sister “hi” for me, and then I intentionally push them out of my mind. Because when I’m getting to know the new student, the former ones don’t matter.
None of us like to be compared to others, especially when it’s rigged for us to come up short. But it can be difficult not to compare as you transition from one relationship to another. It’s so easy to place the partners side by side and measure the qualities of each. Easy, but also damaging to your new relationship, especially if your partner feels as though he or she can never measure up. It may feel like a party of two, but if you’re always comparing, there’s a third person in your partnership.
Find yourself comparing? Try this.
Be intentional and mindful about the traits and characteristics you want in a partner before you begin dating and work to refine your desires as you meet people. If you choose an apple, don’t complain that it doesn’t taste like an orange.
Focus on your new partner’s strengths, especially those that were not shared by your ex. Celebrate what is now compatible or easy where before there was stress or strain. We all have gifts we bring to table. Don’t be so focused on what is lacking that you neglect to see the riches.
When you find your ex in your thoughts in a comparing way, remind yourself why you are glad they are your ex. Maybe they were better at small engine repair than your new partner, but that seems pretty silly when you consider they slept with your best friend.
Accept that you cannot change your partner no matter how much you compare. Rather, work to adapt yourself to meet the new challenges present in any emerging relationship. Comparing cuts. Try growing instead.
When you find the partners side by side in your head, picture them side by side in front of you. Pretty uncomfortable, huh? Exactly. Kick one of them out. Preferably the ex.