Many of us plod along in our relationships without considering whether we’re actually happy or not.
Those of us whose relationships alternate between stressful and repetitive may simply be maintaining the status quo, rather than taking the time to determine whether we feel supported, respected, or even fulfilled.
Consider the 18 questions below to determine whether you’re happy in your current relationship.
By the time you go through them all, you’ll have a solid idea about what’s working well, and what needs sorting out.
Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you figure out how you truly feel about your relationship and your partner. You may want to try speaking to someone via RelationshipHero.com for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.
1. When you’re apart, do you miss your partner OR feel relieved?
Some people miss their partners as soon as they’re out of sight, like when they go grocery shopping or away for a weekend.
In contrast, others finally feel able to breathe freely when they’re alone because they have a break from the perpetual façade they put on in the name of maintaining peace and harmony.
Which do you feel applies to your partnership?
Relief when your partner isn’t around? Or eager anticipation for their return?
2. Do you feel respected and cared for OR are your needs and feelings ignored?
Does your partner put time and effort into ensuring that your needs are met?
Or do they place priority on their wants and preferences, implying that yours are irrelevant or even annoying?
Some people feel they always need to be available when their partner wants something, but then find there’s usually some excuse when their wants or feelings need addressing.
Their emotions are typically brushed off or ignored in favor of what their partner would rather pay attention to.
3. Do you feel like your true self with your partner OR do you hide parts of yourself?
When it comes to your behavior, do you find yourself following a particular script or guideline to avoid being mocked or reprimanded by your partner?
Or are you free to be your wild and weird self around them?
Do you fear that your partner will leave you if you act authentically? If so, how do you feel about maintaining this masquerade forever?
To quote Jim Morrison, “Most people love you for who you pretend to be, and to keep their love, you need to keep pretending, performing.”
Are you performing? Or being authentic?
4. Do conversations with your partner leave you feeling understood OR misunderstood?
Misunderstandings are inevitable throughout any relationship, but they’re usually few and far between rather than par for the course.
Do you feel that your partner truly listens to you and makes a point of understanding you?
Or do they only half-listen and don’t quite ‘get’ where you’re coming from most of the time?
Alternatively, do you find that they get upset and offended at things you say because they’re twisting your words and projecting their thoughts onto your expressions, especially if they don’t understand your sense of humor or the way you deal with discomfort?
5. Do you feel like an equal in the relationship OR is decision-making one-sided?
When it comes to decisions in your relationship or household, do both of your voices count?
Or does your partner have the final say (or veto power) in everything?
Basically, how often do you get what you would like or what you feel you need, versus them getting their way?
Do they try to coerce you into doing things the way that they want, even when you’ve expressed to them how important it is for you to do it your way?
Are you a lead character in this story, or an understudy?
Extra reading: 8 Effective Ways To Create Equality In A Relationship
6. When problems arise, do you work as a team OR is it you versus your partner?
Problems are inevitable in any relationship; it’s how we solve them that matters.
For example, if the kitchen plumbing goes wrong, do you sit down together to figure out the budget you have to work with and whether to hire a professional or not?
Or does one of you blame the other for the problem and cause a massive argument about how to fix it?
It’s important to note the nature of conflicts as well.
For example, if you find you’re in conflict with your partner, is it because they’re bringing up valid criticisms that you don’t feel like admitting, so instead you’re projecting and deflecting to save face?
7. Do you support each other through good and bad OR is the relationship dependent on good times only?
A lot of people are serial monogamists because they love the initial ‘happy high’ of new relationships.
Once the high wears off and the relationship settles into a quieter, more mundane rhythm, they think something’s wrong.
They have the misconception that happy relationships are like a lit sparkler all the time, rather than glowing embers that smolder long after the sparks have dissipated.
Others think a happy relationship is one with no conflict or discomfort, but that’s an unrealistic expectation too.
Relationships can be hard work. The ideal partner may get seriously ill or go through a personal hardship that makes them difficult to live with.
When this happens, ‘fair weather’ partners choose to move on to another, easier relationship that’s more pleasant to deal with, never considering that they may find themselves on the receiving end of abandonment if they ever fall ill or falter.
Which of these rings true for you? Do you know that you and your partner have each other’s backs no matter what? Or will things fall apart if and when times get hard?
8. Does your partner energize you OR leave you drained?
After you’ve spent time with your partner, do you feel like you’ve just gone three rounds with a tornado?
Or do you feel invigorated because they’ve inspired and recharged you?
Do you look forward to spending time with them because you know you’ll feel happy or content afterward?
Or do you dread it because you know it’ll take you hours, if not days, to recover from the amount of energy they take from you?
9. Does your partner accept you for who you are OR try to change/control you?
The best and most loving thing we can do for another person is to love and accept them exactly as they are.
In many cases, however, a person falls in love with what they consider to be their partner’s potential and they try to change them into the person they think they could or should be.
Does your partner try to control aspects of your life and try to change you into something they prefer?
Do they govern your food or clothing choices to ‘help’ you be (in their eyes) ‘the best version of yourself’?
Do you find yourself bracing for their next backhanded compliment or overt criticism when you choose what you love instead of what will make them happy?
10. Do you feel secure and stable in the relationship OR uncertain about the future?
Put simply: is your partner committed to you for who you are, for better or worse?
Or do you think they’d bolt if something were to happen to you that alters who you are right now?
For example, if you lost your job and couldn’t provide as much financially anymore, would your partner stick around? Or drop you for someone who’s making more than you?
Alternatively, if you changed physically (gained weight after pregnancy, lost your hair, became disabled somehow), would they stand by you? Or drop you in favor of the next hot creature who caught their eye?
11. Do you feel loved and cared for OR taken for granted?
Does your partner make a real effort to spend time with you, listen to you, and ask you what you need?
Or do they only seek you out when they want something?
If they need to speak to you, do they come to where you are and see if you’re busy before interrupting you? Or do they call you from other rooms and expect you to come running?
Furthermore, do they go out of their way to do nice things for you? Or simply ensure that their needs and wants are met without reciprocation?
12. Do you support each other’s dreams OR hold each other back?
When you and your partner discuss each other’s goals and dreams, do you find they’re committed to what they want to do, but that they find ways to discourage you from pursuing what you want?
And how about you to them?
For example, do they use domestic or personal reasons to convince you that your goals would disrupt family life, e.g. the kids may feel neglected if you go back to school, or emergencies may unfold if you go to the gym for an hour a day, whereas everything would be just fine if it was the other way round?
13. Does your partner respect your opinions OR are your views often dismissed?
Does your partner appreciate your insights and opinions on different matters?
Or do they scoff at them and imply you’re ridiculous for thinking and feeling this way?
Furthermore, would they be similarly contemptuous towards a stranger or someone they hold in high regard if they expressed the same opinions that you do?
Basically, do they summarily dismiss what you have to say because it’s coming from you? Or do they sincerely believe that you don’t have anything important to contribute?
14. Are you excited about your future together OR uncertain about the longevity of the relationship?
Or, in simpler terms, is your partner someone who will stand by you no matter how your life together unfolds from here on in?
Or does your relationship have a limited shelf life?
Basically, do both of you behave in a manner that reinforces the idea that you’re in it for the long run, with shared visions of your future together? Or do you envision a time in the future when you’re living different lives, with different goals and preferences?
When they talk about where they see themselves in five or 10 years, do their ideals involve you? And vice versa?
15. Do you like how your partner treats you OR wish they behaved differently?
When you think of the way your partner treats you, do you smile and feel content about it?
Or are you horrified by their behavior?
If they were to behave that way in front of other people, would you feel ashamed because of how small they make you feel? Or would you feel proud because they treat you with respect?
It’s unrealistic to expect your partner to behave like a perfect Aragorn or Claire Fraser all the time, but being treated in your preferred manner (i.e. without vulgarity or yelling at you) isn’t much to ask for.
16. Do you have open, honest communication OR are things often left unsaid?
Whether you’re expressing joy or trying to express something upsetting, do you feel that you can talk to your partner honestly and openly?
Or do you feel as though you have to walk on eggshells so they don’t fly off the handle?
And what about the other way around?
Can you express your thoughts and feelings without feeling judged? Or do you have to be very careful about what you say so they don’t question ‘what you mean by that’ or try to project a subtext/ulterior motive onto your words?
Extra reading: 18 Ways To Communicate Better In Your Relationship
17. Do you have a fulfilling intimate life OR do you often feel unsatisfied?
Sex is an important aspect in most relationships, and whether your intimate life is fulfilling or not can make or break a relationship.
Do you feel that both of your needs and wants are being met in this regard?
Or are things selfish and one-sided, with them finding excuses not to do the things that you need or want?
(Sidenote: not wanting to do something because you genuinely feel uncomfortable with it, or because it surpasses your boundaries, is not the same as making excuses.)
Does sex only happen on one partner’s terms, or are both of you comfortable with initiating?
Alternatively, if your relationship has become platonic over time, are both of you comfortable with this arrangement? Or is one of you uninterested while the other would still prefer to be sexually active?
18. Do you feel content and optimistic OR depressed and stressed?
In general, do you find your relationship to be a shelter from life’s storms?
Or do you try not to think about it too often because you’ll just get sad and upset?
When you look at your partner, do you feel love, affection, protectiveness, and gratitude that you have this amazing person in your life?
Or do you find yourself relieved when their attention isn’t on you, or wonder how things could have been if you’d chosen a different path?
If most of your responses have fallen into the ‘OR’ category, there may be some serious issues in your relationship.
Although relationships have their ups and downs, a relationship should be a source of love and support, especially when things get rough.
If you’re in a relationship where you’re constantly bracing yourself for what fresh hell might come next, you need to seriously consider your options.
If things aren’t dire, but you’re not quite ‘happy’, you may need to consider what ‘happiness’ versus ‘contentment’ means in a relationship.
There will be times when you simply aren’t happy in your relationship, but that doesn’t mean anyone is doing anything wrong per se. This ‘blah’ feeling may be caused by the inevitable monotony of long-term partnerships, or because your partner has changed over time, as we all do.
Ultimately, if the ups in your relationship outnumber the downs, you’ve got a good thing going, and your partnership probably only needs some minor adjustments to revitalize it.
Should the reverse be true, however, you’ll need to decide what steps you want to take next for the sake of your overall happiness and well-being.
Still not sure whether you are truly happy (or how happy you are) in your relationship?
Speak to an experienced relationship expert about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours.
Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a certified relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.
Too many people try to muddle through in their relationships without ever really feeling happy in it. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way to figure out how you feel and what you want to do.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.
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