Do You Envy People with Perfect Love Lives? You’re Not Alone

macho cheating on his girlfriend with other woman

Envy. It’s one of the 7 deadly sins, but I think it’s both the most pervasive and the one we’re the least in touch with. After all,  Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are all massive platforms  dedicated to envy. In fact, most of us make no bones about openly coveting what other people have. The internet is basically just a huge vision board.

I’ve talked about the cost of comparing yourself to others – especially when it comes to love – but, according to this New York Times article by Gordon Marino, there is an upside to envy.  

That doesn’t mean that envy is good. It can be utterly corrosive to your soul, especially in large doses.

That doesn’t mean that envy is good. It can be utterly corrosive to your soul, especially in large doses.

Says Marino, “Aristotle described envy, not as benign desire for what someone else possesses but “as the pain caused by the good fortune of others.” Not surprisingly these pangs often give way to a feeling of malice.”

I’m pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished over here, but I will absolutely admit to my own schadenfreude – especially with people I’ve known personally who have surpassed me professionally. I’m looking at you, Matthew Hussey. Same with you, Tai Lopez.

But as Marino points out, weak moments like this are opportunities for learning.

“If Socrates was right and the unexamined life is not worth living, then surely we should examine our feelings to find what we  really  care about as opposed to what we would like to think we care about. And what better instrument for this kind of self-examination than envy, a feeling as honest as a punch.
For instance, I often find a reason to become angry with people I am envious of. But if I can identify the lizard of envy crawling around in my psyche, I can usually tamp down the ire…“Envy is secret admiration,” Kierkegaard said. As such, if we are honest with ourselves, envy can help us identify our vision of excellence and where need be, perhaps reshape it.”  

I agree. Envy is a really bad look. I’m always amused when others tell me they “hate” someone who is more successful – especially someone that has never done anything harmful to them. That’s when we have to look inward and give credit where credit’s due – it’s not that there’s anything wrong with the person you envy, it’s that you’re beating yourself up for not being more like them.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated. Extra points for sharing someone that you hate irrationally, when, in fact, it’s mostly envy doing the talking.

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  1. 1

    I’m sorry, I don’t know anyone with a “perfect love life”. I work with mostly married people 35-65 and not once has any of them said anything about it let alone it was “perfect”. The younger unmarried ones never mention anything either ironically enough. Maybe I know all the wrong people…lol I do envy one person. My co- worker/friend (now retired) who’s son I watched go from college to a starting quarterback in the NFL. He’s happily married 30 yrs but even HE has never said anything about it being “perfect” whatever that means. He did say once after going to a concert with people in the same age group “thank god I’m married because the grass isn’t greener”. Believe me, he’s living the dream.

  2. 2

    It’s difficult to say what is a “perfect love life”,   because different people define it differently.

    Who has a perfect love life?

    Leonardo Dicaprio or Mark Ruffalo?

    Rihanna or Michelle Obama?


  3. 3
    Marcus Neo

    Hi Evan!

    Definitely agree with you what you said on envy. This can not only be seen in relationships with careers and ‘success’.

  4. 4
    Elly Klein

    Two things:

    1. You’re way better than Matthew Hussey.

    2. I don’t struggle with envy. I can’t be someone else. I can only be the best version of myself. And I’m thankful others have different gifts to bring to the table.

  5. 5

    Matthew Hussey Is cute but feels more like a sales pitch whereas you’re more sincere and genuine. And your accent is much more pleasant. I do kinda gag when a person or couple ONLY shares curated info about themselves seeking adulation or validation. That being said, seeing happy balanced couples always gave me hope and encouragement that I could too or at least have a vision of how it should look.  

  6. 6

    I very rarely, if ever, experience feelings of envy these days. I certainly never feel any feelings of bitterness towards a person because of it. This is because of two things:

    1) A massive increase in self-love over the years. The more you love yourself, the more you don’t want to be anyone else. The more you appreciate your own qualities and what you bring to the table of life, the less negativity you have towards those who are different from you. Coupled with this is the realisation that some others might be further along in the fulfillment of dreams that I have – for instance, I want to start my own business, and I want to be settled in a permanent relationship with a family. However, inevitably, my life has taken detours that theirs have not, and these detours have been valuable in their own way. They’ve enriched my life with people, lessons and experiences which I would not have had if I had taken a straighter route to achieving my goals.

    People who have got to where I want to be faster also invariably have qualities that are a bit different from mine, and again, if I love myself as I am, I don’t want to be anyone different. For example, I’m not ambitious or single-minded. I’m willing to get to where I want to go more slowly if it means I’ll have a more comfortable and less stressful ride.

    2) A few years ago, I recognised what Evan has pointed out in this post. When we envy someone, it is because we want something that they have. This is a huge clue to where we need to direct our efforts. To take an example from my own life, I envy women who are able to be simultaneously very strong (have very strong boundaries) and yet also extremely calm. Some women are able to always say what they think and never be trampled on and yet never let their emotions get out of control or blast anyone. So I have put a lot of effort into developing these qualities in myself.

    This can even apply to physical qualities – if I envy someone with beautiful long hair, or toned legs, these might be telling me that I need to grow and take better care of my hair or exercise more.

  7. 7

    I seem to be the only one who feels pangs of envy on a near-daily basis! Having spent too many years as a people-pleaser, I’d grown out of touch with my true self. Several years ago, I embraced the feeling of envy as an indicator of what I truly wanted.  Most frequently, I feel an envious jolt toward a person who has launched their own business. It’s something I want to do but have lacked the chutzpah to act on.  

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