“Why am I so unhappy in my relationship?”

• What can cause unhappiness in a relationship, and what can help?

Jeff Murrah, LPC, LMFT, LCDC:

There are many causes of unhappiness in relationships. Bear in mind that the word happiness has as its root the word “Happen”. I have found that happiness is often based on having a series of happenings. In relationships, this often turns into one party finding themselves having to produce happenings or events in other to keep their partner pleased with them.

Problems arise when you make your spouse’s happiness your main priority. It’s not that happiness is a bad thing. The bad part comes when that is the main priority. Chasing after happiness involves making frequent changes, which creates instability. It puts you in a position where you are entertaining your spouse to keep them in a particular emotional state.

Keeping your partner pleased or entertained can be draining. It can be a never-ending series of events to please them. Couples who make their spouses happiness the major priority in the relationship find themselves in an ever-changing world where they are always looking for the next big thing. Seeking happiness makes for a poor foundation in relationships. It is insecure in that it is based on keeping a particular emotional state going. Basing a relationship on maintaining an emotional state creates instability.

A better foundation for relationships is found in doing what is right along with fulfilling your commitment and promises to them. These things provide a dependable and secure foundation. Once the foundation is secure, there will be times of happiness the two can enjoy. This kind of happiness comes from having a solid foundation in your marriage.

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