How to be happy in a relationship? In our search for an answer to this question, we often look to psychology books. Books help us to understand some important issues, but they do not clearly define happiness in a relationship. As human beings, we differ on many issues. We exhibit different needs and romantic relationships are often looked at through the lens of the patterns we know. Sigmund Freud believed that the motives behind our behaviour often remain incomprehensible to ourselves, as 90% of behaviour is largely shaped by the subconscious. Added to this are different personality traits. Some people need more autonomy, others need the closeness of a partner. When we tell others: I’m not happy in a relationship, let’s consider what expectations we entered the relationship with. Sometimes we assume that a partner will solve most of our problems and give meaning to our lives so far. When we complain about feeling an inner emptiness, the other person will not fill it. We can do this on our own by finding a job with a mission, our own hobbies or by giving to charity. If we suffer from recurrent depressive states, then we need professional psychological support. Love will not heal us or protect us from illness. When considering the question of how to be in a happy relationship, it is worth remembering that the best romantic relationships are formed when we sort things out. Unconscious needs, internal conflicts, traumas and relational patterns often prevent us from building a healthy intimacy with our partner. It also encourages us to send the wrong signals and attract people who allow us to play familiar roles. I want to be happy in a relationship – if this is what you really want, try to know yourself and your needs. Sometimes loneliness makes us fearful and so we enter another relationship after one ends. Meanwhile, living a single life has its advantages. It prepares us to create a better and more satisfying relationship. Finally, we gain time to think about what we need and who we really are. By taking a ‘holiday’ from relationships, we can see the mistakes that we reproduce in subsequent relationships. For example, we conform too much to our partner, we give up our own passions and friends.
I want to be happy in a relationship. What should I do?
How do I create a happy relationship? Intimacy plays a key role, and it is worth opening up to. Often we don’t express our expectations or share our emotions with our partner because we are afraid of their reaction. By not revealing our soft underbelly, we protect ourselves from possible hurt. On the other hand, by acting in an assertive manner, we create a superficial relationship. Here are some tips to help you build a happy relationship.
Talking is key
We often say to friends: I’m not happy in the relationship, but we don’t communicate this to our partner, making it impossible for them to take any action to improve the relationship. Our problems with open communication are not due to ill will, but to a lack of appropriate role models. Sometimes we still hear the immortal saying from our grandmothers: you have to deal with a man in a certain way. We do not believe that our partner will listen to us and understand us. We are crossing out any chance of reaching an agreement in advance. I encourage you to engage in open communication. Lack of relationship satisfaction usually stems from unmet needs. Consider whether you have ever articulated them. If you haven’t, the other party is probably not guessing what is important to you. There is a good chance that once they know your desires, they will want to satisfy them. Open communication is based on mutual respect and describing your own emotions. Do not be tempted to judge your partner or criticise their behaviour. When we are in good touch with our emotions, we are able to outline our needs and expectations. It is difficult to start a conversation with your partner when you know what you don’t like, but can’t indicate what you want. Moreover, talking has another magical power. It makes the other person still seem fascinating to us. In long-established relationships, we all too often assume that our partner will no longer surprise us. However, the other party may see things differently today than at the beginning of the relationship. We are shaped by events that we experience every day. Suddenly, we discover new passions and abilities. It is worth talking to each other to stay on top of your partner’s issues.
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The art of compromise is the key to success
We are beautifully different from each other, but sometimes we find it hard to accept the fact that we don’t always agree on everything. Difference does not have to lead to the end of a relationship. If you’re thinking: I love him but I’m not happy with him because he needs more autonomy than I do, I have good news for you 🙂 Differences don’t derail a relationship if you work out a compromise with your partner. Talk to him about your need for connection, keeping an open mind to his arguments. Think together about what you can do to get more satisfaction from the relationship. Sometimes it’s useful to meet in the middle, arranging for weekends together and your partner’s solitary afternoon bike rides on weekdays. This is, of course, just an example to show that with goodwill on both sides a crisis can be resolved. Compromise in many cases results in increased satisfaction with the romantic relationship.
Spending time together strengthens the bond
At the beginning of a relationship, the body secretes a lot of phenylethylamine. This chemical gives us an amorous ‘high’ and acts like a drug, as it is structurally quite similar to amphetamine. Phenylethylamine makes us want to spend every moment together. We obsessively think about our partner and can’t wait until work is over to go to him or her. You probably often ask yourself: why am I not happy in a relationship when I was in a state of euphoria at the beginning? Over time, the amount of phenylethylamine synthesised decreases so that we return to our daily routines. This is a crucial moment for the relationship, as it is only up to us to make sure we take care of the time we spend together when we are not driven by love chemistry. Couples who share a common passion and have created shared rituals tend to report higher levels of relationship satisfaction. I encourage you to cultivate closeness with your partner by going out on dates with them. A longer relationship doesn’t mean you can’t get to know each other by having dinner at a newly opened restaurant. Shared experiences, including culinary ones, bring us closer together because they are accompanied by the release of endorphins. We want to spend time with the person around whom we experience pleasure. Even if you think you know your partner inside out, he or she will surprise you many more times. Every day we grow and our attitudes change. It is helpful to know your partner’s current position. Building a bond with your partner is facilitated by small gestures, including the use of affectionate phrases that only you know the origin of. Many people feel great joy when they receive a text message from a loved one saying: I miss you. Usually, we only send this kind of message to each other at the beginning of a relationship, and yet we can make each other happy every day.
Taking care of the intimate sphere
When we scour the internet looking for answers to the question: how to be happy in a relationship, we usually come across advice on improving the quality of sex life. This is a very important aspect of a romantic relationship, as physical intimacy fosters a bond with your partner. Gottman’s research shows that the disappearance of intercourse after just one week begins to corrode a relationship. From the first moments of life, we experience love through touch. When our mother takes us in her arms and hugs us, we feel her closeness, which translates into a sense of security. Gary Chapman also recognised the importance of touch and classified it as one of the languages of love. We build intimacy in relationships in different ways. In public, we hold hands and brush the hair away from our loved one’s face. When we say goodbye, we kiss her on the cheek or mouth and hug her to show our love and support. It is worth practising these habits even in long-standing relationships. Over time, sex becomes boring and to prevent this, we can introduce variety that we have not used before. The erotic sphere of life is an extremely delicate matter that requires mutual consent. If a proposal does not arouse mutual enthusiasm, it is worth considering other solutions. Let’s not agree to forms of intercourse that don’t suit us in order to elevate sex to a completely different level. We can certainly achieve this goal by finding mutually enticing solutions with our partner:) Let’s not avoid sex because our bodies have changed due to childbirth, menopause, an accident or illness. Often, we are too critical of our appearance, and as a result we give up intercourse. This results in physical and emotional distancing from our partner. Let us trust him or her, believing that he or she will accept us as we are.
Mutual acceptance and empathy as a basis for mutual happiness
Is it possible to be happy in a relationship? This is a question many people ask me when another important relationship in their life comes to an end and doubt sets in. Reaping satisfaction is as real as it gets, but it requires mutual acceptance and empathy. Each of us has unique qualities. When we realise this and accept our partner with his or her different views and values, we take a step towards a happy relationship. We will never meet a man whose needs, passions and beliefs will coincide 100% with our own. The myth of the other half of the apple often proves damaging, as it suggests that differences cancel out a relationship. A happy relationship is easier to create for people who have developed empathy. Partners are then able to put themselves in the other party’s shoes and respond appropriately. For example, they realise that she has her own passions that she wants to pursue, so they do not forbid her from going out with friends to the theatre. Empathic people understand others better and are less inclined to impose their will on them. At the same time, they try to respond to their partner’s needs.
Trust plays a key role in a relationship. When it is lacking, we often suspect the other party of bad intentions. We ourselves feel insecure in the relationship, which generates unnecessary stress and reduces the quality of life. Trust in a relationship is closely linked to emotional security. Unstable behaviour of the partner creates anxiety in us, because we do not know what to expect. Let us ensure mutual trust by creating an atmosphere of emotional security. When we clearly declare our affection and desire to be in a relationship, we lower our partner’s anxiety level. Keeping promises works similarly. By committing to a picnic by the river, fixing the washing machine, etc., it is worth remembering that by being verbal, we are sending the other person an important signal. We are letting her know that she can rely on us. Trust in a relationship makes us feel confident and not in control of our partner by looking through their phone. When this temptation arises, it is worth considering what it stems from. Has the other person given us cause for concern by flirting with others behind our backs? If this has damaged our trust and we see no prospect of rebuilding it, it is sometimes better to part ways than to live in constant anxiety.