Mormon Channel Blog

    Dating: How to Fight the Comparison Trap

    October 8, 2016

    Alisa Goodwin Snell spent 17 years as a marriage and family therapist before becoming a dating and relationship coach. She’s written several books for singles, been on over 100 TV and radio programs nationwide, and is a sought out public speaker.

    As a dating and relationship coach, I work with singles who are driven, smart, attractive, and capable yet they struggle to commit, even when they are dating equally amazing people.

    There are several thinking errors that drive their doubts and prevent their progress.

    • Perfectionism (Believing that the secret to success and marital happiness is through being smart, attractive, socially skilled, funny, educated, successful, positive, and spiritual.)
    • Personalization (Believing that the strengths or weakness of one’s partner are a reflection on him or her. For instance, a partner’s past pornography addiction, current depression, family dysfunctions, or weight is a negative reflection on oneself.)
    • What if? (Being consumed with regrets about the past or fear of problems in the future.)
    • Comparison Trap (Measuring oneself or one’s relationships to  others in a way that makes him or her feel either better or worse about their situation.)

    To help singles battle these thinking errors, I often use the example of Peter (in Matthew 14:24-31) who was able to walk on the water when his eyes were on the Savior. When his gaze turned from the Savior to the wind, the waves, the sea, and the storm, he fell.

    Likewise, perfectionism, personalization, what if thinking, and the comparison trap create storms within the minds of singles. When they learn to redirect their attention from these thinking errors and turn their focus to the Savior, they begin to move forward with confidence.

    Christ’s gospel is often referred to as The Plan of Eternal Progression or The Great Plan of Happiness. If we choose to shift our focus from perfection to progression, it will become easier for us to let go of the illusion of a best partner. Instead, we can embrace a good partner with whom we can become the best together.

    Moving forward with faith, doing our part, and then trusting in the grace of God is the best way to face the challenges of life with confidence, come what may. Additionally, when our eyes are on the Savior we begin to see ourselves and our partners more clearly. Whereas, when our eyes are on others, the past, or our fears of the future, we often feel only inadequacy and fear.

    The skills singles and couples need to succeed don’t always come naturally. We must seek the knowledge and skills, then learn to apply them. God intends for us to succeed and will give us the means by which we can progress, grow, and love each other deeply.