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What to do about “grass is always greener” (GAG) syndrome

Happiness & Fulfilment, Making Decisions & Finding Passion

I have a friend who gets bored easily in relationships. His longest relationship is less than a year. He seems to be perpetually seeking new – new sex, new love, the classic grass is greener scenario.

He’s not sure he can handle being in another monogamous relationship, he gets bored too easily.

I thought about this a lot after I learnt this about him, because I know that boredom affects all of us – it damages relationships, friendships and jobs, and it drains our energy.

I pondered how anyone could ever get bored with another human if they were really truly connected.

But then I remembered how unbearably boring I used to find many, many people before I learnt to tame my mind! Especially the blokes I was dating on Tinder.

I was hiding myself, so of course there was a big boring wall of disconnection between us.

Humans are the most dynamic, ever changing creatures on the planet, every second of every day they are changing, mentally, physically, emotionally.

Especially when you’re in a relationship and having sex with them.

In my worldview, if you get bored of someone (or the sex), it’s actually YOU that’s boring, not them.

You’re hiding something.

I certainly was back then.

When you’re fully alive and curious about life, it’s much easier to fully connect with others and bring that aliveness out in them too.

When you’ve known someone for a while, it doesn’t take long for your brain to form a mental image of “this person”. Now you think you “know” them, and your mind tells you that there’s no need to look (or listen) too closely anymore.

It can also do the same with your sex life – “Oh we’ve done it this way loadsss of times” your mind tells you – which means you’re no longer present for every little sensation and every little glance in every little second, which is where the magic lies. You partially check out and disconnect.

This “checking out” is handy for the brain, because it can conserve energy by putting the person in front of you into a conceptual box, thus allowing your mind to wander off to think about “more exciting” things. Like the exceptionally green grass of your future lovers.

The brain does the same with objects – think about the last time you truly LOOKED at a glass of water with intense curiosity. Give it a shot.

If you get bored, I promise, you’re just not paying attention.

Or next time you see one of the people who you know really well – your parents, your partner, your kids – notice – are you REALLY looking and listening to them? Are you noticing all the ways they are being in this exact second? Their looks, their tone of voice, their facial expressions, their mood, their ideas?

If they seem exactly the same as always, look harder. Ask more questions.

If you find yourself bored or stuck in a relationship or at work, you might also want to ask yourself – are YOU being boring? Have you lost your excitement and curiosity for life?

Just like real love (not the bullshit conditional, attachy kind), boredom is a state of being which you then project onto people around you. It comes from within.

When I’m on fire and loving life, my curiosity has no bounds, and I find everyone interesting.

When I’m feeling dull and faded, everyone else seems boring. And bloody annoying.

Nothing in itself is inherently boring.

Boredom is literally just the mind running off into the future and saying “Hey look over here!! If we were over HERE, in this future situation, we would be happier.” Which of course makes your present experience feel dull, because you’re not really there to experience it.

Then eventually you get to that future grass-is-greener scenario (say, you finally get to leave work for your holiday…)

Then no sooner than you’ve had your first cocktail does your mind canter off into the future:

“Hey, look at this future thing over here! We’re gonna have a great time TOMORROW when we get to go to the beach!” shouts your mind, all crazed-eyes and mad hair.

“Now? Now is just in the way of TOMORROWWWW!!!”

Now there’s a mind that’s in need of taming.

If you’re willing to work for it, you can choose to never be bored again.

Next time you’re bored – in a relationship, in sex, at work, in traffic, waiting for someone, listening to someone “dull” – ask yourself – where is your attention?

Could you tell your mind to zip it and bring your attention more fully into the present moment with you?

Could you be a bit more curious about this very split second?

As Dorothy Parker said, “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”

And like some other wise guy called Neil said, “The grass is greener where you water it” **

** With your attention.

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I have an online workshop coming up (details TBC) called How to be Less of a Dick to Yourself (AKA Self Compassion for Sceptics)! I would love you to join us — It’s going to be bloody splendid! Click here to register your interest.

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