How To Deal When You’re Not Happy In Relationship
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated December 22, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Christy B.
Are you struggling in your relationship? Research suggests that around 20 percent of people in relationships are unhappy. It is human nature to want a relationship that makes you happy. The good news is there are several things you can do to improve your relationship and increase your level of happiness.
When you're in an unhappy relationship, you might feel stuck. You don't want to leave the relationship, but it also doesn't feel like you're getting what you signed up for. You have a choice to make. The easier option if you’re unhappy in your relationship is to end it with your partner. However, since you're reading this article, that's probably not what you want to do. If your relationship is unhappy right now, you might want to find a way to improve your relationship and be happier. There are a few steps that can help you do that:
- Evaluate the problem - You need to determine what's causing you to feel unhappy in the relationship.
- Choose a response - What you do to improve your situation will depend on what you discover when evaluating the problem.
We'll discuss these steps in more detail throughout the article.
Discontent in Relationships
Signs your relationship could be in trouble and that you may not be happy in your relationship include:
- You look for excuses not to see them/be at home.
- You don't share much anymore.
- You're tempted to stray.
- You think you would be happier living a different life.
- You're distracting yourself with booze and/or drugs.
- You feel put down or disrespected.
- You're irritable and angry a lot of the time.
- You feel depressed when you're at home.
- You're only in it for the kids, house, pets, or [fill in the blank].
- You don't know if you should really commit.
- You find yourself chasing how you felt in the past.
- You no longer love your partner but resent them instead.
- You feel as if you have settled or are settling.
If any of the signs above resonate with you, and your relationship, odds are, they could be contributing to the overall unhappiness. Although every partnership goes through hard times, it shouldn't overshadow the good things. There may be ebbs and flows when one or both of you aren't entirely satisfied with the way things are going or you’re not feeling happy currently. This is okay in the short term. But in the long term, keeping a relationship alive where you are unhappy is unhealthy. So what should you do? Read on to discover some of the steps you can take to fix things if you are not happy with your relationship.
Evaluate the Problem
Before you identify your relationship as the source of your unhappiness, it's essential to evaluate your life holistically. This allows you to see if there's anything else that could be causing your discontentment and masquerading as relational discord. When we are dealing with internal issues, we have the tendency to project these feelings onto our partners subconsciously. Possible sources of external discontent are:
- Financial worries
- Parenting concerns
- Unhappiness at work
With many of these things, a general feeling of dissatisfaction or irritation can spread to your relationship. Because you're emotionally and physically close to your partner, it's common to let down your guard and take your unhappiness out on them. This kind of unhealthy projection can cause bitterness and discontent on both sides.
How to Increase Happiness in a Relationship
First, pinpoint the issue and share your feelings with your partner. If money worries are the problem, be open and honest about your fears. If you're concerned about things that are happening with the kids, communicate these thoughts as well. You might be surprised to find that your significant other has some of the same concerns or is at the very least open to supporting you through your personal hurdles.
Next, tackle the issues head-on. This is where a qualified counselor can really be of service. Because he or she will be trained in solving a myriad of issues, having a guide can make the process a lot easier than going at it alone. This is paramount because, when we take responsibility for our individual areas of unhappiness and work on healing these areas, we often see a boost of positive feelings in our relationships as well.
If you decide that an external factor is not your primary issue, evaluate what about your relationship is making you unhappy. Try to be as specific as possible and pinpoint the exact area of discontent. Are you unhappy with your:
- Emotional connection
- Financial habits
- Time spent together or lack thereof
- An unfair division of labor
- Parenting differences
- Incompatible life goals
Once you've identified the root of your discontentment, it's important to also reflect on the positive aspects of your relationship. Spend some time identifying why your relationship is healthy and the things about it that make you happy. When you’re not feeling happy, you focus solely on the negative aspects, you can get caught in a cycle of negative thoughts; combat this by also reflecting on the positive points.
Take some time to write out your feelings, both positive and negative. You will need to have a conversation with your partner about your unhappiness. He or she is likely to be much more receptive if you have your feelings, thoughts, and concerns outlined clearly, so they're not confused about what's really going on.
Next, you need to communicate your feelings to your partner. This needs to be done respectfully and intentionally. Choose your words carefully, and resist casting blame on your partner. Use "I feel" statements to simply express what you've been feeling, and give suggestions on how your partner could support you. Listen to your partner's response and, even though you've been vulnerable in expressing your needs, carefully and calmly consider what they have to say.
Understand that your partner might internalize your feelings, and be patient if he or she becomes sad, upset, or angry. Although you aren't responsible for their emotions and should speak your truth regardless, empathy can go a long way when trying to work out relationship issues.
Tackle the Issues
Once you've shared your feelings, see if you two can work together to tackle the issues and solve them one by one. This will take some time and commitment, but if you truly value your relationship, it will be worth it in the end.
Consider if the Relationship Should Continue
Finally, you will need to decide whether you believe your relationship can be salvaged and if you want to attempt that. This is a personal decision that is yours and yours alone. Even your partner's feelings don't really matter at this point because it is unhealthy to stay in a relationship to please someone else.
When considering your best option, reflect on the length of your relationship, your time together, and your partner's response to your recently-expressed needs. If you genuinely feel like you’re in a healthy relationship and that a few simple improvements could result in increased happiness, consider doing the hard work by staying in the relationship. After all, no loving partnership will be perfect; all partnerships require commitment and compromise. However, if you come to the conclusion that your overall relationship is not one built on love, support, and trust, you may choose to do the hard and complicated work of ending the relationship.
Help for Your Relationship
You will benefit from support while you're evaluating your options. If you’re not feeling happy in your current relationship, couples counseling - and even individual counseling - can help improve your wellbeing and help you decide whether to stay in the relationship.
Betterhelp.com offers affordable online counseling to help you get your life and your relationship back on track. You can read reviews of our therapists below, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Stephanie is a gem! She's very thoughtful, thorough, honest, insightful but most of all helpful. This is coming from a person that never wanted to do counseling and just "knew" I didn't need it. She's been key in helping my wife and I find our better place. She made us grow as a couple and individually. Thanks Steph!"
"Within just a few sessions with Monica, I was in a much better place emotionally, mentally, and had renewed hope. After a strong rift with my husband, I needed a compassionate ear that wasn't my friends or family. She listened, gave me good feedback and assigned helpful habits. So far everything she suggested has been working really well. Thanks to her, I've made great progress, and I'm excited to continue until I'm back to me."
Relationships don't always make us feel happy the way we think they should. But with a little work and attention, it's possible to rediscover happiness with your significant other. Take the first step and connect with a relationship expert today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do you do when you are not happy in a relationship?
If you're unhappy in your current relationship but are still interested in making the relationship work, the best thing to do is talk with your partner — have a heart to heart. Be sure to listen to their feelings and thoughts as well. Provide solutions to the issues you feel you've been having and listen to their ideas as well.
Why do people stay in unhappy relationships?
They are several reasons why you choose to remain in relationships when you’re unhappy. The main reasons why people stay in unhappy relationships is because of the time, resources, and emotions they've invested in it, they think they don't have good alternatives, and they believe that if they do leave a relationship, they will fail at life.
Should I stay in a relationship if I'm not happy?
Relationship trouble is common now and then, especially the longer the relationship lasts. It’s best not to stay in an unhappy relationship after you’ve already tried to work it out and yet nothing has changed for the better. But remember, especially in you’re in a relationship for a long time, there will be times when you or your partner will not be happy. That’s not necessarily an unhappy relationship more than is a season of change you’re going through. And that is common with most long-term relationships.
How do you know if you’re unhappy in a relationship?
Here are some indicators that you might not be happy in a relationship:
- You’re not feeling at ease around your partner
- You avoid conflict
- You have more fun alone
- You feel restless
- You’re not feeling happy when you’re with your partner
- You’re not feeling peaceful around your partner
- You don't do the special "little things" anymore
- You don't share any news with your partner anymore
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is characterized by insecurity, self-centeredness, dominance, and control. The relationship is characterized by behaviors by the toxic partner that are emotionally and/or physically damaging to their partner. It may be difficult to live your best life in a toxic relationship.
How do you know if a girl is unhappy in a relationship?
- They’re almost always out with friends
- They simply don’t want to talk
- They’re less intimate
- They want much more alone time
When should you let go of a relationship?
You see the signs of an unhappy relationship. You’re not sure whether staying in a relationship is the best option. You’re personally feeling unhappy about it. When should you give up? If, after working diligently at mending the relationship and if vital deal breakers like your needs aren't being met on a consistent basis or if your partner isn't willing to try harder to fulfill your needs aren’t met, it's probably an indication that it’s time to move on.
How do you save a dying relationship?
Take out old love letters and read them aloud to one another. Go back to places where beautiful, intimate moments were shared and relive them together. Reach out to others who were there with you who can remind you of what you were like when your relationship was still alive and prospering.
Is it cheating if you're not official?
Some believe that it’s not cheating if your relationship isn’t official. However, emotions don’t always take facts into consideration, and it can feel just like cheating even if you haven’t made the relationship official.
How do I know if I am happy?
Some of the signs that you will feel happy are:
- You enjoy the lifestyle you've created
- You can cope with setbacks and rise back up
- You speak your truth
- You pursue your passions
- You can create your own joy, not relying on others for joy or happiness
- You reach out for help when you need it
How do I know if I'm in love?
One main way you know you’re in love is that you always think about the other person. You feel like you can't get them off of your mind. That's because the brain releases the “love drug” hormone called phenylethylamine when you fall in love with someone which creates the feeling of infatuation with your partner.
What are the 5 most important things in a relationship?
The 5 most important things in a relationship are trust, respect, love, attention, and communication.
What are red flags in a relationship?
There are some red flags that may show that your relationship is on the brink of disaster. These red flags are seen when your partner drives a wedge between you and your family and friends, they have drastic mood swings and are often on a short fuse, they become secretive about their life, and they start to give you manipulative guilt trips.
What is a toxic girlfriend?
Some signs of a toxic girlfriend include her deciding what you can and can't do, she doesn’t encourages you to grow as a person but rather stunts your growth, she doesn’t have respect for you, she uses sex (or lack of) as manipulation, and she will be difficult to open up to. People who contribute to toxicity in a relationship love to use various tactics like these to get their way and reduce your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
How do you tell if you are being manipulated?
Manipulative behavior involves three main factors: fear, obligation, and guilt. When you are being manipulated by someone, you are more likely being psychologically coerced into doing something you probably don't really want to do,
How do you know when a man is unhappy in a relationship?
There are some telltale signs of an unhappy man in a relationship. Sudden mood swings and changes in his normal personality can be an indicator of a man who is unhappy in his relationship. He might also bring up past offenses, compliment you less, and spend more time with his friends and family and less time with you which can make seem like the relationship is one-sided.
How do you know he doesn’t want a relationship?
Some signs he doesn’t want to be in a relationship is if he's only making vague plans to get together or bailing at the last minute. A man who wants to be in a relationship with you will do the opposite. If he's not interested in you enough to respect you and your time, then he probably doesn't want a relationship with you either.
How can you tell if your girlfriend really loves you?
- She remembers what you like and goes out of her way to get those things for you
- She cares about how your friends are doing
- She really wants to know you—your dream job, your favorite foods, your aspirations.
- She surprises you with getaways or a dinner at your favorite restaurant
- You still catch her checking you out
- She loves bragging about you
How do you know if your relationship is worth it?
When should you stay in a relationship and fight for it? When two people have at least a few common interests — hobbies and activities they can enjoy together — it’s a strong indicator of a relationship worth saving. This is especially true if those interests involve an important area of life for one or (preferably) both people.
How do you know when a guy has moved on?
Here are some fairly obvious signs he’s moved on:
- He avoids you
- He's encouraging you to date other people
- He makes an effort not to be places where you'll be
- He's in a new relationship
- He’s unfriended you on your social media accounts
- He cuts off all contact
How do you know when it's time to let go quotes?
“Sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake and help us see we are worth so much more than we’re settling for.” – Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass
“You don’t need strength to let go of something. What you really need is understanding.” – Guy Finley
“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.” – Steve Maraboli
When should you let go of a guy?
Here are some signs indicating it’s time to let go of a guy.
- His personal time is consistently more important than your concerns and frustrations
- He is unable to take responsibility for his actions and blames you for his shortcomings and faults
- He disappears for periods of time.
- He lives off your finances
- He spends more time with his friends and family than you
- Any physical, emotional, or mental abuse.
A healthy relationship will most likely not have these indicators.
Should you give up on someone you love?
The bottom line is that no one is a relationship expert, and there are times when you should give up on someone you love. You can still love someone from a distance; in fact, it’s oftentimes healthier. If you’ve been working for a good amount of time on your relationship and yet you’re not feeling that your needs being met and, in turn, you’re possibly seeking those needs from other people is a reason. Other reasons like when your partner is abusive or finding yourself obligated to stay in the relationship are signs. Be aware that the feeling of failure might arise after making such a decision.
How long does a typical relationship last?
Studies show that, on average, both healthy and unhealthy relationships only last 2 years and 9 months.
Is it Okay to be Unhappy in a Relationship?
Feeling unhappy is not healthy for your relationship. Being unhappy in a relationship may interfere with your physical and emotional well-being. In other words, when you're no longer happy in your relationship, you may develop mental health challenges such as loneliness, depression, and other kinds of disorders.
How Do I Tell My Boyfriend I am not Happy?
Several individuals face different challenges in their relationships which leads to unhappiness in their lives. The awareness of their unhappy states may lead them to make different attempts to find possible solutions. However, they may find it difficult to handle the situation themselves. They may, therefore, turn to their partners telling them about the way they feel and what they intend to do about it. The following are the way you can talk to your partner that you are not happy:
- Ruminate on the reason why you're unhappy: This is a very important step to take before you turn to your boyfriend. Think about why you feel the way you feel. Do a thorough assessment of your feelings so that both of you can know what causes your disconnection and how to deal with it together.
- Think about the best way to say it: You must be able to express yourself in a way that you won't be misunderstood. Avoid harsh words and be mindful of hos feelings. Also, don't place blame on your boyfriend based on the fact that both of you are responsible for the success of the relationship. Express yourself clearly and be calm.
- Make preparation for what can happen: You must think about what can happen after expressing the way you feel to your boyfriend. Your boyfriend my cry, get angry or talk hurtfully to you. If your boyfriend gets it wrong, it may become worse.
- Ensure that you talk about everything bothering you: You must make sure that you don't leave anything out. Being reluctant to express everything is a bad idea. Avoid keeping fight with him for weeks or months. Let everything out and ensure the issues are resolved. If not addressed completely, it may show up later in the future.
- Ask your boyfriend what he wants: You should ask your boyfriend what he needs or what he intends to do which may include ending the relationship.
- Express your needs: The central reason why you're no longer happy is that you are not getting what you want. These needs may include attention, sex, affection, etc. So, if you continuously feel unhappy, you must let him know the exact thing you want in a very clear and convincing way.
What are the Signs of Bad Relationship?
A relationship does not always go as expected. Sometimes, it may be challenging and interfering with different areas of your life. A bad relationship can result in emotional and physical distress.it's important to always watch for the signs of a bad relationship in order to know the appropriate steps to take. The following are some of the signs your relationship is going bad:
- Volatility: A relationship where one or both parties in a relationship are or are quick to become violent or angry can be said to be toxic. Seeing your partner becoming upset consistently may spike your levels of stress hormone(glucocorticoids).
- Passive-aggressive behavior: Behavior is an essential part of a relationship. If you discover that your partner shows some unhealthy signs such as giving you the silent treatment. In this situation, you may find it difficult to know what's wrong in particular. If this occurs, you may not know how to fix the conflict. Passive-aggressive behavior may be accompanied by gaslighting. This implies that in most times, you will be held responsible for everything that goes wrong in the relationship.
- Insecurity and lack of trust: A good relationship is built on open communication and trust. You're expected to live comfortably and enjoy the peace in the relationship. However, if your partner hides some things from you or doesn't tell you what you should know, it's a sign that your relationship is bad.
- You're are constantly feeling that you need permission: If you find it difficult to make simple choices in your relationship and always feeling like you need your partner's permission, this is a sign that your relationship is bad. It's important to know that this is different from considering your partner when you decide to make life choices such as switching jobs or moving to a new city. You can seek your partner's permission on this.
- You're constantly feeling drained and exhausted: Constant exhaustion in a relationship is a sign that the relationship is bad. You should feel relax and comfortable. Mood swings are not healthy to a relationship, it is tiring and can make you feel exhausted when it is done constantly.
- Isolation: The moment you begin to isolate yourself from friends and family because of exhaustion you experience constantly, you should see it as a red flag to exit the relationship.
How Do you Know if it's Time to End a Relationship?
People go into relationships for different reasons. Being with someone romantically comes with its own demands— you need to give tour time and make different sacrifices purposely to keep the relationship healthy. However, sometimes, things may go wrong to the extent that nothing could be done to fix emerged challenges but to end the relationship. The following are signs that will make you know that appropriate time to ends relationship:
- Lack of trust: The moment both you don't trust each other anymore, you may start thinking about a breakup. A healthy relationship is built on trust. Distrust may lead to anger, possessiveness, anger, and other negative feelings.
- Incompatible values: You should share the same value and goals. It is good if both of you are moving towards the same direction to achieve a specific goal. You may want to think about ending the relationship if you realize differences in your values or if you don't care about your partner's goals (vice versa)
- You don't make plans with your partner in mind: The moment you start to make plans without having your partner in mind, it implies that you don't really want such a person to be a significant part of your life. With this, you may think about exiting the relationship.
- Your relationship lacks fun: it may be the appropriate time to think about ending a relationship if your relationship lacks fun and not joyous. Boredom and lack of excitement or happiness can make your relationship unhealthy. Even if both parties are always busy because of work, it's important to make time to be together to have fun.
- Daydreaming about someone who's not your partner: Fantasizing about life and passion with someone who is not your partner implies that you've given up on your relationship. Fantasizing may affect your relationship negatively because it may inhibit you from channeling your energies into your relationship.
- No future in the relationship: The moment you begin to sense that there is no future for you or your partner in the relationship, it's a sign that you should think about ending the relationship. You are supposed to go into a relationship with someone you can build a great future with.
- Your partner has become a stranger: You should ask yourself if you are feeling emotionally connected with your partner. There is no point in spending time or sharing your life and passion with a stranger. Realizing that both of you don't have the same dreams, supportive bond, and ideals, you must know that it's time to quit.
How Do I Break Up with Someone I Love?
There are different reasons why people break up with someone they love. You may decide to break up with someone you love because realize you're not making a progress in the relationship or you discover that you are incompatible in different areas. This may hurt you, but you may be ending the relationship for a greater good. The following are the ways you can break up with such a person:
- Try to do it in person: Discussing it in person will give room for an honest conversation on the specific reasons why both of you should go in your separate ways. It wi also help with closure of the relationship.
- Avoid staying together: You need emotional strength to achieve this. The moment you discover that the relationship is not right for you, you must be strong enough to avoid a hookup.
- Try to clarify breakup behaviors and set boundaries: Ensure that you set boundaries after a breakup. This will help you from getting too hurt. Avoid daily talks—this may make you feel like you are still together.
- Engage no contact rule: If you really intend to break up completely with someone you love, you must take time apart. You may be tempted to call, text, or talk with such a person because you miss him or her. Because you are not right together, you must try to keep yourself away from such a person completely.
How Can I Be Happy in a Relationship Again?
You are expected to be happy in your relationship. However, if you're constantly feeling unhappy, it may be because of different reasons. You must know that ups and downs are parts of a relationship. There are things you can do to bring back the good old days when you and your partner are happy together. The following are steps you can take if you're unhappy in your relationship:
- Try to keep the lines of communication open
- A culture of mutual respect should be created and maintained: lack of respect may bring up different issues—learn to say "please" and "thank you"
- Try to exercise with your partner
- Try to go on a vacation with your partner to spend quality time
- Engage yourself in a physical act of laughing — it makes you healthier and happier.
- Try to eat healthy food together with your partner
- Have sex with your partner every day
- Spice up the relationship by switching roles—this may be in the bedroom, for the preparation of meals, or driving.
- Avoid going to bed angry
- Be comfortable be natural physical growth— people's physical appearances change as they grow old. Try to be tolerant with the beer belly, stretch marks, the bald spot, or the wrinkles.
- Try to see a marriage and family therapist to find more information.
What to Say to End a Relationship?
Breakup is not an easy thing to take. If you're unhappy and feel the need to end the relationship, you must know how to express yourself well so that it won't cause more pain. You have to be clear, concise, open, and truthful. The following are some of the things to say to end your relationship:
- "I feel like it would be best if we ended our relationship"
- "I am not comfortable staying together knowing that we are on two very different paths"
- "I have not been feeling fully satisfied in this relationship and think it would be best if we broke up"
- "In thinking about our future, I don't think we are compatible in the long run"
- "I don't feel the same way about you as I used to"
- "This relationship isn't fulfilling my needs anymore"
- "I don't feel right continuing a relationship that I can't see making it long term."
- "I am feeling hurt by many incidents that have occurred throughout our relationship and think it would be best to move on"
- "I don't think our relationship is healthy for me to continue being a part of and think we should break up"
- "I am having a difficult time communicating my needs to you, and think it would be best to work on myself"
- "I do not feel confident in our relationship succeeding going forward"
- "I no longer feel happy in our relationship and think we should break up".
What are Bad Reasons to Break Up?
Before you consider a breakup in your relationship, you should ensure that you're making such a decision for the right reason. It's inappropriate to break up because of the following reasons:
- Petty irritations
- Due to infrequent unhappiness
- Differences in what both of you like
- Attraction to other people
- Inordinate feelings
- Fear of commitment
- The Honeymoon Phase Is Over.
How Do you Know if a Girl is not Happy with her Boyfriend?
It will be obvious if a girl in an unhappy relationship with her boyfriend. This is because many things will change about her. The following are some of the apparent signs:
- She will develop a new obsession
- Her boyfriend and she don't spend much time together
- She gets angry easily at him
- She gives him the silent treatment
- She prefers cutting a conversation short
- She cheats on him
- She calls her ex again
- She complains all the time
- She's distant physically from him
- She detests his presence
- She leaves fight unresolved.
What is a Dead End Relationship?
A dead-end relationship is a relationship with no possibility of moving forward. If you find yourself in a dead-end relationship, you will be facing issues that make you feel stuck. To feel stuck in a relationship implies that there is no progress or any significant achievement that indicates moving forward. Your life and passion be affected if lose confidence, trust, values, and vision in your relationship.
Can a Relationship Work Without Love?
Love is a powerful sensation that brings two individuals together. This implies that the foundation of a good relationship is love. So, when love is not present in a relationship, it will be difficult for you or both of you to live your best life in the relationship.
Do you Forgive a Cheater?
Forgiving someone for cheating on you may be hard but there are benefits that come with it if it's done wholeheartedly. You will tend to feel bitter and angry when discovered, but forgiveness provides a way to move on. Forgiveness helps to rebuild shattered trust, frees you of mental exhaustion, makes you free and healthy. If you find it difficult to forgive, try to find a marriage and family therapist.
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