“My significant other makes me so happy!”
“Thanks to my significant other, I finally found happiness!”
“I’m done with my significant other, they just don’t make me happy anymore.”
“Break up with your significant other, you deserve to be happy!”
When I read or hear any variation of the above quotes, I cringe and die a little inside. Why have we become people who willingly and voluntarily allow someone else to control the state of our happiness? 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. It is nobody’s job to make you happy (unless you’re rich and can hire someone to fulfill all your needs, then by all means!). 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. It’s insane! We’ve all drank the same Kool-Aid and we’re all like, yeah, it’s cool to let someone else dictate how happy or unhappy I am without having any responsibility to myself.
YOU MAKE YOURSELF AS HAPPY OR AS UNHAPPY AS YOU WANT. Don’t put that kind of pressure on someone else. Don’t allow someone else to have dominion over how you feel on a day to day basis.
Yes, relationships are wonderful and they add so much to our lives, but they are not here in existence to provide a happiness we can’t find in ourselves. Relationships don’t fill a void or affix an emotional band-aid on your pain. Relationships aren’t the missing piece to your fulfillment. A person is not your other or better half.
You are a complete person without a relationship. Let’s say that again:
YOU ARE A COMPLETE AND WHOLE PERSON WITHOUT A RELATIONSHIP.
A man or woman is not a BFF pendant, where they have the other half of your heart. Our happiness or our wholeness is not outside of ourselves. There is no finding happiness. This is not a scavenger hunt. You feel happy. You don’t find it or lose it or attain it or buy it. You feel it, just as much as you feel sadness or anger or frustration or attraction.
Stop putting these expectations on romantic relationships. We’ve gone too far off center from the true nature of romantic relationships. And, because of this, because we don’t understand that a relationship is not meant to fulfill a gap or void or bring us happiness, we have yet to experience the gifts of what romantic love actually offers.
In a relationship, you grow. You’re attracted to someone based on how much they can allow you to grow, to understand parts of yourself you couldn’t understand without them, to experience what it’s like to be vulnerable. And through that vulnerability, you learn more about who you are; you shed layers of yourself that don’t serve you; you heal painful memories, and share and release trauma.
Relationships are about healing, are about a person who you feel so strongly attached to that you can’t help but face the types of growth moments that come up in a fight that rips you apart or during a moment so intimate you see yourself differently. You come up against your own beliefs about love and commitment and vulnerability and resolve and strength.
And a relationship, because of the intensity of feelings, presents to you your most raw and vulnerable. You get down to the heart of yourself. It’s not pretty. It’s not happy. It’s not bright and shiny. It’s not all morning sex and forehead kisses. It’s messy. And it’s painful. And it’s an identity crisis.
And it’s a mirror showing you every part of yourself you’re ashamed of, that you hate about yourself, that you wish you could hide away. It’s nakedness. It’s beautiful. And it’s miserable.
And it’s life. It’s life sped up and put right in front of your face. It’s your reflection and it forces you to choose the parts of yourself you want to keep, the parts you want to change, and the parts you need to discard so you can experience a deeper level of love with this person in front of you.
It’s not sunshine and rainbows and a constant euphoria. It’s not about breaking up because you’re no longer happy. A relationship ends when you’ve each served your purpose to each other, in terms of growth. You part ways when you’re meant to part ways, when there’s nothing more you can learn from each other, when you’ve, quite literally, grown out of each other.
And that’s what love is. Love is higher expressions of yourself. Love is expansion. Love is openness and vulnerability and rawness and nakedness. Love is facing your darkest parts of yourself. Love is being ashamed one day and liberated the next. Love is infrequently pure, unadulterated ecstasy and happiness.
And that’s okay. We’re here for more than just constant bliss. We’re here to, each day, shed layers of ourselves, be better versions of who we used to be, and to be strong and vulnerable, and to grow.