What if the grass really is greener?



On the occasion, I have had Disloyal Spouses ask me, “What if the grass really is greener on the other side?” when speaking of their affair.  I think the answer may surprise you.

I assume that what a Disloyal Spouse is really asking is this: “What if the Affair Partner is a better match?” or “What if they are younger, make more money, or make me happier?”  Something like that–wouldn’t you think?  “What if I’m ‘affairing up’?  Does that make any difference?”

First, there is no one perfect match for you or for anyone.  You can choose someone who is exactly like you in every way and they may understand you easier and speak your Love Language, but in no way will you learn or grow or appreciate other personality types or qualities if they are exactly like you.  You can choose someone who is your exact opposite in every way and they may be very hard to understand and not “get” your Love Language at all, but in every way you will learn and grow and learn to appreciate the other personality types and qualities.  One way is “easier”–one is “harder” but which leads to a better person?  Which is a “better match”?  The best match for you may not be someone who is easy, but someone who challenges you!

Second, the vow you made was that YOU promised to spend your life learning how to love one and only one person: your spouse.  Your marriage vows did not say that now this other person would love you “exactly the way you like” or “meet all your needs the rest of your life”–your vows were YOU promising to love THEM.  YOU promised to investigate them the rest of your whole life…to learn to understand them…to learn what they find loving and do that…to learn what pleases them and do that…and to treat them in a loving way as long as you still draw breath.  People often confuse marriage with “YAY, now I have someone to love me and meet all my needs instinctively forever,” and what it really means is that you will love someone and meet ALL THEIR NEEDS and get to know them so well that you know just what to do to love them!  So if you are looking to someone else to “love you” and “make you happy” then no matter who you choose, you are going to be disappointed and break your promises to them.

Third, it’s impossible to ‘affair up’ because that is someone who has the personal values and morals that it’s okay to commit adultery.  If someone is actually an honest, moral, loving, upright person, the moment they found out you were married, they would say “You have an obligation to another person, and no matter what I may think or feel, I will not be involved in that kind of dishonest behavior.”  Instead, they found out you had a commitment to another and communicated to you through their actions that in their value system, it is okay to be dishonest, to betray trust, to put selfish personal needs ahead of the needs of those you love.  If that is their value system, how could you possibly ‘affair up’?  They may indeed be younger or have more money, but those things do not make them a better person.

Finally, let me just remind you of this: from your side of the fence it may appear as if the grass on the other side is very green and lush, but that’s because you’re thinking that you would get to take  everything on your side with you to that side.  In real life, that grass may look green because it’s painted (fake), because it’s astroturf (deception) or because there is a LOT of “fertilizer” over there…but there is no depth to the roots.  Once you move to that side of the fence, you LOSE what you have on this side of the fence (your home, half your time with your children, any needs your spouse met, any of your spouse’s finances, your dreams of retirement or vacations, even personal items!).  Then you get to the supposedly greener grass, find out it has no root, and since you now no longer have the home and the free time and the funds, the greener grass no longer wants YOU.   No matter how alluring the green grass may look, there is always a cost, and the cost is EXTREMELY HIGH.


So rather than looking longingly at the grass across the fence, I have a challenge for you.  Water your own lawn.  Weed it.  Feed it.  Cultivate the grass where you are and make YOUR LAWN to lawn everyone looks at with envy.  Make your own grass greener–do not go to other grass.


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7 thoughts on “What if the grass really is greener?

  1. I think this — the grass is always greener….on the side that’s watered and fertilized. Affair or not. Marriage or not. Although I agree that affairs are more prone to inaccurate, romantic illusions. It’s part of their nature. But the best way to affair-proof any relationship is to keep your grass watered and fertilized.

    1. I’m afraid you are right, Recovering WS. My wife is watering the grass of her affair and even though she is paying a terrible cost over here, she still has her eyes on that green grass. She’s hopped the fence, the grass is still greener for her over there, and she says she’s never coming back to our yard. She won’t do it even for our kids.

      1. Hmm.. maybe she knows my fence hopping husband. He’s not coming back either. After a year and a half it gets easier. I share your pain. I recently started to do what friends and my therapist suggested…focus on moving forward with my life and my life with my kids, relatives, friends and others who can use a hand with time, services or some financial assistance. Cheating spouses may think the grass is greener but in following with the analogy here, while our spouses look for their greener grass, we need to water and tend the grass on our side to make the lives of ourselves and children and those who love us and care about us better. Otherwise we will all suffer. We need to teach our children resilience in continuing to grow and thrive even during times of adversity. This is a tough time for our kids as well as for us, the betrayed spouses, and it will help them if we can model the behavior we want them to have in the future when they need to be strong. We need to model resilience, the ability to maintain our mental and physical well-being, and that we know how to find happiness in life and them again. I hope everything gets better and easier for you and your children.

  2. My husband sexts. I find out through our cell bill. I confront him and he says he is sorry. He is “just texting.” I have text these people and they say more than texting was done. Looking up phone numbers and these people are on escort pages. Guess what I trying to say, he thinks the grass is greener being with prostitutes/escorts on backpages. I live by my vows. I promised to be faithful. He forgot his vows. I’m sad and hurt by his actions. I ask him how am I not good enough? I know its on him, but he succeeded in making me feel worthless.

    1. What a selfish prick. The most popular excuse is, “promiscuity is in our genes”. No Guy it’s in your jeans, and you made the selfish decision with your free will (and some weak willpower that is). The truth is Lady most people are s***, men and women alike. Our value and self worth isn’t given to us by others, it’s ours. We’re responsible for our own worth. He’s chosen a worthless path for himself and that has obviously hurt you, but don’t let it make you feel worthless.

  3. Coming from a broken home this article spoke to me. I mentioned in my own article, which is in the related links above, that sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. However when it comes to the pain of infidelity you have to know when enough if enough. It is one thing to forgive and move forward to try and repair your relationship, it is another to be hurt again and again and again. When the cycle is repeated, that is the time to step over the fence and begin your own healing process. There can be a fine line between staying and going. Know your motivation and know your own emotional limits. Namasté Matthew

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