7 Hacks That Will Make You Happier In Your Relationship, According To Therapists
When you've been feeling unhappy in your relationship, it's easy to feel like things may be coming to an end. But that's not always the case. You can always turn things around if you want to. According to therapists, there are some things you can do to feel happier in your relationship again.
"In order to have a happy relationship, it needs consistent care, attention and effort," Stephanie Macadaan, LMFT, creator of The Happy Couple Plan, tells Bustle. "For some reason, most couples think their relationship should be self-regulating and just work, but that is not the case."
Therapy may not be for everyone. But getting help from a therapist can give you strategies you can use to find happiness in your relationship again. As relationship therapist Corrin Voeller, tells Bustle, "I specialize in working with people considering divorce, who are so done and fed up. But I've seen those people make changes, love their relationship, and find happiness and fulfillment once again. It helps to have guidance of a therapist."
You don't always need to find someone else in order to have a happy relationship. If you still love your partner and you do want things to work, here are some hacks that will make you happier in your relationship.
1. Initiate Change And Commit To It
If something in your relationship is making you feel stuck or unhappy, do something about it. "Go first," Voeller says. "Commit yourself to making changes, no matter what the other person is doing. If you both wait for changes, you may be waiting forever." So take the initiative and do what you can to make your relationship better.
2. Focus On What's Going Well
When your relationship isn't the picture of perfection, it's easy to focus on all the little things that you're lacking or what your partner is doing wrong. Comparing your relationship to other couples will only make you feel jealous and worse about yours. In order to bring more positivity and happiness into your relationship, stop comparing and start practicing gratitude.
"Remember that even though the couple at the table next to you at dinner looks happy, they have their own set of struggles and challenges that you don’t know anything about," Katie Ziskind, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "Focus on the things you and your partner do together that are positive, empathetic, and unique talents that set you apart from other couples."
3. Have A Life Outside Of The Relationship
In order to feel good about your relationship, it's important to feel good about your own life. "You should have your own identity outside of your significant other," LaQuista Erinna, LCSW, owner of THRIVE Behavioral Health & Consulting, LLC, tells Bustle. "Being able to enjoy life outside of the other person will give you a sense of individuality and much needed space so you're not consumed by the relationship." You'll enjoy your partner's company more when there's room for you to miss them.
4. Get Curious About Your Partner
If you believe you know everything there is to know about your partner, you don't leave room for surprises. The reality is, people change every day. So there's always new opportunities to learn about your partner's opinions, interests, likes, and dislikes. In order to feel happier in your relationship again, get excited about your partner. Get curious about them. "Put down your phone, give them your attention and repeat back what you hear them say and ask follow-up questions," Voeller says. Be open to learning new things about them every day.
5. Learn Your Partner's Triggers
Conflict has a way of sucking all the happiness out of a relationship. While it's unrealistic to avoid fighting completly, learning your partner's triggers can help you to avoid some of them. "When a hot button topic comes up, take slow breaths, swallow your usual arguments, and then listen to what they have to say," Voeller says. Arguments are inevitable, so the goal is to resolve them as quickly as possible. Knowing your partner's triggers can keep you from escalating an argument into a fight.
6. Greet Your Partner With A Hug Or A Kiss
If you live together, Voeller suggests greeting your partner with a hug or a kiss whenever they come home. "Channel your inner golden retriever and show some excitement," she says. It's a simple habit to adopt and it shows your partner that you care.
7. Get Physical
"Feel-good hormones are release when you’re touched," Voeller says. So hug, kiss, play wrestle, or cuddle. Have fun and get physical with each other. According to Voeller, "your brain, (and their’s) will start saying, 'Hey! This person makes me feel good. More of them please!'"
If you're starting to feel like your relationship doesn't make you as happy as it used to, don't worry. As long as you love your partner and you're committed to making things work, you can find lasting happiness in the relationship you're in.