The Grass Is Greener Syndrome
(AKA; itchy feet, quarter life crisis, early-twenty-itus)
I thought I would put together a thread here to provide some information on and a place to discuss this particular type of break up. I've had relationships end because of it along with a few of my friends. In addition, I've had friends be the ones stricken with this 'syndrome', so I've seen how it plays out from both sides. Hopefully, I can provide a little insight to help those of you going through this type of breakup. The more we understand something, the more comfortable with it we become and the less scary it seems.
In my opinion, outside of infidelity, this is one of the toughest types of breakups to go through. It seemingly comes out of nowhere, seems to have no rhyme or reason behind it, and it can strike even the best of couples. In your 'run of the mill' break up, there's usually an identifiable reason or set of reasons that led to the split, such as personality conflicts, fighting, different life goals, etc. These breakups are also difficult, but I've always found them a bit easier to cope with because you can identify a cause to the effect. Not so with the grass is greener syndrome. It's like going through a root canal even though your teeth are perfectly healthy.
This syndrome usually tends to fall on women within the age range of 20-25 (it happens to men, too, but seems to be less often). It usually happens in a long term relationship (maybe two or more years) when the couple is about to make a much larger commitment to each other, such as an engagement or marriage. It's as if the mixture between the person's young age and the thought of making such a huge commitment almost makes them want to go on the relationship equivalent of the Amish's Rumspringa.
Some of the classic symptoms of this are as follows:
- Reasons for the break up are contradicting or sound like the dumper is grasping at straws for reasons. As if they are trying to convince themselves of it, too.
- Not much warning that something is going on before the actual break.
- An extreme change in lifestyle, such as suddenly starting to drink a lot, party a lot and hang around people they normally wouldn't.
- Wishy-washiness on the part of the dumper. They love you, but aren't IN love with you. They say that this doesn't mean you two are over forever and maybe someday down the road you'll be together again. At the same time, they'll tell you to move on.
- Quickly entering new relationships with people they aren't very compatible with.
One of the biggest problems with these sorts of breakups is that the dumpee will be more likely to want to stick around in the dumpers life. Due to the dumper's extreme mixed signals and the fact that they'll try harder than usual to keep the dumpee around as a friend, the dumpee will make all sorts of excuses to stay around. They'll say things such as "She's just confused, so we're going to remain friends and see what happens". These sorts of breakups need to be treated like any other kind of breakup. Give the dumper as much space as possible and gracefully bow out of their life.
The thing to keep in mind is that in these sorts of breakups, the dumpers themselves don't have any sort of answers to give. They're usually just as confused about the situation as the dumpee. This often adds more pain to the dumpee because they're just looking for some sort of reason as to why they're being hurt so badly and get completely frustrated when the dumper can't give them one. They think the dumper may be acting cruel or like the dumper is hiding something from them. This is usually not the case. The dumper isn't giving any answers because they don't have them.
Now for the good news. If the dumpee does completely exit the dumpers life and resist the temptation to remain friends, the chance that the opportunity for reconciliation will arise is actually quite good. If the relationship was a good one, the dumper will find out eventually that the grass isn't greener, it's just different grass and may even be a little worse than the pastures they left. However, that doesn't mean that a reconciliation will happen. Due to the hurtfulness of this type of breakup, the dumpee will most often refuse the offer for reconciliation when it eventually comes up (which can be months or over a year down the line). Since the breakup happened out of nowhere and for no real good reason, it can be difficult for most people to get the trust back in the relationship. The fear that they'll suddenly be dumped out of nowhere will hinder the relationship from developing into anything. This is why I said the "opportunity" for reconciliation is a lot higher and not that actual reconciliations are common for these types of breakups.
So, my heart goes out to all of you enduring this particular type of breakup. Just remember, it's not your fault and it's not the dumper's fault, either. It's just due to human nature and unfortunate sets of circumstances. No amount of picking your ex's brain will result in any sort of meaningful answers to the questions that plague you. Just remember that this is a phase and it doesn't last forever. So, as long as your ex is in this phase, all you can do is go about living your own life and making yourself a better person.
If anyone has any questions, I'll be happy to give you my opinion on the matter.
Good luck, everyone.