Let me ask you a question:
If you had the perfect relationship, or the perfect partner for you, would you be happy, fulfilled, and content? Please take a moment now to really answer that for yourself. For most of us, the answer is “Yes!”. We were taught that a relationship, marriage, or love can make us happy.
Why you have resentment and disappointment in your relationship
If you believe that the “perfect” relationship or partner would fulfill you, yet you are in a relationship and not fulfilled, of course you are going to come to the conclusion that your relationship (or partner) must not be good enough… there must be something wrong with your relationship. In other words, you decide that your relationship is to blame for your lack of fulfillment. This makes you feel disappointed about your relationship. In addition, you will likely feel resentment towards your partner because you will believe it is their fault that you aren’t content and fulfilled in the relationship.
How to lose your resentment & disappointment
If you want to stop feeling resentment and disappointment in your relationship, you just need to take a closer look at your underlying beliefs about relationships. If you can discover that the “perfect” partner, and “perfect” relationship, couldn’t make you happy… then you could no longer blame your unhappiness on your relationship.
To put it a little differently, if we blame our lack of fulfillment on our partner, then we are essentially saying “If he did something differently, if he were perfect, I would be happy”. But, if you can see that even if he were “perfect”, you still wouldn’t be happy, then you can recognize that he is not the cause of your unhappiness.
Every time we think “He doesn’t… appreciate me enough, love me enough, compliment me enough etc”, we are really saying “If he… appreciated me enough, loved me enough, complimented me enough… I would be happy”. But, once again, if you can discover that even if he appreciated you enough, loved you enough, and complimented you enough, you still wouldn’t be happy, then you could stop blaming him and his actions for your unhappiness.
To be happy in your relationship, you have to discover that a relationship can’t make you happy
I would like to ask you the question that I asked in the beginning of this blog post again: If you had the perfect relationship, or the perfect partner for you, would you be happy, fulfilled, and content? This time, let’s look at it a little closer. To figure out whether a relationship could make us happy, the first thing we have to ask ourselves is “What makes me unhappy or unfulfilled?”. The simple answer is thoughts. Thoughts create all of our emotions, and therefore thoughts are what make us unhappy and unfulfilled.
If thoughts are the cause of our unhappiness, then if we believe “The perfect relationship would make me happy”, then we are actually believing “The perfect person has the ability to eliminate all my negative or change all my negative thoughts to positive thoughts so that I no longer feel unhappy”. But is that true?
Here are some reasons why a relationship can’t fulfill you:
1) Nobody has the power to change your negative thoughts about yourself
Did you come into your relationship with some feelings of being unlovable or unworthy, feeling ashamed about some aspects of yourself, and having some insecurities about your appearance or personality? All of these feelings are created by thoughts about yourself. These thoughts have usually been there for many years, and are generally deeply engrained. You may have thought that if you just found someone to truly love you, those feelings would go away. But, no matter how much someone loves us, and no matter how many times they tell us or show us, that is almost always not enough to convince us that we are lovable and worthy. Someone else does not have the power to change or eliminate all of our negative thoughts about ourselves… especially the ones that we believe strongly.
Question: If my partner doesn’t have the ability to make me feel loveable, worthy, and great about myself, then is it true that they are to blame for my insecurities, shame, and unworthiness?
2) Your partner can’t make everything in your life match your ideas of “perfect”
Did you come into your relationship believing that some aspects of your life aren’t good enough? Maybe you thought your job wasn’t good enough, your apartment wasn’t good enough, or you didn’t make enough money. These thoughts make you feeling lacking and insufficient, creating shame and anxiety. Now that you are in a relationship, you may have thoughts about how your house isn’t good enough, the furniture isn’t good enough, or the house isn’t clean enough. These thoughts create more feelings of lack and disappointment. No matter how wonderful your partner is, no matter how much they love, no matter how “perfect” they are, they do not have the power to change our negative thoughts about life.
Question: Do I really expect my partner to eliminate all of my negative thoughts about my circumstances and situations? Does my partner have the ability to make me stop thinking certain aspects of my life aren’t good enough? If my partner can’t eliminate my negative thoughts, can I stop blaming him for the feelings my thoughts create?
3) Your partner can’t get you to stop worrying about whether you have their love and will always have their love
Do you worry about whether your partner loves you? If you think that their love can make you happy, then you are going to think it would be “great” for them to love you and that it would be “bad” if they didn’t love you. Once you think that it would be “bad” if they don’t love, you will begin to fear that outcome and worry about it. No matter how much your partner loves, no matter how much they do to show that to you, it is impossible for you to know with absolute certainty that they actually love you. Let’s just imagine that you do know that they absolutely love you in this moment, it is impossible for you to know whether they will love you in the next moment. This means that your partner does not have the ability to make you stop thinking about whether they love you. In other words, there is nothing your partner can do to get you to stop worrying about your partner loves you and will continue to love you.
Questions: If your partner’s love seems to make me happier, wouldn’t I then begin to worry about losing their love? Can my partner get me to stop thinking about whether they love me? If not, are they really to blame for my constant worrying about whether they truly love me?
4) Your partner can’t match all of your ideas about what are the “perfect” ways to act
Do you have judgments about your partner? Maybe you think they don’t appreciate you enough, don’t buy you gifts enough, aren’t a good enough father, aren’t good enough in beg, don’t desire you enough, don’t cook enough, or aren’t around enough. When you have these thoughts, it creates a sense of lack, resentment and separation with your partner. These thoughts arise in your mind to create these emotions. No matter who your partner is, no matter how hard they try, they cannot match every single definition of “perfect” that you have in your head.
Questions: Is my partner to blame for all of the concepts of “perfect” that I have in my head? If not, then is he to blame for all of the things that I think aren’t good enough about him?
5) Your partner can’t remind you and reassure you of their love for you in every moment
When do you feel your partner’s “love”? When you think about how they love you. When do you think about how they love you? Generally when they tell you that they love you or they do something to show you that they love you. This may require a call from our lover, an email, a card, the words “I love you”, some sacrifice made for you, a favor, or just a loving look. Now, the important question, how often do they tell you or show you that they love you? Maybe a few times a day at the very most?
If you are away from someone who loves you, and you don’t hear from them or talk to them, do you feel their love? We feel loved when we think, “He loves me”. If they don’t frequently remind us of their love, or prove their love, we generally don’t feel it, no matter how much they love us. No matter what your partner does when they are with you, you will not be with them for the majority of your time in your life. That means, you will likely not be feeling your partner’s love for the vast majority of most of your days. So you will continue to have all the thoughts that create a sense of lack and unhappiness in these moments. Someone can tell us (or show us) they love us only so much.
Questions: Does my partner have the ability to make me feel loved in every moment? Do I really expect my partner to show me they love me in every moment that they are with me? Can my partner make me feel loved when they are not with me? Is it really my partner’s responsibility to constantly eliminate the thoughts that make me worry about whether I have their love?
6) Your partner can’t eliminate all of the different types of thoughts that create all of your unwanted emotions and unhappiness in life
Do you judge sometimes judge the people your life (co-workers, friends, family)? Do you sometimes get angry at people?
Questions: Does my partner have the ability to eliminate my judgments and thoughts that cause my anger?
Do you worry about what other people think (i.e. friends, family, boss, strangers)? Do you worry about what others will think of your appearance, words, and actions? Do you sometimes not do what you want because you are afraid of what other people will think (i.e. dancing etc)?
Questions: Does my partner have the ability to get me to stop worrying about what other people think?
Do you sometimes feel guilty or ashamed about your actions? Do you sometimes do things you don’t want to do? Are you sometimes unable to do things that you really want to do? Do you still have habits that you think are bad, but can’t stop them?
Questions: Does my partner have the ability to get me to stop feeling guilty or ashamed?
Do you sometimes feel restless and bored? When you are just sitting or lying down and your mind is constantly thinking, this creates the feeling of being restless or bored. Nobody else can get rid of these thoughts for you.
Questions: Does my partner have the ability to get me to stop thinking all the time?
Your relationship and partner are not to blame for your unhappiness or lack of fulfillment
If nobody has the power to change all the negative thoughts in your head, then is it really true that your lover is to blame for the thoughts which prevent you from feeling loved, whole, and happy? If not, then can you stop blaming them for your unhappiness?
If a relationship in and of itself doesn’t have the ability to make people fulfilled, then is it true that there is something “wrong” with your relationship or that your relationship is “worse” than others’ just because you are not happy? If not, then can you recognize that there is nothing to be disappointed about?
These simple recognitions can free you from a tremendous amount of resentment and disappointment.
If you want fulfillment, you have to address the thoughts that prevent you from having it
Now that you see that your partner and relationship aren’t to blame for your lack of fulfillment, you can stop trying to change your partner in order to find fulfillment. Instead, you can spend a little more time and energy addressed the actual cause of your unhappiness… your own thoughts. If you truly want fulfillment, a comparatively easy and most direct way is to identify the thoughts that make you unhappy and then question whether those thoughts are true.
Thanks for reading! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any comments or questions.