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Why A Relationship Won’t Make You Happy

April 19, 2011

Are you single right now and feel as though something is missing in your life? Do you think once you find that perfect person, that void will disappear and life will be bliss? Would all of your problems be solved if you could just find “The One”?

It would be nice if finding the right person was the only prerequisite to living a perfect life. Unfortunately, a life of fulfilment is not quite that simple.

When you’re single and experience feelings of sadness, depression, or emptiness, it’s easy to assume that your lack of a partner is the cause of your distress. Relationships are usually the area in which people have the greatest emotional deficiencies, so you place an inordinate amount of importance on finding a partner to offset the perceived deficiency.

A loving and supportive partner can certainly bring an element of happiness to your life. A relationship with the right partner is a wonderful experience of growth, self-discovery, and love. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that a relationship is your Holy Grail to happiness.

Expecting a partner to bring happiness and meaning into your life places enormous pressure on them and on your relationship. If you expect your partner to offset a pre-existing deficiency in your own life, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. If you’re not intrinsically happy without a partner, you’re not going to be happy with one either.

The problem isn’t your partner or lack thereof. It’s you.

No one but you can bring the type of happiness and fulfilment into your life that you are seeking. Maybe you don’t know how to fill that void, and that’s why you’re looking outwards. Maybe you don’t know what you’re living for, so you’re looking for someone else to live for instead.

The void opens up and consumes your happiness when you don’t know yourself, you feel overwhelmed by possibilities, responsibilities, and obligations, and you don’t have the self-confidence that you can meet those challenges and expectations.

Finding out how to fill that void is not easy. I’m only just beginning to unravel what it was that fed this void for me, and what quenches it.

Earlier this year, my partner and I embarked on a round the world trip to travel and learn language together. We had the somewhat naïve expectation that we would be totally happy once this plan was in motion. For a short while, we were. After the initial liberation from paid labour and the exhilaration of being together wore off, we felt pretty much the same as we had before our relationship.

Despite living our dream we weren’t completely happy. We were very happy together, so we knew the void wasn’t in our relationship. What was missing was inside ourselves. It was a void that we finally knew – for certain – that no-one else could fill.

Part of filling this void is figuring out what makes you tick. For example, I really enjoy being alone with my thoughts and writing, whether I’m writing to help people or to amuse them with a story. I enjoy learning language and seeing my progress in my ability to communicate. I’m gradually realising where my interests lie, and what things I’d like to learn, be, do, and try in my lifetime. When I think about these things, I feel happy and excited, and the void is plugged a little bit more.

If you’re single and feeling this void, before you jump to the conclusion that the lack of a partner is the root of your problem, think about what things you want to do or be in your life that you haven’t achieved yet. Get to know yourself before you try to get to know someone else. What do you want to do? Do you want to travel to Europe? Do you have any interests you want to pursue? Do you want to learn a language? What are the things that you really enjoy doing?

Do them.

You don’t need to find a partner in order to fill that void. The person you really need to find is yourself.

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5 Responses to “Why A Relationship Won’t Make You Happy”

  1. What an isight you have my girl.
    I am sure those that read this, will find enormous value from your experience. I look forward to your next post.

  2. Thanks 🙂 I used to feel like that a lot, so I hope that it helps someone else.

  3. You have it in a nutshell. Keep up the excellent work.

  4. My heart couldn’t agree more when it was touched by your post!

  5. I know what you mean I think. Anthony de Mello in his book ‘Awareness’ talks about aloneness as opposed to loneliness.

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