She started dating someone a month before I did, and we’ve been chit-chatting about that over the course of our relationships since we kind of have that in common now. She and her boyfriend have been on a short trip together, they have been to a friend’s wedding together, and they are spending the holidays together. I’m not jealous about those things because I don’t think my boyfriend and I are there yet. But I found and creeped her boyfriend’s Instagram and there are a few couple photos of them. Of course, they look beautiful together. All I could think was that he is better looking and has a cooler life than my boyfriend — my kind, affectionate, goofy, generous, sexy, smart boyfriend. What the eff is wrong with me?
I know people project a certain image on social media and I can’t get hung up on it. Also, I’m about a 5, looks-wise, so I can’t expect a super attractive boyfriend, and even if I did, I’d be insecure about that too. However, I’m aware I compare myself to others constantly, aside from my coworker.
Do you have any advice on this? I’m obviously (?) not going to creep his Instagram anymore. — Not Measuring Up
(Self-) Awareness is half the battle. The other half is doing something about it. What are you actually doing? You don’t mention anything that you’re doing to actively deal with your jealousy and the way you compare yourself to others (especially via social media). Therapy, of course, is an obvious option, but there are plenty more steps you can take to cultivate more self-confidence and decrease your urge to compare:
1. Cultivate gratitude for all you have by keeping a gratitude journal and by actually saying “thank you” to people who not only do things for you, but also to those who inspire you to be better.
2. To that end, how does your co-worker inspire you? You say she’s nice and she does her job well. How is she nice? What is she doing well at her job that you could also do? What can you learn from her?
3. Get off social media.
4. All of it.
5. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc., etc.
6. It’s one thing to know intellectually that the lives that people project on social media don’t always reflect reality (or at least not 100% of reality), but if you’re looking at people’s feeds and constantly comparing their highlight reel to your total reality, you’re gonna make yourself nuts. Clearly.
7. Focus and build on your strengths. What are you good at? What can you do to get even better? Practice, classes, investment of time and energy and maybe money? When you focus on what you do well and put your energy into becoming better at that thing, that’s less energy you are expending on comparing yourself to someone else. You are trading negative energy for positive and finding a productive use of your time and energy.
8. Do good. When you do good, not only do you help make someone else’s life better, but also you tend to feel better about yourself, too. So, volunteer, organize a donation drive, help a friend in need, do small and/or anonymous acts of kindness like paying for coffee for the person behind you in line or delivering cookies to your local firehouse on a random afternoon.
9. Also, therapy is still a pretty good idea, even if you’re doing all these other things and succeeding at them, too.
10. And, seriously, say no to social media if it makes you feel like you don’t measure up.
Yesterday I got a floral table centerpiece from him for Christmas, and then I found out that she also received a floral table centerpiece for Christmas. I was heartbroken and now wonder if he really loves me or if he has just been using me. She has lyme disease and is almost totally blind, and he says he feels sorry for her. I love this man, but I do not want her in my life or in our life. Where do I go from here, and is there any hope for us to have a life together without her? — Not the Centerpiece?
You have made it clear that you don’t want this woman in your boyfriend’s life. He’s made it clear he’s not discarding a friend. I’m confused by your timeline of events — you’ve been seeing this guy for six years, and you say six years ago he started seeing his ex again, it didn’t work out, and they decided to remain friends. Either he started seeing you both at the same time, or there was very little time between you, but regardless: it’s been six years of this and you know it’s not going to change. Time to MOA; you two are not a match.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.