There are numerous reasons why you may be unhappy in a relationship. If it’s simply relationship burnout—you’ve been together for a while, you’re picking at each other, bickering for no reason, finding fault in everything—there are plenty of ways to be happy in your relationship. Of course, I’m not referring to slapping a Band-Aid on a serious problem.
If you’re in an abusive or controlling relationship, or if your relationship just isn’t going to work no matter what, these tips aren’t for you. But if you’re in a typical relationship with all of the hallmarks of success—healthy, it’s you’re a good fit for each other, you love each other, you can see a future together, and you’re genuinely curious about how each other’s day went—then these suggestions are for you.
How to Be Happy in a Relationship That You Are Not Happy In
Here are relationship experts’ tips for dealing with the day-to-day and remaining happy in your relationship.
#1. Be thankful
Positive reinforcement will only lead to more positive reinforcement. “Allow yourself to be happy in a good relationship,” relationship coach Melinda Carver tells Bustle. You have all the trappings of happiness all around you, so sit back and enjoy them. This is the key to cultivating a grateful attitude: being thankful for a healthy and happy relationship with your partner.
#2. Center your attention on yourself
Are you looking after yourself? Are you projecting all of your stress onto your partner and blaming them for your bad day at work or your bad attitude right now? “Practice self-care” sex and relationship therapist Shamyra Howard-Blackburn, owner of Conquest Counseling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, tells Bustle. “There is a lot of emphasis in relationships on what we should be doing for our partners.”
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#3. Choose to be happy.
Many people believe that happiness is a choice. This does not imply waking up one day and telling yourself to be happy; rather, it entails doing the things you know make you happy. “I think it’s all about choice, whether you want to be happy or miserable,” psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. “You have the option of focusing on insignificant details or letting them go.”
#4. Have state of the union talks
Sit down and talk things out on a regular basis. “This is not an argument or complaint session; it’s an opportunity to update each other on how things are going between you,” explains Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences to Bustle. Tessina recommends weekly conversations because if the lines of communication are always open, you can be proactive.
#5. Spell it out
“Express love, kindness, and sweetness,” Tessina advises. “The relationships depicted in the media — and probably your own parents’ relationships — do not model kind, loving, and considerate behavior very well.” It’s not boring to open up and express your feelings to your partner. Although politeness, kindness, and happiness may bore the press, they will make your partner and your relationship flourish and blossom.
#6. Take care of your partner
Self-care is essential in a relationship, as Howard-Blackburn stated. “Avoid sacrificing too much by taking care of yourself emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually,” Tessina advises. Once that’s done, repeat the process for your partner. “Protect yourself from narcissism and selfishness by caring about your partner in the same four areas.”
How to Be Happy in a Relationship Again
So here are some things you can do right now to make your relationship happy again.
#1. Spend quality time with each other
This may seem obvious, but it astounds me how many couples spend “time” together without spending quality time together. Making plans, checking off to-do lists, and figuring out each other’s work schedules should not always be the focus of couple time.
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#2. Give each other space
My husband and I are the best of friends. Yes, we are that obnoxious couple who enjoys spending the most time together. Having said that, we still have our own identities, and we intentionally give each other space every now and then.
#3. Be appreciative and kind
When people ask me what the secret to my husband and my disgustingly happy marriage is, one thing I always say is that we’re both always kind to each other. That doesn’t mean we don’t get grumpy, annoyed, tired, or hungry.
#4. Sex should be prioritized.
Don’t be that couple who is happy together but then neglects their sex life. Couples who are healthy and happy understand that their physical connection is just as important as their emotional one.
#5. Maintain the integrity of your relationship
In today’s society, it’s common for people to gossip about their partners to their friends, even if it’s in jest. One way people relate to one another is by discussing how bad their relationships are. If your relationship is so bad that you have to vent to your friends and family about it, maybe you shouldn’t be in it.
#6. Prioritize one another
To be happy in your relationship, you must help your partner be happy in your relationship. One method is to prioritize them as much as possible. Work, school, hobbies, and other obligations should not get in the way of your love.
How to Be Happy in a Relationship Tips
Here are some pointers on how to be happy in a relationship:
#1. Engage in constructive conversation
What you say is only as important as how you say it. If you and your partner are having a disagreement, don’t just attack or criticize them. Why not experiment with “I” statements? By saying “I feel” rather than “You always,” you take responsibility for your emotions, and your partner will not feel blamed for everything. Try our three suggestions for improving communication with your critical stakeholders.
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#2. Pay attention to one another
Listening is a powerful tool in relationships. We can’t always hear what our partner is saying because we’re too preoccupied with our own feelings. Keep in mind that communication is two-way. The only way to find out what’s really going on with your partner is to listen to them.
#3. Do not keep things bottled up.
If you keep something that has upset you to yourself, you are not doing yourself or your partner any favors. This is only going to fuel resentment, which will manifest itself in other ways. Talk about it if it’s something important to you.
#4. Keep things interesting
It’s a cliche, but making an effort to keep things interesting and fun in your relationship can make a big difference. It’s easy to become complacent about having someone in your life, but this can lead to boredom and dissatisfaction. Surprise your partner on occasion to show how much you appreciate having them around.
#5. Let go of the little stuff
Although it’s good to talk about what’s on your mind, your relationship will become a battleground if you can’t ever let things go. If it’s something that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t really matter, why not just forget about it? Nobody is perfect, and you probably do things that irritate your partner as well!
#6. Be grateful for what you have.
Many people end up looking outside their relationship because they believe there is someone “better” for them out there. Relationships aren’t about finding the “ideal partner”—whatever that is. They are concerned with allowing the connection you do have to develop and grow. The strongest relationships are usually those that have had the most time to develop.
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#7. Give each other space
Although spending quality time together is wonderful, don’t forget that you both need to nurture your interests and friendships. Couples who spend every moment in each other’s pockets may become dissatisfied when they realize their personal interests have begun to dwindle.
#8. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself.
It’s natural to wonder if your relationship is as good as it should be. We can get caught up in having the best clothes or the latest gadgets, but we can also get caught up in having relationships that are as exciting and passionate as the ones we see in movies or hear about in songs.
#9. Avoid envy and foster trust.
Jealousy can ruin relationships, and nothing is more unappealing than the green-eyed monster. If you’re concerned that your partner isn’t paying you enough attention, try being open and honest instead of acting out or accusing them of looking elsewhere. Building mutual trust is essential for overcoming negative emotions and remaining strong as a group.
#10. Put some effort into it.
Relationships can be work, even if it’s not always the most popular way to think about them. They require nurturing and the space and attention they require. Communication should not be done only occasionally; it should be done on a regular basis.
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How to Be Happy in a Relationship After Cheating
Here are a few important steps you can take together to help repair your relationship.
#1. Make sure that there is remorse.
“A sufficient level of remorse is required.” So, if you’re the cheating partner, you owe it to yourself to feel deeply sorry. It can’t be something that comes across as casual.
#2. Tell the truth about what happened.
This is the most difficult step, and it will largely determine whether or not you can both move forward. “People can make bad decisions,” Mahoney says.
#3. Remove all temptations to resume the affair.
If the affair is truly over, taking physical steps to cut contact with the person and establish boundaries is critical to your partner’s healing.
#4. Proceed with brutal honesty and care.
Being cheated on is harmful for different reasons, but one major factor that must be addressed in order to move on is a lack of honesty.
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#5. Be cautious about who you tell.
Your first instinct may be to broadcast your partner’s transgressions on social media for all to see, which Travis McNulty, LMHC, a therapist in Florida, says is a common coping mechanism.
#6. Consider hiring a licensed therapist.
It can be difficult to know what to do or even where to begin after an affair. If you feel like your conversations with your partner are going nowhere, consider working with a licensed therapist who can help guide the process.
You have control over whether or not you are happy in your relationship. If you truly want to know how to be happy in a relationship, the truth is that it stems from your own actions and thoughts. You can start being happy in your relationship right now if you follow the advice on this list.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you stay happy in an unhappy relationship?
How can I stay happy in my unhappy marriage?
- Participate in enjoyable solo activities.
- Exercise and self-improvement are recommended.
- Practice being grateful for what you have.
- Stop fighting over the same issues.
- Get out of the house more frequently.
- Improve your social life.
What are the 5 most important things in a relationship?
5 essentials for a happy relationship
- Communicate openly. The ability to communicate openly is one of the characteristics of a healthy relationship.
- Hearing and feeling heard It is essential to have someone listen to us and to feel heard.
- Resolving disagreements.
- Mutual closeness.
What makes a man happy in a relationship?
To make your man emotionally happy, you must pay attention to his needs and know when to give him space. To make your man sexually happy, you must be willing to try new things and be bold and adventurous. But the most important thing is that you are happy while pleasing your man.
Can you love someone and still be unhappy?
(Yes, you can love someone and be unhappy at the same time.) “Ask yourself: If today were my last day, could I say I’m in the relationship I want to be in?” That I deserve to be in?” Branson asks. If the answers are no, accept that what you want is important—and that it may be worthwhile to end your relationship in the end.
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