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Love, Hate, War & Peace: Is The Grass Ever Really Greener On The Other Side?

by Ilana Angel

April 22, 2010 | 2:05 am

When I got married, I loved my husband.  I believed we would be together forever, raise a family, and grow old, side by side.  That was 18 years ago, and my memories have faded with each year and each argument. I cannot remember when I loved him, but remember the last time I hated him.

If given the opportunity to have peace with an ex, would you take it? When someone breaks your heart, even after it’s healed, does war feel better than peace?  Is it easier to deal with hurt, if you paint yourself into a corner, where there’s nothing to do but hate?

When in a relationship, can we relax enough to enjoy it for what it is, and be satisfied?  Is there always going to be the lingering question:  Is the grass greener on the other side?  Is anyone ever completely satisfied with their partner?  Is really liking someone, a good substitution for love?

I have a friend, who we’ll call “Jimmy”.  He dated a girl, we’ll call ”Faith”, for a while, and he said loved her.  All of us friends loved them together, and thought he had met his Beshert.  They had a great love, but in his mind, he thought he could do better, and so they broke up.

It was shocking because we could not figure out who could be better than Faith.  Maybe he wanted someone younger, thinner, smarter, or dumber?  We didn’t know, and to be fair, neither did he.  Jimmy was just certain that he needed something else, and he would know it, when he found it.

So now he is with a new girl and he really likes her.  He says she is everything he wants, in some ways, but not in others.  The pieces that were missing in his relationship with Faith, he has with her.  The problem is, it turns out that the stuff he had with Faith, was the more important stuff.

According to Jimmy, his new girl is not the same religion, is not an intellectual, does not share his passions, cannot support herself financially, is not a good conversationalist, and while he is insanely attracted to her, he worries that in trying to not settle for Faith, he ended up settling.

If the grass you see everyday, is green enough, is it better to just lay down and enjoy your nice grass, or do you risk losing your perfectly fine grass, to see what is on the other side?  As humans, when we become complacent, do we settle, or can we find the energy to strive for something better?

If you give up everything, for the idea of something better, and then you find something that is not better, just different, can you accept it?  If you know you can’t go back to what you had, do you just suck it up and settle?  Jimmy clearly was asking for some kind of advice, but I could not give him any.

There are many choices in life where you cannot listen to anyone, but yourself.  I am not in his relationship, so I do not know what happens everyday, when it’s just them.  If I go by the things he tells me, which he undoubtedly does not mention to his girlfriend, I would advise him to go.

We all stayed in touch with Faith, and she has moved on.  It took her a long time, but she did it, and she is in a relationship now, with a man who offers her things Jimmy could not.  She didn’t settle, but rather found greener grass, which must annoy Jimmy.  Faith was happy with Jimmy, yet his leaving, led her to someone better.

Relationships are tough.  They are hard to find, and harder to keep.  Does the loss of love, gives us a pass to hate?  Does the lack of peace, invite us to engage in war? I wish I lived in NYC so I could enjoy urban concrete, and not worry about the grass on the other side of the sunny California fence. Is it harder in Los Angeles, where the weather is good, and you can literally see the grass next door?

With risk can come great reward.  That said, you can put everything on the line to see if the grass is greener on the other side, and 99% of the time, the other side will have luxurious, and much greener grass.  The problem, is that it also has 20 dogs, who are peeing and pooping all over it.

i am going to make a list of the top ten things I am looking for in a partner.  Once I pick my top three, I will not compromise on them.  I am open to negotiating the other seven, but I’m sticking firm to my top three.  Love is a many splendid thing. The decisions we make, when looking for love, can be made easier if we simply remember to keep the faith.
                                                 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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