Happiness is something we should strive for in every aspect of life but most importantly in our relationships. Happiness in relationships means something different to everyone; a kiss before work every morning or adventures to new places but are we compromising this happiness by second guessing how we’re really feeling?
I’ve heard the phrase ‘I’m happy but could be happier’ bounced around a lot recently; constantly repeated by the contestants on Love Island and scrutinized on Twitter. It’s pretty self-explanatory but the phrase implies you’re not content with your current relationship and are always searching for more. It’s like the proverb ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’. As a society, we’re always looking for the next target to hit, the next fashion fad to invest in, the next social media craze and sadly – our next relationship.
Is the grass really greener on the other side? Should we really speculate about what could be? Obviously, you don’t know until you try but 21st Century relationships are bearing the brunt of this attitude. We’ve turned into frivolous, indecisive commitment-phobes who can’t be bothered to fight for our relationships.
Love Island springs to mind as a prime example. Several contestants now have ‘pied off’ their current partner for a new one in favour of being supposedly happier with someone else even though they were happy before. Everyone can be drawn away by temptation but it’s whether we choose to act on it that counts. I get that the contestants on Love Island aren’t in official relationships until they declare it so can jump from partner to partner as they choose but it’s the mentality that frustrates me.
It’s with ease that we can swipe our finger across a screen to choose a partner based on looks and a short bio. We can then keep swiping until we find someone who matches exactly what we’re looking for. We don’t know if we could have been happy with the first person that appeared on our screens because we didn’t give them a chance. Dating apps are encouraging the ‘happy but could be happier syndrome’.
In an age of new technology and the internet providing us with endless information at the click of a button, we’re just too spoilt for choice. How are we meant to settle with one person when there’s so much more out there to explore? It’s a harsh reality but mostly everything is online now and we have to find a way to adapt to it. Relationships can suffer massively because of social media platforms and the only way we can have happy and fulfilling relationships is to limit our use of these.
I am what you would call a ‘millennial’. That awful word coined to mean someone born between 1980 and 1990. We’re the group that can’t seem to settle. The new generation that have grown up with technology and been spoilt beyond belief. We’ve grown up watching reality TV programmes where couples treat each other badly and break up a few weeks later. We’ve grown up with looser rules and broken stereotypes around men and women’s roles within society. We’re now making our own rules when it comes to our relationships.
Wes on Love Island, for example, was perfectly happy with his partner Laura but all of a sudden decided to re-couple with another girl because he thought he could be happier with her. Except for a bit of arguing, there was nothing wrong with his current relationship and it baffles me that he wanted to move on. Why don’t we work at our relationships? If we gave up at the first sign of failure, we wouldn’t achieve anything in life. Wes wasn’t the only one. Jack also did this as soon as something ‘better’ came along.
I’m not just blaming men, women can’t seem to commit either. It’s almost seen as ‘cool’ to be looking for something short term. According to research, relationships are taking the strain and ending at the three year mark. Worryingly, the phrase used to be dubbed the ‘seven year itch’ so we’re only getting worse at this.
We don’t want to get married anymore, either that or we just can’t afford it. This evidently doesn’t apply to everyone as lots of young couples do get married and go on to have families which is great. It’s something most people hope is part of their future but with these toxic mentalities about not being happy enough, it’s no wonder we’re afraid to commit.
So how is this mentality affecting us and our relationships? I think lack of confidence plays a key part in why we can move on so easily. We’re afraid to admit our insecurities to others and rather than tackle problems together we’d rather just avoid them and move on. It’s so damaging for young people to see this kind of behaviour portrayed in the media and think it’s okay to replicate it in their own relationships. We have got to treat each other better.
What happened to giving people second chances? Don’t give up your current happiness in search of something else. Imagine the regret you’ll feel when you realise you left the best thing you ever had, behind.
Are there even levels of being happy? I don’t think so. When I’m happy, that’s it. There are lots of things that make me happy but I wouldn’t say one thing makes me happier than another. It’s true that you can be happier in different relationships but that’s only if your previous partner was treating you badly and you realise you weren’t really happy at all.
Trust your instincts in a relationship. If you’re truly unhappy, that is when you should start to think about moving on; not when you’re happy. Cherish the people closest to you, life is short and you never know when it could change. Most of all, revel in that happy feeling!