Most people strive for both love and happiness, and it is often assumed that the two go hand in hand. But the presence of love doesn't necessarily mean happiness, just as being happy in a relationship doesn't mean he is your soul mate. Some couples may wish to work through unhappiness, while others part ways amicably. It is a personal decision based on the wants, needs and desires of the partners.
Evaluate the Relationship
It is a myth that being in a loving, long-term relationship is easy. It requires dedication and hard work, according to Lisa Blum, a clinical psychologist who works with couples. Couples go through hard times when they feel unhappy. Being in love helps you work through it and return your relationship to its normal state. If you are working hard at your relationship yet unhappiness continues to outweigh happiness, you may be putting in too much effort to keep it afloat, Blum says. But if you work together to make positive changes and see even a small difference in your relationship, you are moving in the right direction.
Change yourself rather than pointing the finger at your partner, Blum says. Ask yourself if you are unhappy with your partner or with life in general. Question whether you would be happy in any relationship. Analyze your happiness levels with coworkers, parents, siblings and friends.What is it about others that draws you to them? Take stock of what may be missing in your current relationship. Make a plan to change the way you react to your partner. When one partner changes, the other often does as well.
Develop Psychological Autonomy
People who are psychologically autonomous possess a solid sense of independence and emotional security. When you lack the appropriate autonomy in relationships, you struggle between wanting to be free and the security of a relationship, even if that means being unhappy, according to Darlene Lancer, a marriage and family therapist, in her article, "Are You Trapped & Unhappy in Your Relationship?" published on the Psych Central website. If you have yet to achieve psychological autonomy, you may fear commitment. This can cause you to pull away, Lancer says. To become more independent, develop a support system and indulge in activities and interests outside of the relationship.
Couples often wait until their relationship is in trouble to enter therapy. That doesn't necessarily mean it is too late. Therapy or counseling can teach the two of you to communicate appropriately. It may help you become aware of habits that get in the way of relating to others. You can work toward finding your happiness through active listening and small changes.
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Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.
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