Relationships. They’re a source of endless joy and angst. Some relationships find the balance, many others can’t keep the balance as there is more fighting, sadness and anger than those memorable moments of happiness and fulfillment. Before I had my first relationship, I always believed that being in a relationship meant I would be happy by default, but reality dawned on me soon after. It took me a while and a few relationships to finally discover the secret to a happy relationship.
Finding the balance is not a day’s job, it is a perpetual process; but getting acquainted with the secret to a happy relationship makes the process a lot easier on you and your partner and set you on a path to a fulfilling relationship.
Relationships are dynamic in nature. We might be deliriously happy for a while, but then the gloss wears off and we’re stuck with reality. Most people get into relationships expecting they’ll feel better about themselves and their lives when they have someone to love them. We will meet the man or woman of our dreams and they will fulfill us, be our everything and we’ll both be deliriously happy for ever.
When that’s not the case, what do we do? Often, we blame the other person. The thinking might go like this:
“I don’t feel fantastic anymore, so it must be the other person’s fault: they’re not good enough, good-looking enough, rich enough, smart enough. A solution? Move on. The next relationship will bring all the things I need.”
And many people chase the high that new “love” brings.
Another solution might be to stay in that relationship because, very conveniently, we now have someone else to blame for everything we don’t like about our lives. If it wasn’t for them and all their flaws, our life would be wonderful. Love promised a perfect life, but I still don’t have enough money and have no friends. Life didn’t deliver. It’s all their fault. How convenient not to have to look at our own stuff and stuff-ups. Those arguing, bickering, bitter couples are all locked into the blame game. Are we too afraid to say “What’s my part in this? Why do I feel so unhappy? What can I do to change this?”
Being in a relationship that works means asking all those questions of yourself and then doing something about them. A something that doesn’t involve running away, getting divorced and making all the same mistakes in your next relationship. In short: Own your own crap. If something annoys you in your relationship, look at your part in it. Then look at why it annoys you. It’s your responsibility. It’s so easy to blame everyone else for everything. I know, I spent most of my life doing it.
My fiancée called me on it early on in our relationship. I hated her for it at the time, because it meant I really had to look at why I always played the victim. Sometimes I want to be weak and helpless and have someone else to blame for everything that’s wrong in my life. But if that’s true, where does it leave me? What can I learn or improve from that position of helplessness? Playing the victim may feel easy at the time, but it’s a cop-out. In the long term, it kept me stuck and miserable.
Now when I feel bad and I want to blame her, I have the tools to turn it around, knowing and really understanding that I am responsible for my own misery and my own happiness. I take her out of the equation and own my own issue. When we have individual issues, to the best of our ability we don’t dump it (blame it) on each other, we rather talk about it and find mutual amicable solutions.
That, my friend, is the one big ‘not-so-secret’ secret to a happy relationship.
Own your own issues, admit them, and do something about them so you don’t feel crappy.
There is one proviso however: If he or she ever physical assaults you, even a “small” hit, that is not your issue. That is not your fault. That is definitely their issue. And grounds for you to end that relationship even before it starts.
I have shared my secret, it can be peculiar to my relationship and also work for you. But then, relationships are dynamic, and there is no one rule that fits all. So, feel free to share your little secret to a happy relationship, we just might learn from you too.