Growing up, who doesn’t wish to have the dream relationship? Everyone wants it! You see it in the media, may be you had a role-model couple to look up to as a child, or you simply let your imagination run wild. But, sometimes our ideas about what creates happiness in a relationship is inaccurate and simply unrealistic. You may be wondering at this point, well what is happiness in a relationship? As a therapist, I am here to tell you just that! Read below to learn the truths about happiness in relationships.
Happiness Cannot Be Dependent On Someone Else
If you depend on someone to fill your bucket of happiness, you are going to be disappointed time and time again. Why? Because there is not enough actions, praise, love, or care that another one person can give you that will fill your happiness. Of course other people can influence how we feel and can add to our levels of happiness or other emotions. But, happiness comes from within and starts with YOU.
So, what do you do to try and fill your happiness? Are you engaging in self-care? Do you have some hobby that is fulfilling for you? Do you prioritize yourself? Do you provide yourself with affirmations (i.e. I am good enough, I have [these] strengths)? In order to avoid depending your happiness on someone else (i.e. your partner), you have to start finding avenues for you to fulfill your happiness yourself. At the end of the day, you want to know that you can fulfill your own needs. That in itself is truly fulfilling.
There’s a difference between wanting to show love or care to someone and feeling that you are actually responsible for doing this on your own. Showing love and care should not be a responsibility, but a want. Otherwise, couples get into a habit of starting to tally what they do for their partner and vice versa. This is not happiness! Happiness is genuinely wanting to show love, not feeling forced. So, instead of thinking that you are responsible for this, remind yourself that this is to show you care. In the moments that you want to show your love, appreciation, and/or care, do so with this genuine love, not because you feel it is a responsibility.
Happiness Is A Choice
Are you choosing to be happy? Or, do you choose to hold onto resentment, bitterness, or anger? As previously alluded to above, only you can fulfill your happiness. So, you also have a choice to fill yourself with positive emotions and let go of negative emotions. If you are in the place of experiencing resentment, bitterness, and anger, ask yourself why? What is this emotion trying to tell you? What is this emotion telling you that you need? Remember, that when you ask yourself these questions, you’re basing your answers off of what you can control. Not what someone else could do that would somehow solve these problems.
Choose happiness. When negative emotions arise, get into them, don’t avoid them, but deal with them. Additionally, choose happiness by creating moments of happiness. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, a positive outlook leads to positive outcomes. Moreover, what we choose to put into something is what we get out of that thing.
Unfortunately, many of us have skewed perceptions around what creates happiness in a relationship. But, don’t let yourself go on with these thoughts. Start changing the way you view happiness in a relationship by starting to depend on yourself to be happy, don’t let yourself be responsible for someone else’s happiness, and choose happiness.
About the Author
Amanda Cummins is a marriage counselor with The Marriage and Family Clinic. She focuses on working with couples in distress as well as families and children in transitions. As a Denver Native, Amanda enjoys hiking, yoga, and spending time with her family