Perhaps you've recently come to the realization that something is off in your relationship, or maybe you've had a sense of discontent for a while now. Either way, the feeling of being unhappy in a relationship can be confusing, disheartening, and even frightening. You may be wondering if your relationship can be salvaged or if it's time to move on. Fortunately, we've compiled advice from couples' therapists to help you identify the signs of an unhappy relationship and guide you on what to do next if you find yourself in this situation.
Recognizing an Unhappy Relationship
1. Trusting Your Gut
"I think we know when we're unhappy," says Jessa Zimmerman, M.A., a licensed couples' counselor and sex therapist in Seattle. Since happiness is an emotion that we all have experienced, we can easily recognize its absence as sadness, frustration, stress, apathy, or boredom. The bottom line is that something doesn't feel right.
Remember that whether or not your relationship is "wrong," your emotional distress is what matters most. Even if you still love your partner and there is nothing "technically" wrong with your relationship, you can still be unhappy.
2. Feeling Unsafe
It's hard to be happy in a relationship if you don't feel safe. Kiaundra Jackson, a licensed marriage therapist, emphasizes the importance of checking in on the basics to determine whether you're unhappy. Feeling unsafe physically or emotionally is a sign that your relationship is unhealthy and toxic. "If you do not feel safe, if this is a safety issue, meaning you are physically or emotionally being abused, this is a sure sign that the relationship is toxic and unhealthy," she says.
3. Lack of Desire to Spend Time Together
According to Zimmerman, one indication of relationship unhappiness is when you no longer want to be around your partner or engage with them in the way you used to. You may feel comfortable being around them because of familiarity, but their company doesn't bring you joy. Sometimes, you may even prefer to avoid them entirely, breathing a sigh of relief when you get time away from them.
4. Decreased Interest in Sex
Sex in long-term relationships can go through different phases, and it's normal to not want to have sex sometimes. However, if your interest in sex with your partner has drastically decreased to the point of feeling repulsed, it can be a sign that something has changed internally.
5. Losing Yourself
Feeling like you're losing yourself is an important sign of unhappiness in a relationship. According to Jackson, this means that you're drained and no longer recognize yourself because your partner has demanded so much from you. Giving up your wants, needs, goals, desires, passions, and hobbies for the relationship or for children can lead to a loss of identity.
In a healthy and happy relationship, you shouldn't have to give up the things that make you who you are or the things that make you feel alive.
1. Identify the problem.
Take some time to reflect on your relationship and identify any concerning situations, moments, or missing elements that may be causing you to feel unhappy. According to Jackson, you should reflect on recent events and identify any situations or behaviors that have contributed to your dissatisfaction.
2. Communicate with your partner.
Approach your partner with a non-judgmental and collaborative attitude, and discuss your concerns in a constructive manner. Instead of blaming your partner, focus on finding solutions together. Ask for what you need to feel happier, and seek their input on how you can work together to improve the relationship.
3. Look for lasting change.
Real change takes time and effort from both partners. Keep an eye out for changes in your partner's behavior that demonstrate their commitment to meeting your needs and improving the relationship. This could include attending therapy, making an effort to avoid past conflicts, or working to address childhood traumas.
4. Take responsibility.
Taking accountability for your actions and owning up to any mistakes can be an attractive quality in a partner. Recognize and apologize for your part in any issues that have arisen in the relationship.
5. Seek professional help.
Consider going to therapy, either individually or as a couple. A therapist can provide guidance and support as you work through your issues and develop strategies for a healthier relationship.
Inevitably, there will be times when one experiences short-lived periods of unhappiness in a relationship. As time progresses, people and their needs change, and even the strongest of relationships can be shaken by the storms of life. However, one should not accept ongoing unhappiness as the norm. Everyone deserves to be happy, and our partners have a significant impact on our daily lives. Zimmerman says that if both people in a relationship aren't happy, even after trying to make changes, it's okay to let go and look for happiness elsewhere.
Remember: trust and transparency are vital components of a healthy relationship. If you suspect that your partner may be betraying your trust, iFindCheaters offers reliable and anonymous solutions to help you uncover the truth and take control of your relationship. Our range of products includes discreet background checks, social media investigations, and tools to find a cheater, giving you the peace of mind you need to move forward. Safeguard your relationship and restore your trust with iFindCheaters.