Your partner isn’t responsible for your happiness

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A few days ago I wrote about how hubby and I keep our relationship going. Since posting that article, I had a few more thoughts on the subject. And in particular around relationships and happiness. Of course we all want a partner with whom we can be happy. But you can’t make your partner responsible for your happiness.

A relationship should be based on a mutual desire to make the other person happy, maybe even at the cost of your own happiness. One should go into a relationship completely selflessly. If you strive to make your partner happy – and you partner does the same, then no matter what life throws at you, your relationship will be fine.

Often we expect that in a relationship, our partner will make us happy. That is not an unreasonable expectation. We don’t particularly want to be with someone who makes us miserable. And when love is young and the relationship is in its early stages, it’s easy to coast on cloud nine and be happy. It’s easy to make each other happy.

But life isn’t easy. And the longer you stay with a person in a relationship, the more you will see their quirks. You will see their dark moods and the days in which they are depressed. Noone can be happy-go-lucky all the time and there will be days when your partner is in a bad mood and seems to try their hardest to make your life miserable.

It is in those times that you need to be selfless. It’s easy to grumble at each other in the bad times, and feel hard done by because you need to put your own needs and desires on hold for a while. But if you are not committed to cheering your partner up, to make life a little lighter for them in those dark times, then how can you expect them to do the same for you?

Hubby and I have a (sometimes nausea-inducingly) sweet relationship. We are compatible and although there are times when he drives me crazy (and I am sure, vice versa), we both want the other person to be happy. And that is why it works for us. If I had a bad day, he will make sure I can sit down and relax when I get home, and he will take care of dinner and the dishes. When he feels down and grumbles at everything, I try to lighten the mood and cheer him up, even if I sometimes want to scream because I am tired.

When I say you have to put your partner’s happiness before yours, I don’t mean that you need to completely erase your own dreams and desires. We are still all individuals with our own lives and I am not telling you to erase your own identity to serve your partner. Of course you should chase your own dreams. You should seek your own fortune and happiness so to speak. You just need to be mindful of the fact that you are in a relationship and a relationship will only work when you are both working towards a common goal.

It is also important that both parties to the relationship have this selfless attitude. It won’t work if one partner expects the other to do everything for them without treating them with the same respect, care and love. That can then quickly turn into an abusive relationship, which is the opposite of what I am advocating.

Being in a long-term, monongamous relatiosnhip is hard work. But it can also be extremely rewarding. I love the dynamic hubby and I have, and I am lucky that I have a husband who truly wants me to be happy. And the more he does for me, the more he encourages me to chase my dreams, develop certain talents and pursue the things I love, the more I want to do the same for him. He doesn’t complain when I tack on an extra weekend with friends when I have to travel for work. He happily cooks dinner and does the dishes when I have had a hard day at work. And this then encourages me to do the same for him. Not because he guilt-trips me into it, but because good deeds inspire more good deeds.

Not everyone is lucky enough to find a partner who is willing to work tirelessly at making them happy. Not everyone is cut out for a monogamous relationship. Some people are happier with a polyam relationship, or a more open one where they can have sex with strangers. And that is fine, too. There are many different forms of relationshipss that work for people, but if you are in a long-term monogamous relationship, the only way to make it a success is by working at  making the other person happy, not by making the other person responsible for your happiness.

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