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"The Grass Is Greener" Syndrome


Mayday11
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Hey Mayday,

 

In your opinion, do you think that even when the dumpee decides to just say goodbye and wisher the dumper good luck with life, that it hinders the chances of the dumper ever trying to reconcile things if they change their minds later on in the future? Just a question, since I've pretty much cut all contact off with my ex. Not getting my hopes up, but I'm guessing this is the diminishing hope within me asking the question.

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Hey Mayday,

 

In your opinion, do you think that even when the dumpee decides to just say goodbye and wisher the dumper good luck with life, that it hinders the chances of the dumper ever trying to reconcile things if they change their minds later on in the future? Just a question, since I've pretty much cut all contact off with my ex. Not getting my hopes up, but I'm guessing this is the diminishing hope within me asking the question.

 

Not at all, that's actually the most mature and respectful way to handle the situation. Sure, the dumper might get angry or sad that you're not going to stick around as your friend. But, once they start to settle down after this phase and gain a bit of maturity themselves, they'll look back and realize just how much strength and maturity it took for you to do what you did.

 

The reasons they'll often want you to hang around as a friend is because they still love you very much, still care for you and still want you to be a big part of their lives. Since the relationship itself was just fine, they see no reason why you guys can't just remain best of friends...while they go off and go crazy and hook up with other people. The problem with this route for the dumpee is, of course, the fact that it will emotionally drain you and turn you into a pathetic wet blanket in your ex's eyes. Being friends and sticking around will ultimately hurt your chances of reconciliation in the long run.

 

Stepping back and giving them the time and space to do what they need to do and using this time very wisely to work on your own faults (even if they didn't effect the end of the relationship, everyone has faults!) is the right course of action.

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It's EXACTLY what I just did with my ex of 4 months. We were together for 1.5 years (would have been 2 years next month). I am 31 and she is 24. She had not one single, solitary, justifiable reason for our break up. She's admitted that I am a GREAT catch, that I deserve so much more, that she doesnt believe she'll find something 'better', etc. But, for whatever her reasons, (even she doesnt know) she has decided to be alone. She's not even going off to be in another relationship. She just simply wants to be alone. What broke my heart was when she said that we would both be with other people. This was after she told me she wanted to 'try again' when she was ready. Huh??

 

Of course, she has asked for my hand in friendship. She said that she loves me, wants me in her life, trusts me more than anyone and that I would be the first person she would go to because of that trust. Though it was the HARDEST thing for me, I told her that I had to decline. I told her that I will always love her, but I have to let her go. I'm worth more and deserve more than to have to settle for a friendship after where we've been together.

 

I KNOW this is what's right for me, but not a second goes by during my day that I'm not hit with the pain of my reality.......she's gone...

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While it hurts a lot for the dumpee, it also hurts a lot for the dumper and everyone needs to keep that in mind. After all, the relationship isn't ending due to it necessarily being a bad relationship, it's ending because of a reason the dumper can't quite put their finger on. A lot of the time, the dumper will almost think there is something wrong with them because there should be no reason for them to want to end a perfectly good relationship.

 

I hope that is true. When my gf dumped me she felt guilty and sad for only a few days then she bounced back quickly into another relationship. I think she is now enjoying her life with her new man and that's the part that's really killing me.

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I know for a fact my ex is fine. Not having the anxiety she used to associate with being in a relationship has made her life much better. She's all over the place. So, I let her go. What I dont know, cant hurt me. Each day, I hope the memory of her face fades...it's too painful to still, subconsiously, see it..so hard.

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I hope that is true. When my gf dumped me she felt guilty and sad for only a few days then she bounced back quickly into another relationship. I think she is now enjoying her life with her new man and that's the part that's really killing me.

 

I'd hazard a guess and say that her sadness and guilty didn't magically disappear, but was simply swept under the rug of her new relationship.

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I'd hazard a guess and say that her sadness and guilty didn't magically disappear, but was simply swept under the rug of her new relationship.

 

Well that seems as good as disappearing. It'll probably fade with time. It kinda pissed me off that she didn't really properly mourn our relationship. Sorry for saying this over and over but six years and a few days of mourning doesn't seem right to me. We really didn't have any major fights or anything and I thought everything was fine. I don't know, it just seems like our time together really didn't matter to her that much.

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...

So if they never wanted to be friends after the split they no longer care or think of you at all? I suppose that is logical. Hard to take, but logical. Mine never even spoke to me again. I hear a lot about ex's remaining friends. I wish he would have wanted that. I would have rather had him in my life as a friend than not at all.

 

That's not necessarily true. Remember, since all relationships are very unique, it's only possible to speak in generalities here. There are gray areas everywhere.

 

And I'm sure they think of you.

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It think there's one very important thing to note in all of this:

 

Grass is greener syndrome comes about because the dumper is starting to mature and change as a person. They want to see what else is out there, which is a natural and understandable thing, no matter how much it hurts the dumpee.

 

A further thing to face up to as a dumpee is that by virtue of the changes they make in their lives, by virtue of the fact they are maturing and growing up...

 

...they have probably grown out of loving you and will never feel that love again.

 

That isn't a plesant thing to contemplate, but the chances are it's true. They were in love with you at the stage before and during when they were still growing as individuals - hence grass is greener. The person they have become through this process is different.

 

I know there's a temptation to believe that after having grown and become emotionally and mentally 'settled' that they'll realise how much they love you and come back for a fresh and new start...

 

...but that's just not that likely, sadly.

 

Far better you accept they moved on from you, and set your sights on living your own life and finding someone who has already been through that process and is a balanced, mature individual with which you can have a truly happy relationship.

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I agree and disagree.

 

I agree that accepting that there is a very real chance your ex will never be in your life romantically is very important. Nobody should wait around for an ex because you could very well be waiting forever. This goes for any breakup. Sometimes they go out and find out the grass is greener and they're happier in different company and with a different significant other. It surely does happen.

 

I disagree with the "maturing and changing part". In my opinion, you would have a case if this sort of syndrome made a slacker suddenly start paying bills on time and landing a steady job. Or started doing their laundry and making sure they had gas in their car before spending their money on beer. These sorts of things are "maturing" and making positive changes in ones life that yield positive results. And when changes yield positive results, they tend to make those changes permanent.

 

With the grass is greener syndrome, it usually seems to do the opposite. It usually tends to make rather well rounded and stable people regress in their maturity. Instead of making sure they get enough sleep for work the next day, they're out partying with friends. Instead of building up a foundation for a long lasting relationship, they jump from person to person for the fun of the honeymoon period. These are also not positive changes and because these changes will ultimately cause more strife in one's life, they're often eventually discarded. It's almost as if they realize that they're fast approaching the point in their lives where they need to grow up, so they decide to have one last 'hurrah' of young debauchery before doing so.

 

Just my thoughts and thanks for your input. I was hoping this thread could be a sort of repository for all people's opinions on this sort of breakup and I'm pleased to see that's what it's become.

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Even tho this tactic may work, i wouldn't advise it nor would i do it because if someone can do it once they can do it twice. To me, stability in a relationship is very important. No one can guarantee anything will last, but we have to go by our partner's actions to determine the likelihood of longevity. For me, the action of leaving me for someone else on a kneejerk reaction because of an attraction would tell me that it could happen again. I wouldn't take that chance, not to mention i don't know if i could ever fully restore the trust in that person and trying again wouldn't be fair to either of us.

 

I would live in some amount of fear everytime he was a bit too 'chatty' with a female friend, or went out alone, etc. I don't know if i could entirely overcome it so i wouldn't take him back.

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Quote:

The reasons they'll often want you to hang around as a friend is because they still love you very much, still care for you and still want you to be a big part of their lives.

 

I disagree. There are some occasions they might still love you very much, but i doubt it. If they did, they wouldn't have left. They want you as a friend because people who do this grass is greener thing tend to be on the selfish side, and they want to retain you for their ego. They obviously liked SOME things about the relationhip, just not enough to stay. It is those few things they did like they hope to keep.

 

The 'want their cake and eat it too' syndrome should be an addendum to the 'grass is greener syndrome'. What better world for the dumper to get new meat and still keep the old b/f or g/f around to meet the needs the new person isnt?

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With the grass is greener syndrome, it usually seems to do the opposite. It usually tends to make rather well rounded and stable people regress in their maturity.

 

I agree with that to the extent that people with G.I.G.S do tend to 'go off the rails' in one way or another. But, I'd argue that this is a vital part of the maturing process.

 

I know for one that I acted like a total idiot when I was in my late teens

 

But there's the point...Surely one of the reoccurring factors in people with G.I.G.S is that in some ways this process has been 'delayed' for whatever reason, that they're lifestyles during their teens did not allow for this freedom to screw up and grow from it. I know this was certainly the case with my ex. She came from a very restrictive, religious background that granted her no freedom of expression.

 

G.I.G.S is the delayed acting out of that freedom of expression in my book.

 

I bet if you took a straw poll of everyone who's fallen prey to it, most would describe their ex's like this:

 

She / he was a great person, but came from a background that didn't give them freedom to live, grow and find themselves (due to influence of parents for most part).

 

She / he suffered from self esteem and confidence issues because of this which caused problems in the relationship...which i tried to help them with.

 

She / he would often express feelings of being trapped and sometimes was jealous of the way my life was when i was younger.

 

...and so on.

 

To return to the first point though...making an idiot of yourself is definitely part of growing up. The G.I.G.S sufferers out there no doubt do this before actually maturing. This can take a long time for some and a short time for others, but it generally always happens.

 

For us, the dumpees, we were unlucky enough to become involved with them before this natural and necessary process was allowed to happen...and we basically got trampled under as soon as it kicked in to action late.

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With the grass is greener syndrome, it usually seems to do the opposite. It usually tends to make rather well rounded and stable people regress in their maturity.

 

Yes, Mayday, I totally agree. It so hard to believe but my ex seems like she going in a backwards direction. ex. partying, living care free lifestyle etc.... when she was actually reaching a stage where i thought she was becoming more mature/responsible prior to the breakup.

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..

So by choosing to NOT be friends, perhaps they are doing the moral thing, not wanting to use you or give you false hope? Yeah, I'll go with that...it makes me feel a little bit better.

 

People with a conscience, yes, would do it for that reason. I did that with my ex. Even tho i initiated the break up, i didn't hate him. We were together a long time i still cared about him. When we were together trying to be friends his pain was so obvious that i told him it was better that we just have no contact for awhile. I wasn't doing it for me, it would have been easier for me to keep in contact. I did that for him because he needed to move on and i know him, he wouldn't have moved on if we stayed as close friends.

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I came up with an allegory for this situation with a mate of mine a while ago, while I was trying to explain how my ex acted. It went something like this:

 

Imagine a 16-year-old girl. She loves music. She loves Take That. Idolises them. Thinks she will never love another band more. Then she gets a bit older. A couple of years go by. Suddenly she doesn't love Take That so much anymore. She listens to them less. One day she listens to a Marylin Manson CD. She falls in love with Marylin Manson. Take That gets forgotten. Then she grows up more. A few more years go by. She now has many music tastes and puts Take That on now and again and smiles...

 

Replace 16-year-old girl with 28-year-old woman. Replace music with love. Replace Take That with me and Marylin Manson with 'next guy'...and there you have it

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Agreed.

 

But what I think Mayday is trying to say is that sometimes after all of this, after the person has settled down a bit, matured a bit, after the G.I.G phase - they may turn around and realize that what they had with the dumpee was great, but they just couldn't see that before all this.

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Well again I have really enjoyed this thread. I guess for me I wish it was the case but sadly I don't think so. Symptoms seem to be correct but I feel my ex had a pretty good idea of what she was looking for prior to being with me. I would say what my ex had was a case of the grass is greener but she has seen other grass and I'm not exactly sure that's it.

 

I think, because this thread does talk about a higher possibility of reconciliation, the thing that makes it hard is the dumpee is usually in a bad place.. focusing a lot of energy on themselves... and not looking for greener grass. I think if the dumper leaves for another relationship and shortly after the dumpee finds a new one themselves both could have an easier time putting the breakup behind them if the opportunity arises. Sadly the if the dumpee is not doing anything they can usually have a bitter view on what happened.

 

I'm sure this isn't the case for everyone... plenty of dumpee's get into rebounds also.

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after the G.I.G phase - they may turn around and realize that what they had with the dumpee was great, but they just couldn't see that before all this.

 

It's a possibility of course. I'm just more prepared to believe that while they do look back with fondness and appreciation of the relationship, they have simply changed too much as an individual as a whole over the full course of the G.I.G process to still have enough feelings to want to reconcile.

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I am no expert by any means, but what if she is feeling and thinking the same thing, waiting for YOU to contact her?

 

I feel the same excat way you do right now, I want to contact her but at the same time want her to contact me.. Round and round we go. I need to figure out WHAT I WANT, and go after it

I gave up on the "what ifs" sometime ago. They didn't help me at all.

 

I'd love to think that you're correct, but I don't. I tried getting her back for a couple weeks after the break up. She didn't want me back. She's with a co-worker now. It's been 3 weeks since I last spoke to her, and now I'm emotionally much better than before. I'd like her to come back, but I'm not acting like she will.

 

Yesterday was her birthday. I didn't even think about calling her. No use.

 

Would calling her make a difference now? Probably not. Until she realises she wants to be with me, I think there's nothing I can do. If she thought just like the way I do, then she shouldn't be hanging around with the new guy. She's a grown-up, she knows what she's doing. Or at least should know.

 

Maybe some months from now I'll give her a call. Or maybe not. She knows how to contact me, if she ever feels like talking to me.

 

And, answering your first question...I don't think she's waiting for me to call. She's got a new guy, and they're together just about everyday - except when she's at the university. So, now that you know all this, do you still think she's waiting for me to call her?

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Fantastic insight, I understand what you're getting at now. That's the wonderful thing about this site, you and I have different experiences with these sorts of breakups, but when we put those experiences together we can really cover all the bases of this type of breakup.

 

I think you've accurately described the reasons behind many people's onset of 'grass is greener syndrome'. It certainly makes sense.

 

As I've said, from my experience with it (having been dumped by it more than once and seeing it happen to others from both sides), what you've mentioned isn't always the case. I've seen it strike people who did have the period of rebellion and partying already and then grow out of that phase and get into a steady, mature relationship. Then, I think they're struck by the syndrome not because they've never had the phase (as in your examples), but because they realize they're getting older and soon enough it will be impossible to have that sort of phase again.

 

As if they're just not ready to fully jump into adulthood, so they live it up and party while they're still at a point in their lives where it's 'acceptable' to behave that way. It's not that they never got this partying and 'dating around' part in their life, it's that they're not completely and 100% ready to let go of it.

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This is a very good thread and it mirrors my situation exactly. My ex left me because she wanted to see if the grass was greener. I begged and did all of the wrong things in the beginning but then I picked myself up and went NC. She would call and email and text but I didn't budge. This lasted two full months. Then she got ahold of me and I told me how the grass really wasn't greener and that she made a big mistake.

We talked about it and she said that she really didn't know why she left me, she said that she went looking for something that just wasn't there... (I really don't understand what all that means but that's what she said). Anyway she said that when she was out with the other guy she felt incomplete and like a part of her was missing. She said that she thought of me everyday. So I guess if the bond is strong, (and the person they leave you for isn't better for them) then they'll be back.

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I think in some ways these people KNOW they have to grow up, but still party and stay up late now. They think adulthood will be really boring, and they may compare their lives to their other family members who may have had it better than they did, and get jealous. Or they may compare things to what happened to their older siblings, and fear that they will make the same mistake (i.e. marrying the wrong guy, being miserable, second guessing their lives, etc.) In a sense, G.I.G.S. is a way of attempting to put up a wall against any of those possibilities.

 

What's a better way to not screw up and get married to someone you may not like in the future than just bailing out on a LTR and dating as many guys as possible? It's kinda like an addiction, I guess.

 

Sadly though, it does bring out a lot of self-esteem issues. I think someone who does have it has a lot of problems accepting who other people are, and tend to assume that they can only make themselves happy by dating others. I'm not said cuz my ex left me so much as I am because I don't want to be alone the rest of my life. But at the same time, I know that I won't be. Patience and confidence are key in bettering ones self.

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Sounds like my gig ... My wife (12 Years) Dated for 8 before that has recently got in touch via email with her high school sweetheart who's a single father (never married) in NC... I've been working out of state M thru TH to support us... Suddenly she's confused and needs her space (What the he!! does she have during the week) and says she doesn't want to be with me any more... (we also have 6 & 8 yr old boys) She wont talk to me, she wont open up.... She's spoken with him on the phone for hour at a time when I'm not around, and I have no idea what they share online... I've known since the beginning of August, It's been going on since mid to late July. I am getting fed up with waiting here on the sidelines to see if I'll be "picked for her team" IT SUCK'S and I'm getting angry. I've been nice as pie for the last month and Now I've had enough.... I've lost almost 35#'s since august and cannot sleep... I kinda hope she gets her sh!t together soon as I'm ready to tell her to go....

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