Your Partner’s Not Making You Unhappy, You Are

unhappy spouse and coupleSo there you are wondering why you even put up with your partner’s crap anyway. They’re always saying stuff that makes you so mad. Like the time that they said that thing about your sister. And that other time when they said that thing about your friend from college. And as if the words weren’t enough, they’re always doing stuff that makes you so mad, too. Like all the times they leave their dirty socks on the floor or all those times they don’t help around the house. And the time they had too much to drink when you were at your families’ house.

So now you find yourself resenting the times that you’re together because you feel like your’e always fighting. You don’t look forward to them coming home and you’re starting to see that you never really spend any quality time with each other, either. Whenever you’re around your spouse you find yourself being in a bad mood. You’re even in a bad mood when they’re not around because of something they said or did to piss you off. No wonder you’re so unhappy! If anyone else got saddled with a spouse like yours, they’d be unhappy too!

But guess what? It’s not your spouse that’s making you unhappy. It’s you.

Let me Explain.

Why You’re Causing Your Own Unhappiness

In the back of your mind you’re thinking that if your spouse would just pick up after themselves or show you more respect or if they’d just stop doing all those irritating things they do then you’d be getting along better. And if you were getting along better then you’d actually be happy. But guess what? if you’re relying on your spouse for your happiness that’s not their problem, that’s yours. And if your life satisfaction pivots around your spouse doing or saying certain things to make you happy, then that’s called co-dependent.

Even if your spouse was the greatest spouse in the world, you’d still be unhappy because there would always be someone in your life dragging you down (your boss, an old college friend, a mom in your playgroup, etc). That’s the nature of being co-dependent. And if you’re disagreeing with me that you’re not co-dependent because it’s only your spouse who is bringing you down, then why are your letting your spouse determine if you’re having a bad day or not?

Shouldn’t I Expect My Spouse to Stop Doing Things that Annoy Me?

I know what you’re thinking. “Shouldn’t spouses expect to NOT be annoyed by their spouse?” I mean, you didn’t marry them to be annoyed the rest of your lie, right? The short answer is no. In fact, it’s one of the biggest misconceptions in marriages that I see. For you to dictate details about what your spouse says or does just so they don’t annoy you is actually kind of controlling. And to expect them to know every thing that may or may not annoy as you grow older and do new things is expecting them to have some magical mindreading power. If they had that, they wouldn’t be with you. They would have made millions playing the stockmarket and be married to some underwear model!

You Have More Power Over Your Happiness Than You Think

So if your spouse isn’t the one responsible to make you happy that means that you are. That means you have to take initiative to do things you’ve stopped doing to get yourself into a better place. Things like exercising again, joining meetups that you like, going to church, reading new books, finally trying that marathon you’ve been putting off. You have a lot more control over your happiness than you’re giving yourself credit for.

Once you start taking ownership for your happiness you’ll find that your relationship will naturally start to improve. Those little things that were so annoying will be just that: little. You’ll find a new vivacity for life. You’ll be so interesting and exciting that respect from your partner will ooze out of their ears. And the best part is, you didn’t have to wait for them to do anything. You did it. And you didn’t have to be co-dependent or controlling to get it.

About the Author
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. He specializes in helping couples overcome stale relationships, sexual difficulties and infidelity. In his spare time (whatever that is) you’ll catch him restoring his hot rod or coaching his children’s soccer games.

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