Dispelling the Myth That a Relationship Will Make You Happy

Myths of being in a relationship

You tell yourself, “Maybe if you just find someone, then everything will make sense, and the relationship will make you happy.”

“I need to find my person first, then I can truly enjoy my life.”

“How can I be happy if I haven’t found my partner yet?”

“I’m really happy with where I am in my life, I just know that I also need to get into a relationship soon so that I can feel complete.”

Nearly everyone, no matter how independent, confident, or happy with their life, has thought or said some version of these four sentences to themselves before. 

No matter which of these sentences you’ve said out loud or believed in your head at some point, it’s good to know that you’re not alone in having these thoughts and fears and that nearly every person who has ever been single or struggled with singleness has felt something very similar to these feelings. 

Even though singleness is great, and there are a number of people who are more than happy to stay single all of their lives and avoid the mess and drama that often comes from relationships, those people are few and far between. 

As a whole, society has made being in a relationship not just a gift and something special that might or might not be something that everyone wants, but relationships now seem to be standard, and checkmarks people have to make in order to advance to the next level of life and finally feel fulfilled and happy. Or at least, that’s what all of the pressure and anxiety that surrounds the world of dating makes it feel like. Many people tend to take what was once designed to be fun and casual and make it into a sort of task that everyone needs to complete in order to feel satisfied. 

But is it really true that being in a relationship will make you happy and make you feel complete? Or is that just another myth that people have made up in order to trick young, gullible lovers into jumping into relationships willy-nilly? 

Questioning the Value of Relationships versus Singleness

What happened to the old adage of not being able to love anyone until you love yourself fully? Or what about all of the valuable life lessons that so many people say you can only learn when you’re single, alone, and have the time and space to process your life? Is singleness this curse that we need to actively try to shake off and run from? Is it truly better to be in a relationship with anyone than to be single and alone? 

All of these questions lead us to ask the biggest question of all: In order to feel truly happy with your life and about your circumstances, do you need to be in a relationship? 

As someone who believed for the longest time that my life’s goal was to find someone, fall in love with them, and settle down, I know that it’s tempting to give in to that belief. Not to mention, there are a lot of people who also hold fast and firm to the idea that finding someone with whom to share your life ought to be everyone’s end goal in life. 

couple hugging

But what if we put an end to that belief right now and accepted that people can be just as, if not much more, happy when they’re single as those who are in a relationship? 

If you’re finding yourself stuck in the viscous mind cycle of debating whether or not a relationship would make you happy or not, consider this article your free therapy session. 

Today, we want to discuss the myth of why people believe that being in a relationship will make them happier and improve their lives and if that myth and long-held belief have any factual grounding. 

Of course, as is the case with almost every subject when it comes to love, we don’t speak for everyone, and there is no real way to gauge where everyone is mentally and emotionally. In general, there are many people whose lives would benefit from adding a significant other into the mix, while others might benefit greatly from spending some time alone in singleness and getting to know themselves better. 

All this being said, here are some reasons why we believe that getting into a relationship won’t make you happy, but instead, what you can do in your life to bring in that joy for yourself. 

Can a Relationship Make You Happy?

Although we hate to admit it, the old cliche might actually be true.

If you’re not happy when you’re on your own and you genuinely aren’t happy with how your life is panning out or what your days look like, adding another person to your life and being in a relationship with someone isn’t going to make you happier. 

In fact, if you start a relationship with the hope and expectation that the person you’re dating will bring you joy and then it doesn’t pan out, that might bring you more sorrow than anything else. 

There are a number of reasons why being in a relationship won’t automatically make you happier or bring you the joy that you might be looking for in life. 

couple smiling and talking

personality traits

Relationships Don’t Magically Transfer Traits to You

Does anyone else remember those old math word problems that we would get in our textbooks? The ones that said, ‘Sally has five watermelons, and Fred has ten cumquats. How many cumquats does Sally have?”

Dating and being in a relationship is a lot like this word problem. 

If you’re entering into a relationship wanting to find something that you don’t have yourself, you’re not going to magically receive it. Even though there are people who can vastly improve your life and your outlook on a number of things, there is a lot to be said about why opposites attract and just how much you can learn from your partner; being in a relationship with someone won’t change how you view or go about your life. 

At the end of the day, adding someone else into your life and relying on them to bring you happiness and joy won’t actually work out to your benefit. Instead, it will more than likely leave you feeling disappointed and sadder than you were to begin with. 

Instead of entering into a relationship hoping that whatever or whomever you find will bring you happiness and make you feel as though your life is complete, enter into a relationship being open and willing to learn any lesson that your partner might teach you, but don’t assume that adding someone to the mix will magically give you what you want out of life. 


therapist

Your Partner isn’t Your Therapist

If you’re anything like me, you might have slipped up a few times in your relationship and assumed that your partner could help you in a bit more ways than they were actually capable of doing. 

One of the things that many people accidentally, or maybe intentionally, end up doing in their relationships is assuming that their partner is there to help them through every problem and emotional mishap that might happen in the relationship. 

And while your partner should be there to support you and love you for all of your ups and downs, they shouldn’t have to shoulder all of your emotional burdens. 

If you enter into a relationship assuming that your partner is going to be your therapist or anything other than your best friend who might still be able to help you but not necessarily in the way that you might need help, then you’re going to be extremely disappointed with the outcome and more than likely end up sadder than you were in the beginning. 

Instead, try to set realistic expectations of what you want out of your relationship and what traits you want your partner to bring to the table. Then, when you’re exploring all of your romantic prospects, you can have those hopes and ideas in mind to help guide you in picking your partner.

Also, take notice of your habits and the expectations that you might put on your partner. If you feel like you’re slipping into setting unrealistic expectations for them or you’re putting too much on their plate, you might want to take a step back, talk to your partner, and maybe the two of you work together to reset your boundaries and work out a healthy way for the two of you to go about your relationship. 

If you find yourself leaning into unhealthy habits and constantly making your partner take up more of your emotional burden than they healthily ought to, you might want to also look into exploring the reason why you’re giving them these burdens, and you’re not actively seeking out the real help that you need from actual professionals. 

It might be easier and more accessible to make your partner act as your therapist for some parts of your life, but it will do more damage than good in the long run, and you will more than likely get more help from an actual licensed professional.


couple talking

If You Feel like You Need to be in a Relationship, You Might be Forming Toxic Habits

If you’re getting into relationship after relationship in hopes of finding happiness and fulfillment, odds are, you’re not going to find the fulfillment that you want in any of the people that you’re going to, and you’re just going to get burned out looking for someone.

Also, people who are constantly discontent with their relationships but still feel as though they need to be in a relationship in order to feel happy and fulfilled usually end up getting trapped in relationships that aren’t good for them. 

Safely, toxic relationships come in cycles, and it’s hard to get out of those cycles unless you’re extremely aware of what you’re doing. 

Also, if you’re relying on someone else to be someone that they shouldn’t be and make your life this magical experience that brings you joy and happiness, you’re more than likely going to draw them into a toxic relationship where you’re relying on the other person and the power that they might bring more than you ought to. 

This is one of the many reasons that we implore people who are about to get into relationships with other people to have open and honest conversations with their perspective partners about what they want and expect in a relationship and how both parties can fulfill those expectations without bulldozing through their own boundaries. 

It’s also good to note that just because something is healthy for you and might be something that you are okay with, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those elements are something that your partner is okay with as well. 

This is why honesty and being completely open about what you need out of your potential relationship is extremely important for everyone to go through. 

Instead of spending your time searching for someone who you believe will complete them and be the reason and the source for their happiness, invest that time and energy into completing themselves and being your own source. 


couple fighting

Being in a Relationship with Someone Else isn’t the Kind of Relationship You Ought to Focus on

At the end of the day, you’re not sure how long a relationship will last and if every relationship that you get into will be your last one. Instead of stressing out about trying to find a good partner for however long, they’re in your life, work on the relationship that you know will be present throughout the rest of your life — your relationship with yourself. 

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they get into a new relationship is that they tend to neglect the previous relationships and commitments that they made before their relationship began. 

And while your friends and family members can call you up and tell you that you’re neglecting your relationship with them, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to have the wherewithal to notice this toxic trait in yourself and take the proper amount of time and energy that you need to in order to get back into a healthy relationship with yourself. 

One of the ways that you can tell and properly assess whether or not you’re neglecting your relationship with yourself is to question when the last time you did something by yourself and without your partner was. 

Or even if, during that time, you did something without your partner, if you spent the entire time missing them, texting them, or thinking about them. 

While it’s completely natural, normal, and even expected for you to miss your partner when you’re not with them, and feeling those feelings doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re in an unhealthy or codependent relationship with them, it’s a good thing to assess. 

And if you notice that your personal life and your alone time have been a bit taken over with the time you’re spending with your partner and your mental health is suffering from it, you might want to talk to your love and suggest that at least once a week, the two of you do something separately that feeds your individual souls. 

There is a lot of truth in the saying of people not being able to love another person when they don’t love themselves first. There’s also a lot of truth in the other saying, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup.’

No matter how healthy and fulfilling your relationship might be with your partner, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re also making a conscious effort to spend quality time with yourself and that you’re doing the things that make your soul happy so that you can be your best self in and out of the relationship. 


woman alone with blanket and phone

Although Partners Can Help You Grow, You are Going to Grow More if You’re Alone

Have you ever been confused about how to do something, you ask for help, and then the person who’s supposed to help just does it for you?

While it can be nice to have someone who will help you out from time to time and who will do the things that are a little harder for you, in general, most people like to learn how to complete these difficult tasks on their own and learn for themselves so that they can help themselves in the future. 

Relationships are very similar to this metaphor. 

One of the perks of being in a relationship is that your life becomes a two-against-the-world scenario. Suddenly, you’re not alone, and in the places where you are weak, your partner can come in and help you out. 

A lot of people not only get lazy because of this, but they also don’t grow as much in their own individual lives because of the help that their partner provides and the pressure that’s off of them. 

While it’s nice to have someone by your side who will help you fight all of your battles, it is also nice to be able to fight those battles when they come up and to be able to learn how to handle the challenges of the world on your own. 

When you’re single, and it’s just you, you might feel a bit more isolated than you would if you had someone fighting with you, but you’ll learn and grow on your own and become the independent person you need to be in order to have a healthy relationship. 

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