We all have times in our lives when we feel like our lives aren’t moving forward.
We feel like our lives are standing still or worse going backwards. This feeling can make us think other people’s lives are somehow better than ours. It can make us feel like everyone is moving forward except us.
I wrote about this feeling in two earlier posts – Does it Feel Like Everyone is Moving Forward – Except You? and Is Everyone Moving Forward Except You?
Since this feeling has resonated with a lot of people though the earlier posts, I thought it would be worth drilling down into specific topics.
We’ve already talked about everyone moving forward in their careers so now it’s time to tackle the tricky, not to mention often sensitive subject, of our love lives and our relationships.
For this specific post, I’ll be looking at our romantic/intimate relationships.
Let’s look at some of the scenarios where we feel everyone is moving forward in their relationships except us and most importantly why we should stop feeling this way and how to do just that.
You’re not in a relationship
If you are single and you don’t want to be, you might automatically feel that people in relationships are better off than you.
I’m here to tell you that is not the case. (By the way, total transparency here – I am currently single, just so you are aware.)
Despite portrayals of being single in the media which are mostly negative, most of us are not sitting at home crying to sad music. A lot of single people (including me) are pretty damn happy about it!
There are single people who would like to find someone and get married. There are also a lot of single people who have no desire to ever get married and just to cover this off – it’s not because they are broken or bitter and twisted or anything like the movies like to portray – it’s because marriage isn’t for everyone.
Of course, while we are being truthful there are also a lot of single people who just want to have lots of sex. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, if you are a person who is wanting a solid relationship with a future and you are dating someone who’s just in it for the sex, run don’t walk to the nearest exit.
We need to let go of the lonely single stereotyping and understand that being single means different things to different people.
Related post – The Joys of Being Single
You are single and all of your friends have partners
I know from experience this one can be difficult.
I have been to a lot of dinners, lunches and barbecues where I have been the only single person.
There is one thing I have learned from these situations. This is where the single person needs to take the emphasis off themselves and take a look at the people around them.
By this I mean, how do the people you are with make you feel?
I know from experience and from watching it happen to my friends that some people will make you feel bad about being the only person not part of a couple. They might make jokes, exclude you from conversations, constantly point out you haven’t met anyone yet or constantly be trying to set you up with any-old body just so you won’t be single because in their minds there is nothing worse than that. Truth be told in your mind, you might be silently thinking there is nothing worse than their relationship! But I digress.
Other friends are great to be around. You are included in conversations and made to feel welcome. You never feel by yourself because people don’t treat you that way. These are the people you want to spend more time with.
If you are sick of being excluded from conversations and couples talking between themselves like you are not even there, it’s time to start hanging out with people who respect you.
You feel like you are never going to meet anyone
So you are single and don’t want to be. You see your single friends meeting people and starting relationships but you aren’t meeting anyone.
There can be a lot of different reasons for this. One important factor is the way you view yourself.
If you are walking around asking yourself – What’s wrong with me? – there’s your problem right there!
While I am all about personal growth and working on improving yourself, I am about doing that from a place of self-respect and wholeness. Stop thinking of yourself as broken and other people will start to do the same. You don’t need someone to complete you (I can’t tell you how much I despise that expression).
You want someone (note I said want not need) to enhance and enrich your life, not save you from it.
Once you start getting into the right head space and start loving and accepting yourself, you are much more likely to be in a position to meet someone right for you.
If you are obsessed with finding someone to have your dream wedding or obsessed with weddings in general, it’s time to ditch the dreaming and focus back on living in the moment and being the best version of yourself.
Related post – Texting is Not a Relationship
You are in a relationship but your partner won’t commit
You might be in a relationship and your partner is not willing to commit which in turn might make you feel like everyone is moving forward in their relationship except you especially if all of your friends are getting married.
For this one we have to look at the word commitment and what that means.
Let’s face it, I’m sure we’ve all met men and women who are legally committed by marriage, yet are not truly committed to their partner. Either they are having affairs or not supporting their partner the way they should be, which all screams a lack of true commitment.
Sure they put a ring on it but so what?
If really does matter what your version of won’t commit actually means. If your partner is seeing more people than just you, then fair enough it’s time to walk away and find something that is going to truly appreciate, deserve and respect you.
Then again if you are obsessed with getting married, it might be time to cool your jets and focus back on the relationship itself and on being happy together.
Before you go pressing a commitment for commitment sake, make sure you are truly compatible.
Getting married doesn’t mean you are moving forward if you marry the wrong person.
I remember many years ago I went to a conference to see a relationship author speak. At one point, she asked all the married people in the conference center to put up their hand if they were married or had been married. Lots of hands went up in the air. Then she asked those same people, to keep their hand up if they knew when they got married that they shouldn’t be marrying that person.
While I was expecting most of the hands to go down, a large percentage of them stayed up. These people knew when they were walking down the aisle that is was the wrong thing to do. It was staggering. I know hindsight is a wonderful thing and it’s much easier to see our mistakes after the fact but it appeared to me that a large chunk of these people got married because of social or family pressures.
It was expected of them so they went along with it, despite their desire to back out. They committed for all of the wrong reasons.
You are in a bad relationship
If you are in a bad relationship and you know it, there is a good chance that other relationships will look better than yours.
Truth is, in this case, some of them will be.
I probably should have tried to sugar-coat that one a little bit more, but we all know there are some very bad, toxic relationships out there. You might even be in one yourself. You might be in denial but I suspect deep down you know.
You are a single parent
If you are a single parent, you might think that married people have it easier or are doing better.
As a single parent you might worry about not being able to meet anyone.
Let’s look at those individually. Yes married people have an extra set of hands to help out with the kids. Unfortunately just because there are two people, doesn’t mean two people are helping raise a child. Let’s face it, a lot of parents are just absent (through lots of different reasons, some under their control and some not).
While it might be harder to find time to get out there and go on dates (or whatever they hell they call them nowadays), once you get out there you will find other people in the same boat.
I know quite a lot of single mothers who have met wonderful men who became an amazing part of their lives and family.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying being a single parent isn’t hard! I am sure it can be very difficult. All I am saying is that it doesn’t mean you won’t meet anyone or that someone else’s life is better than yours.
You’re married but your married friends seem happier than you
You might be married but thinking that your married friends are better off than you.
You might think they are happier, richer, luckier, better looking, have better careers – you name it.
Truth be told ‘happily married’ (for want of a better expression) means different things to different people. What works for one couple could be complete misery for another one. Each couple have their own way of interacting with each other.
This is all about comparing. It also involves a lot of assuming. Fancy cars and houses don’t naturally equate to happiness and contentment.
No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Every couple has their issues. Every couple has their joys.
You are getting a divorce
While I have never been divorced, I did watch my parents going through an incredibly messy divorce that splintered our family for a very long time.
Divorces are heartbreaking, particularly when children are involved. I can only imagine that divorce makes people feel sad, lonely, angry and leaves them with feelings of disappointment, guilt and a profound sense of loss or failure. Divorce can also be expensive and financial devastating.
If you are going through a divorce, I’m sure it could be easy to think your life is going backwards. It would be easy to think that people still married are moving forward and you are not.
This can be one of the tough parts of life to wrap our heads around – sometimes to move forward, you have to go backwards first.
You want a baby
This may be one of the key reasons you feel like everyone’s life is moving and yours is standing still.
Other people are having babies and you want one but for whatever reason it’s not happening.
I will be completely upfront with this one and say I don’t know what this feels like. I know this is extremely hard for people.
It’s important to point out that this isn’t always about a woman wanting a baby. Men feel this maternal urge as well. I have had male friends in this exact position.
While I personally don’t feel qualified to add much on this particular topic, I know that acknowledging our feelings is better than keeping them bottled inside.
Let’s look at some of the ways we can work through our feelings of everyone moving forward in their relationships except us.
Feelings vs truth
The heading of this post is does it feel like everyone is moving forward except you.
The key word here is feel.
It’s important to remember that just because we feel a certain way – doesn’t mean its true.
I’m not in any way suggesting that we try to deny our feelings or ignore them, just that we shouldn’t believe all of our feelings. We need to acknowledge feelings, process them and move through them.
And yes, we have to do this repeatedly.
While the thought of doing it repeatedly might seem tedious and annoying (and something you think you don’t have the time or energy for) it does get easier over time. The more you get in tune with yourself and with how your mind works, the quicker and easier this process gets.
Stop comparing yourself
When it all comes down to it, a lot of the above scenarios all come down to comparing yourself to other people and the assumption that a different situation would be better than the one you are in now.
It’s about where you are directing your focus and your gratitude.
When you don’t appreciate or even realize just what you’ve got, you may start to covet what other people have.
Certain events and times in our lives (think big birthdays for instance) can have us comparing ourselves and focusing on what we think we should have instead of what we do have.
Living in the moment and being grateful are two powerful ways to fight comparison.
Comparing yourself to people on Facebook and Instagram, then read my earlier post – Don’t Compare Yourself to People on Social Media. Also take a look at Why You Should Never Compare Yourself to Touched Up Images
Stop assuming one lifestyle is better than another
When it comes to our relationships, we need to stop thinking one way of life is better than another.
What works for one person or one couple might not work for another one.
Take one of my friends for example. She lives overseas and her partner travels the world for his work. He’s probably away 6-7 months of the year but it works for them. As a matter of fact they make it work incredibly well. Another couple would crack under the pressure of a fly in fly out arrangement.
We need to start embracing different and drop the idea of better.
Know Your Own Worth
Often our feelings aren’t about anyone else or anyone else’s relationship.
They are about our relationship with ourselves.
When you struggle with self-doubt and don’t know your own worth, it’s much easier for relationships (and pretty much everything else) to look better than what you have going on.
Truly knowing your own worth changes everything.
When you know your own worth you don’t let people walk all over you (ie you don’t stay in bad relationships or go looking for love in all the wrong places). You don’t accept scraps of love or seek outside validation and acceptance from other people – you seek and find validation within yourself.
Once you know your own worth, you won’t compare yourself as much. Sure you might have the odd bout now and then, but it’s quick and fleeting.
There’s also a related post you can read – Know Your Own Worth
Focus on what you have and what you want
If you want to stop feeling like everyone else is moving forward in their relationship except you – you need to stop focusing on everyone else and put the focus back where it needs to be.
Back on you.
When I say this it’s important to point out that this has nothing to do with selfishness, ego or vanity.
This is about appreciating what you already have. It’s about gratitude and being proud of yourself.
It’s also about personal growth and achieving your goals and dreams. It’s about knowing what you want and focusing your efforts on making it happen.
You won’t get the things you want by looking at the person next to you and wishing you were more like them.
You will get them through being yourself, self-discipline and perseverance.
Let me finish by saying that there is nothing wrong with having the odd bout of I want what she’s having. It’s human nature and nothing to be ashamed of.
In fact, realizing we want something in our lives can be a motivating factor in getting us moving towards it.
It’s when feeling like everyone is moving forward except us becomes a negative or toxic part in our lives that it becomes a problem. When this feeling stops us from moving forward it needs to be addressed.
Regardless of whether you are single, looking for a relationship, going into one or getting out of one, focus on all the wonderful things you already have in your life and the goals you want to accomplish.
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends via social media, one of them might read something they need to hear today!
PS Obviously this is a BIG topic, so I hope I have covered off on some of the basics. This one may end having a part two, we’ll just wait and see.