“There is only one person who could ever make you happy, and that person is you.”
- David Burns
This is a common complaint in romantic relationships: “He doesn’t make me happy.”
Well, of course he doesn’t. Because he can’t.
No one can “make” you happy.
You might feel happy when you’re around your partner, but it is not their job to manage your emotions. In fact, no one in your life should have the responsibility for “making” you happy. (And vice versa.)
Think of what a burden that would be, to not only have to maintain your own well-being in life, but to also take on the task of managing the happiness of someone else. No matter what you do, it would seem like it’s never enough. The other person is bound to have bad days, and it would be emotionally draining to blame yourself for their discontent.
Anyway, what we really mean when we say “he doesn’t make me happy” is one of two things:
- I don’t feel happy when I’m around him.
- I don’t make myself happy.
“I don’t feel happy when I’m around him.”
If you don’t feel happy around your romantic partner, it’s a good idea to examine why. Do you do fun things together? If not, that’s an easy one to fix. Plan a picnic at the park or a movie night. Have more sex. Are there trust issues between the two of you? If yes, seek to address them. There’s no way you can be feeling happy as you’re sneaking around to check his phone every night, looking for a text from her. Is your partner abusive (emotionally or physically) or manipulative? If so, you already know what to do. It’s time to exit the relationship NOW.
“I don’t make myself happy.”
Sometimes, we blame other people for our own lack of self-care. It can be easier to point the finger outward instead of looking inward. You may be feeling unhappy because YOU haven’t done anything for yourself in a long time. Sure, it would be nice for your partner to bring you flowers or pay for you to have a spa day, but it’s not something they are required to do. Furthermore, if you’re unhappy with your life, you can’t expect anyone to be able to come along and fix it. It’s best to go to the source and take the time to heal whatever needs to be healed right now. Just don’t place that burden on your partner. It guarantees an unhealthy relationship that will only end up making your life worse than it was in the first place.
But, isn’t that the reason we get into romantic relationships? So they can fill the lonely void within us? So they can address the unhappiness we’ve felt for so long, wondering if we’d ever find “the one?” Um…NO. Although, a lot of women seem to believe this. In a way, I think we’ve even been programmed to. The Disney princess stories and all that. But when we live our lives according to this fairy tale, we set ourselves up for disappointment.
That person you think will never let you down? They will. The one you said you would never hurt in a million years? You will. Not because they want to or because you intended to, but because we are all HUMAN.
And humans will fail you. Over and over and over again.
Then, you will begin to see that you can’t depend on other people for your own happiness. You will know the truth that at the end of the day, after all the painful yearning and bitter disappointment, you are still standing. You are still able to love and forgive.
You are still enough.
I owe this powerful life lesson to one of the books that completely changed how I approach my relationships, especially romantic ones: Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie. If you seek growth in this area, I highly recommend it as a resource for your journey. Just be ready with a highlighter and some tissues, because the book goes DEEP.