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Not Happy in a Relationship: 20 Signs, Why It Happens & What to Do

Relationships aren’t always easy. So, if you’re not happy in a relationship, you want to fix that. Here’s how to know that you’re unhappy and what to do.

not happy in a relationship

It may not be easy to admit, but relationships are not all rainbows and sunshine. We know there are fights and good and bad days, but can it be fixed when you are truly not happy in a relationship? Or should you move on?

A relationship should bring you happiness. Of course, life isn’t always that simple. But, should you give up because you’re not happy in a relationship or fight for the relationship?

[Read: How to tell your partner you’re unhappy and 18 steps to do it without hurting them]

How to tell if you’re not happy in a relationship even if you love them

As strange as it might sound, some people don’t know if they’re unhappy in their relationship. So, if that’s you, don’t worry. We have all the signs you need so you can figure it out.

1. You are frequently annoyed

Does everything your partner does annoy you? It could be leaving their socks on the living room floor, never helping with household chores, or just the way they chew their food.

If you find that your partner’s habits are frequently grating on your nerves, then you are most likely unhappy in your relationship.

2. You don’t feel like yourself

If you have lost sight of who you really are – or who you were before this relationship – then that’s not good.

Maybe you liked yourself more before you started dating your significant other. If so, maybe they have brought out the “worst” in you. That’s not how a healthy relationship should be. Your partner should bring out the best in you and make you a better person. [Read: Unhappy relationship – 25 traits of sad love and the lies you tell yourself]

3. You feel like you don’t spend enough time together

Maybe you feel emotionally or physically abandoned. You might even live together, but if they are always in another room or doing something else without you, then that is not good.

In a healthy relationship, people should prioritize spending quality time with each other such as going on regular date nights.

4. Your partner doesn’t care about your needs

If you feel like your significant other only cares about themselves and not you, then they are very selfish. It’s not okay if your needs are ignored.

You might have grown accustomed to it out of necessity. And maybe you’re a natural “giver” in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be happy in the relationship or have your own needs met too. [Read: 19 signs of a taker in a relationship – Are you a giver or a taker?]

5. Your sex life is less than desirable

Everyone has their own natural sex drive. But if you feel sexually deprived – or pressured to have too much sex – then that is not a good sign of a normal relationship.

The two of you should be on the same page as to the frequency and the type of sex you have. So, if you’re feeling negative about your sexual connection, then you are probably unhappy in the relationship. [Read: 21 secret signs of a bad relationship that signal a bad future ahead]

6. You feel like the relationship is one-sided

You know you have problems in your relationship, so you are constantly trying to fix things. But you are the only one who is trying.

Every time you talk to your partner about trying to make your relationship better, it falls on deaf ears. You feel like you are the only one doing any sort of work to keep the relationship alive.

7. You are fighting a lot

There is always going to be a certain level of conflict in relationships. However, it’s how you handle them that determines the health of the partnership.

So, if you feel like all you ever do is fight with your significant other, then that is draining. You will always feel on the defense and that is a toxic environment. [Read: Are relationship fights normal in love? 15 signs you’re fighting way too often]

8. You fantasize about other people

Sure, it sounds harmless to think about or fantasize about being with other people. It’s not that bad. But if you are thinking about it all the time, then that is a sign that you are not happy. You should be focused on your partner, not on other people.

9. You would be relieved if your partner broke up with you

Your relationship might not be at the point where you feel like you need to break up with your partner yet. And maybe it’s because you hate confrontation.

So, if you think you would be relieved if your partner did the “dirty work” and broke up with you first, then you are not happy in the relationship and secretly hoping for a way out already.

10. You feel trapped

If you feel like a caged bird or that you’re in a prison by being in your relationship, then that is probably one of the biggest signs that you are unhappy.

Relationships should make you feel happy, loved, and free to be yourself. You should never, ever feel trapped. [Read: Feeling trapped in a relationship? Should you stay or break free?]

If you’re not happy in a relationship, pay attention 

Some people would rather be unhappy in a relationship than be happy and single. Being alone seems to be the worst thing to some people. But in reality, being unhappy with someone is unfair to you and whoever you’re with. If you’re not happy, you’re not sharing your best self with them.

If you are not happy in a relationship, you are not opening up, enjoying yourself, or giving. The relationship is there, but if you are not happy, why are you still in it?

Are you going through a rough patch, or have things truly fizzled out? When you’re not happy, staying together and doing nothing about it doesn’t help anyone.

Ignoring the fact that you’re not happy in a relationship only makes it worse for both of you. [Read: How to let go of a relationship – 17 steps to walk away unhurt by love]

Why are you unhappy?

If you are unhappy, it may be time to leave the relationship. Whether you are in a rut, think the relationship has run its course, or just lost feelings, moving on could be the answer.

But consider outside forces. If you love this person and want to be happy in the relationship, you have to work on changing what makes you unhappy.

Are you stuck at work and feeling unfulfilled? You could be carrying that into your personal life. Are you in a rut? Maybe try new things together and communicate more.

Figuring out why you are unhappy in the first place can give you your answer for the future.

If something in another part of your life left you feeling unhappy, wouldn’t you do something about it? Why is this a relationship any different?

It can be hard to admit that your relationship isn’t working how it once did, but understanding the cause is the first step to making things better and truly finding happiness. [Read: How to fix a relationship that’s falling apart and rebuild it again]

What to do if you are not happy in a relationship

No one should have to be in a relationship where they are unhappy. It not only leaves you feeling empty and unfulfilled by your relationship, but it also leaves you open to resenting your partner, even if it is not their fault. 

When you’re not happy in a relationship, those issues don’t just disappear because you want them to. They need to be handled with patience and care for you to find happiness together or separately.

1. Talk about it

If you want to be happy, talk to your partner. Tell them you are not feeling happy. They might have some insight that you haven’t been able to face.

This could be news to them. Or it could also be how they’re feeling. If you don’t talk to each other about how you’re feeling, nothing will get resolved.

Perhaps they noticed when you started to withdraw and be unhappy. Hopefully, they’ll be willing to give you time to work on yourself or work with you to make the relationship a place you can both be happy. [Read: 15 steps to properly communicate in your relationship]

2. Figure out why

Don’t dwell by yourself. If you do, you will likely only become more unhappy and possibly blame your partner for something that isn’t even their fault.

Instead, think about all the reasons you might be unhappy. Were you happy at the beginning of the relationship? Were you happy when you were single? Are you banking your happiness on how successful your relationship is? Are you relying on your partner to make you happy? You need to figure that out to move forward.

And you can’t figure it out alone. Talking to your partner about how and when things changed can really open your eyes to where things went wrong. Working backward can help you figure out where to start. [Read: 20 ways to be happy and draw your happiness from within]

3. Change things

Once you figure out the cause of feeling not happy in a relationship, it is time to change what you can. If you have resentment toward your partner, talk to them. See if there is something they can do to help. Or maybe you need to reflect on things yourself. 

No matter why you’re unhappy, nothing will change if you don’t try to fix it. If you don’t have enough time together, make that time.

Reprioritize. And be sure you are working together. If only one of you is putting forth the effort, it will only make things worse. [Read: 30 signs of a one-sided relationship and how to fix it before it ends]

4. Take a break

To become happy in your relationship, you may have to take a step back to analyze it better. Inform your partner that you are struggling and need some space. Make sure they know you still care and don’t want to break up but need some time alone to sit with your feelings.

This can be a hard conversation to have, but if that is what you need to start being happy, you should do it. And hopefully, your partner will understand and accept that. Taking time apart can offer you the perspective you both need to find clarity. [Read: Relationship break – 41 rules to taking a break and how to plan for it]

5. Work on you

Focus on yourself. Maybe you feel you’re being taken for granted. Pamper yourself. Maybe you are defining your happiness on the state of your relationship. Be independent.

You are your own person outside of your relationship. Focus on that before anything else.

A relationship should add to your life, not absorb it. Be sure you are putting yourself first. Sometimes your unhappiness in a relationship is due to your unhappiness outside the relationship.

6. Don’t place blame

If you feel like you are not happy in the relationship, try not to blame your partner. That can lead to empty fights, anger, and regret. Instead, take responsibility for yourself. Most often, your feelings are not as affected by other people as you think.

Blaming your partner for your unhappiness will only make things worse for your relationship and you. Try to share how you’re feeling with your partner. Don’t accuse them of making you feel a certain way. [Read: Why playing the victim only makes your life much, much worse]

7. Take responsibility

Think about what you may be doing to feed your own unhappiness. Are you dwelling on it? Are you doing anything to be happier? A relationship is a two-way street. You are a team.

To make the relationship a happy place, you both need to share this burden and work to make it better together. You both will always have things you need to work on as a couple and separately. Be sure you are taking accountability for those things.

8. Go to therapy

Whether you go with your partner or alone, this may be the most useful and successful way to find happiness. A therapist can help you make your way through your unhappiness. They can help you figure out the cause of it and guide you into making more beneficial choices. 

Admitting you need outside help is not defeat. It is taking control of your life and happiness. This can even help you figure out if your unhappiness is due to your relationship at all. [Read: 10 signs you and your partner should go to counseling]

9. Break up

If there is no answer and you’ve tried to fix things, it may be time to move on. You may not be able to put your finger on what is off, but you will feel a wave of relief as soon as it ends. And sometimes, that is just what’s needed.

Not every relationship will be the right one. So, make the choice best for you.

But be honest with your partner. Tell them that there isn’t anything you can specify, but you haven’t been happy in a while, and it just doesn’t feel right anymore. We can’t promise they will take it well, but this may be what you need to be happy. [Read: 10 reasons why you feel relief after breaking up]

10. Take your time to be happy alone

If you feel better after the breakup, congratulations. If not, you need to take some time to be single. Don’t jump into another relationship thinking it will make you happy. Sometimes what you think you need is the exact opposite of what you think will make you happy.

It is near impossible to be happy in a relationship if you can’t be happy on your own. You want to share yourself with someone special. But if you aren’t happy before that, you are only sharing your unhappiness with them, which isn’t good for anyone.

[Read: How to be happy yourself – 20 habits of incredibly happy people]

When you are not happy in a relationship, it sucks. Figure out what is right for you, and you can finally start being happy.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...