When you find your heart's companion, some next level happiness happens. Birds help you get dressed in the morning. Sunsets happen at all times of the day or night. And you might even feel that magical sense that your life is complete. But that's only partially true. Because there are some kinds of happiness you can't get from a relationship, no matter how happy it is. And this has nothing to do with flaws in your love, but everything to do with the fact that you're your own, independent person. Even if you share your life with someone else, you're still you, and still responsible for your own happiness.
When you expect to get all of your happiness from your relationship, some bad things happen. First, disappointment. No one person can meet all your needs, especially when some of the needs you have are your own responsibility. Second, welcome to Resentment Town, population: you. And before you know it, you'll be talking to a relationships expert like the couples who came in for advice when I worked as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator. And I'll be spouting lines like "relationships should enhance your life, not complete them." And you'll know I'm right, even if you don't want me to be. And then you'll check out this list to see what other kinds of happiness you're trying to get from your relationship that you should be getting from yourself.
1. Career Happiness
You partner can't look longingly into your eyes and land you a corner office. They can't buy you flowers that magically finish all your paperwork. Even if your career is running a household and caring for a family, your partner can't make you experience the satisfaction of knowing you nailed it. We all have goals related to how we want to spend the bulk of our days, and it's up to us to get happy with those goals.
2. Friendship Happiness
Your partner can be your best friend. In fact, I hope that's true for you. There's nothing better than having a partner who is a real ride or die bestie. But your partner can't (and shouldn't) be the sole source of all your friendship happiness. I mean, who are you going to vent to when your partner is getting on your last dang nerve? You have to have other friends and you gotta keep nurturing relationships with your family. This is a source of happiness you can tap no matter what relationship you are (or aren't) in.
3. Character Happiness
Do you like yourself? Do you like your morals and values, your kindness, and your character in general? If you're not happy with yourself and who you are as a person, that's not going to magically change when you meet someone. A big part of life is self-discovery, learning, and growth. You have to become the person you want to be, and that person shouldn't change drastically when you're in a relationship.
4. Spiritual Happiness
Your soul (or lack thereof) is yours. Some people get into relationships, and together they help each other strengthen their faiths. But ultimately, whether you're down for Jesus, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, or your local circle of friendly atheists, you're the only one who has to answer to your maker (or yourself). You have to come to your own conclusions and form your own beliefs. A relationship won't fulfill that for you.
5. Body Happiness
You partner can tell you how beautiful you are three million times per day, but they can't make you believe it. We all have our body stuff. But we're all also responsible for coming to terms with that body stuff in a healthy way, and in our own way. So if you haven't yet been able to accept that your body in bangin', then getting into a relationship isn't going to magically make that happen. It can help, sure, but the real work is all you.
6. Sexual Happiness
Having a partner isn't the key to sexual happiness. I know, I know. You're probably like, "What the what is she even talking about?" Let me explain. A partner can have sex with you, sure. But your sexuality is inherently yours. You've been a sexual being since the womb. Sex is tied to your confidence, your health, your gender identity, your spirituality, your physical ability, and more. Developing all of those things may happen with a partner, but they can't come from a paper. The majority of your sexual satisfaction will come from within. Plus, let's face it, you've probably had some pretty hot solo sex.
7. Creative Happiness
Human beings are creative. Sure, some of us are writers and artists, but there are a lot of ways to express creativity. The way you dress. The way you decorate your home. They way you cook a meal. We all have that need to experience beauty or to create it for ourselves. This is a need that can't simply be filled by falling in love. Once you get into a relationship, you might focus your creativity on your partner, but it's still yours to curate and cultivate.
If you don't have these types of happiness in check, they won't fall into place just because you meet someone who makes your heart flutter. You still have to do the work of doing you.
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