I work with many individuals and career couples who hugely respect and admire their partner. For the most part they work as a team endeavoring to support each other with career and life situations. This being said, when we admire and respect our partner, we can begin to see them as true role models in many ways. When we live with them we can sometimes start to compare ourselves to them.
Competing can be a positive, as when you see your spouse do well, it drives you to progress in your own field or to set your own goals, but what can happen is the comparing and competing can turn into envy. Envy is a feeling of discontent and inferiority towards someone who has something we want but can’t immediately have.
As a partner we can have a hard time even admitting to ourselves that we are envious of our spouse. Be it envious of their career achievements, capabilities or a personal characteristics. After all we are not supposed to envy a loved one, we should be proud of their achievements, shouldn’t we? The reality is, it can be mixed emotions because we can be proud and envious at the same time.
How do we break the cycle?
Talk about it:
Whether you’re the partner feeling envious or you’re on the tail end, call it out. The chances are if you are feeling it, so is your partner.
Appreciate the good stuff:
If you on track to achieving something and your spouse is supporting you, don’t take the support for granted. Let your partner know you couldn’t do it alone. And if you are the envious partner, take some sometime to remind yourself of how your spouse’s success benefits you too.
Find your ways to shine:
Think about what you love and are good at and spend time doing more of this. Take the focus back to yourself and you will have less time to think about your spouse in this way.
Continue to shine:
You don’t hold back if you are the envied spouse. But remember to be sensitive to your partner’s feelings and needs, and remind yourself what works for you should work for both of you.
So remember competing is not always a bad thing, but when envy starts to raise its head, focus more on your own strengths and ways to shine.