The elusive happiness: an end goal to pursue, or a daily lifestyle choice? I guess the question in that case is, what makes you happy? And can you be happy all of the time? I don’t have answers to either of these, but they’ve got my thought muscles flexing. In particular I’d like to know how happy you should be in a relationship, or rather, how a relationship should affect your overall happiness.
I hadn’t really considered this until I experienced more than once a mentality I don’t understand. Both a long term ex-boyfriend and the guy I’m currently ~seeing~ expect me to be happy one hundred per cent of the time and blame themselves if I’m not, regardless of the reason. Whether I’m stressed about the fact that I have a deadline in under 24 hours and as per usual, didn’t manage my time effectively and the pressure is on. Whether I’m expressing worry over having very few hours at work and how little money I’ll have come payday. Whether I’ve just started taking a new pill and the hormonal adjustment isn’t leaving me feeling too fabulous… it’s irrelevant.
I explicitly do not blame them and do not take it out on them, merely voice my concerns or excuse the fact that I don’t have as much free time to talk or hang out as I’d like to. Regardless, they believe that because I have them (not at the same time, I might add) and things are going well, I should be happy. My unhappiness is making them unhappy, proving that they don’t make me happy, so in fact there must be a fatal flaw in the relationship.
To me this is nonsense; they are not and should not feel responsible for my happiness. Having cute dates and a guy who’s into me is wonderful, but it doesn’t transcend every other aspect of my life.
In that case, are they being unreasonable, or am I? Should I be happy, even if I have worries? Am I too negative by letting things affect me? Are they too sensitive for taking my worries upon themselves too much? I attempted a Google search, and it wasn’t as fruitful as I’d hoped. The results pages are flooded with articles about happy relationships, with only one on a relationship’s bearing on overall happiness.
As Jamie Varon, writer for Thought Catalog put it:
“We’ve collectively accepted that it’s totally fine to give someone else the remote control to our emotional state. A relationship is not meant to make you happy. To put an expectation on someone else that their commitment to you is a commitment to keep you in a constant state of happiness, is fucking lunacy.”
Agreed. So why are people taking that commitment upon themselves? A significant other should be there to support, advise, encourage or distract through unhappy times, but I’ve never considered a partner and my happiness to be inextricably tied to one another.
We’re autonomous beings with complex lives, and we need to recognise that if we’re not making ourselves happy, no-one else will.