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Unhappy Relationship: 25 Traits of Sad Love & Lies You Tell Yourself

Are you in an unhappy relationship? If you are, learn about the lies you tell yourself, the signs of a toxic partnership, and what you should do.

unhappy relationship

You fall in love for the first time in your life. You expect it to be everything like they say it is in the movies – not an unhappy relationship. You want it to be passionate, romantic, and full of joie de vivre!

But to your dismay, it ends up seeming less than perfect.

And along comes the next person you date, and the next, and they too don’t seem perfect for you.

So what do you do?

Should you just put up with a relationship that’s less than perfect because you start to believe that you can’t find anyone who’s compatible, understanding or loving?

[Read: 16 common relationship tips you hear every day that will ruin your love life]

A relationship should make you feel better about yourself. It should never weigh you down or make you feel miserable. And if you find yourself in a relationship that leaves you unhappy and tired, you’re better off being alone!

Why do we settle in unhappy relationships?

The biggest reason why we settle in unhappy relationships is that we’re too scared of experiencing the rest of our lives alone. As humans, and as social creatures, we constantly crave social, physical, and sexual intimacy all the time.

And the thought of being lonely makes us feel terrible, especially when all our friends are hitched with a seemingly perfect somebody. [Read: 12 annoying lines singles have to hear and bear all the time!]

Many relationships painfully drag themselves well past their expiration date, only because it’s so much easier to just put up with something you’re familiar with than venture out into unfamiliar territory.

After all, we love familiarity and abhor new surroundings unless we’re on a whirlwind adventure or a vacation.

The hope and fear of finding the perfect one

Just because you’re living in a bad relationship doesn’t mean you’re banished into a loveless world of unhappiness forever.

Perhaps, you’ve just not found the one yet because you’ve not been looking in the right places.

Or just maybe, you and your lover haven’t really tried to understand each other through effective communication and understanding. [Read: How to communicate in a relationship – 16 steps to a much better love life]

Remember, you’re unhappy in your relationship because you choose to remain unhappy. It’s because you choose to wipe your tears secretly and brush your misery under the carpet. 

You need to understand that you’re not a failure just because your relationship is ending or going nowhere. It just means both of you haven’t been able to understand each other, or are incompatible with each other.

And the best part here is that you have a choice, an option to seek happiness and live a happy life, or tie yourself down to a rock that you know will eventually sink to the bottom and drag you with it. [Read: 15 types of toxic relationships that’ll ruin your life]

16 lies you tell yourself when you’re settling in an unhappy relationship

It’s easy to know when you’re settling in a bad romance. All you need to do is ask yourself if you’re unhappy in your relationship, and you’ll have your answer. Use these signs to truly find out if you’re settling in a relationship that feels more like a burden than a happy escape.

And once you have your answer, try to work around the negative issues with your partner, or gather your courage to confess to them that you’re just not happy in the relationship anymore! [Read: The honest reasons why so many couples drift apart over time]

Read these excuses and signs, and if you find yourself using them often to console and convince yourself that you’re better off sticking around in an unhappy relationship, big chances are, you’re already unhappy and just too cowardly to confront your partner about it.

1. My relationship isn’t the worst

You know you’re dissatisfied and unhappy in the relationship, but you constantly convince yourself that your life isn’t so bad because there are so many others who are living through a relationship that’s much worse than yours.

2. Not the best, but good enough for me

You’re with your partner because they’re with you.

They’ve decided to stick around with you, and for you, that reason is good enough to endure the relationship, even if it means a lifetime of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. [Read: The simple steps to reignite the lost spark in any relationship]

3. I think I can work it out

You know you’re unhappy, and yet, you don’t do anything to try and fix the relationship. You and your partner are drifting apart slowly, but you convince yourself by saying that you’ve seen worse relationships working out *dragging on*, so why can’t yours work out… eventually?

4. I’m sure my partner will change someday

If your partner can’t change for you today, what makes you think your partner will change for the better tomorrow?

Why do you put up with someone who treats you disrespectfully and takes you for granted when you could have a much better life, without this person or with someone a lot better? [Read: How your self-respect affects the way your partner sees you]

5. My time will come

You stick around with your lover, in the constant hope that you may eventually run into someone better someday. And until then, you’ve decided to weather the storm and put up with your relationship *until you find the next best thing*.

6. I can deal with this

The point here isn’t whether you can deal with an unhappy relationship. The big question you need to ask yourself is why are you choosing to deal with it if you’re certain that you’re not happy with it?

Life is too short to fill it up with martyrdom and unhappiness for a lost cause, and you need to remember that. [Read: The martyr complex – How to recognize the signs of martyr syndrome in yourself]

7. I feel sad for my partner

You feel guilty for even thinking of leaving your lover and walking away from them. You feel sad for your partner and don’t want to hurt their feelings. After all, you know your partner would crumble without having you in their life. 

And so you choose to ignore them mentally, avoid having conversations with them, and just stay by yourself when you get back home. So is that really your benevolent choice, ignoring them completely instead of walking away from them? [Read: 20 signs to recognize a selfish person and steps to stop them from hurting you]

8. Time will heal everything

And just how long have you been waiting for? Time covers a scar, but it is communication that heals, especially in relationships.

If you want to fix something, you need to bring all of those feelings that drove both of you apart out in the open. And in a relationship, all this starts with communication. If you really want to heal a relationship, try talking to each other openly.

9. I’m too used to my partner 

Many of us use this excuse to endure a bad, sad and unhappy relationship. You’ve been living through a bad relationship for so long that a happy life just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. 

You believe you’re cursed into a bad relationship, and you have no choice but to endure it because you’re too used to the neglect and sadness anyway.

Doesn’t make sense? Think of all those couples who don’t have sex anymore because they’ve “lost interest” in it. Really? How do two people who hump like horny bunnies a decade ago dislike sex all of a sudden? This is conditioning, and settling in a bad relationship – nothing else *unless, of course, there’s a medical conditiona behind it*. [Read: The subtle signs of a loveless unhappy marriage]

10. I don’t want to be alone

You’re terrified of being alone. What if you break up and don’t find someone else? What if it turns into the proverbial case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire? 

This is something you need to ask yourself. Just how unhappy are you right now in your relationship? And would you rather be alone and happy, or would you choose to live through a bad and unhappy relationship with your head full of “what ifs…”

11. The sex is great

The sex is awesome, but the relationship sucks. If you’re experiencing this tricky issue, the relationship is probably still new and fresh, which makes it easier to walk away from. 

Now you really need to ask yourself if you’re looking at the relationship keeping the long term in mind. Would you be happy with someone who’s emotionally incompatible with you? [Read: Lust vs love – 21 signs to know exactly what you feel for each other]

12. What about our children/commitments/dreams? 

You’re dealing with them right now, and you’ll learn to deal with them even if you decide to split with your partner.

Remember, your kids aren’t as naïve as you may think, and big chances are, they’re already negatively affected by the way you and your spouse argue or treat each other.

13. I’m already married/engaged/committed

So, you’ve taken a plunge, and now you’ve got cold feet, or perhaps realization has hit you finally. You can’t delay the inevitable forever. And it’s better to confront the issue today than push it away for later.

Talk about your differences and your thoughts with your partner, and fix the relationship or walk away. [Read: The right way to let go of a relationship that’s bad for you]

14. A relationship is all about compromises

In a bad, unhappy relationship, the word compromise is definitely a misnomer. A relationship does involve compromises, but it involves compromises that are done willingly for each other, by both lovers. 

If you find yourself giving all the time, and see that your partner does all the taking, it’s only a matter of time before you start feeling used in the relationship. [Read: 19 signs of a taker in a relationship – Are you a giver or taker?]

15. I’m financially dependent on my partner

This is tricky, because you may need your partner for your financial means. But it’s also unethical because you’re using your partner for your own selfish means. 

If you don’t love your partner, you need to tell them that the relationship isn’t working out and that you need to leave. Find a way to sort your financial issues, and in the future always make sure you have some money saved up for an emergency like this one. [Read: 14 spirited steps to be independent in a relationship and love better]

16. I can’t see my partner with someone else if we break up

Then you need to learn to avoid your partner! If the only reason you’re still dating someone is that you can’t bear the thought of seeing them with someone else, it shows just how madly you’re in love with them, and yet, just how badly they’re treating you. [Read: Why you should never make your partner your priority when you’re only an option to them]

There’s nothing you can do to fix a relationship with someone who chooses to take you for granted. The best you can do is find ways to block them from your life when they turn into your ex. [Read: Power trip – Is the psychology of blocking someone more about your own ego?]

What makes an unhappy relationship?

If you are still not sure if you’re in an unhappy relationship, then look for these signs that you are. [Read: What is a toxic relationship? 16 signs to recognize it and get out]

1. Fighting

No one likes to fight, but it’s inevitable when you have two or more people together. Conflict in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad, it’s how you handle it that matters. 

If you yell, scream, and name-call at each other, then that is toxic. That’s now how you should work through problems. Instead, you should see yourself as a team and work together toward solutions. You should also stay calm and rational. [Read: Are relationship fights normal? 15 signs you two fight way too often]

2. Lack of intimacy

Intimacy is vital to a happy romantic relationship. And by intimacy, we mean both physical and emotional. Physical intimacy goes beyond sex, although that is a huge component. It also includes hand-holding, cuddling, and hugs. [Read: A lack of affection and intimacy in a relationship – is it time to walk away?]

Emotional intimacy happens when you talk to each other. Talking about your hopes, dreams, fear, and insecurities are things that create closeness between people. When a couple lacks emotional intimacy, they drift apart and the relationship becomes unhappy.

3. Selfishness

When you are in a relationship, neither person can be selfish. Instead, there needs to be a balance. Both people need to put the other person’s needs at least equal to – if not before – their own for it to be happy. 

So, if you’re always putting your needs and desires first without considering your partner’s, then that will lead to an unhappy relationship. Give and take should be equal and reciprocal. [Read: Selfless love and 18 traits that set it apart from selfish love]

4. Narcissism

Narcissism is an extreme form of selfishness. A narcissist is only concerned with their own needs and they try to make the other person feel dumb and stupid. They will gaslight you and it will probably lead to some form of abuse.

So, if there is any level of narcissism in your relationship, it will definitely be unhappy. No one can have a healthy partnership with a person who is a narcissist. It is simply impossible. [Read: 20 signs of a narcissistic relationship that’ll destroy you slowly]

5. Neglect

When people get into relationships, many times they get lazy. They stop putting effort in to make it work. But relationships are like plants – if you don’t water and feed them, they will die from neglect. So, you can’t get “comfortable.” You always need to put in the effort.

What this means is that you should have regular date nights, long conversations, emotional and physical intimacy. All of this takes work, but it’s worth it.

You can’t just play video games or watch TV 24/7 and ignore your partner if you want to have a happy relationship. [Read: 24 sad signs and consequences of emotional neglect in a relationship]

6. Finances

How people handle money can be a huge factor in how happy or unhappy a relationship is. Many people live paycheck to paycheck. So, if you’re in a relationship where one of you is a spender and the other one is a saver, this is going to create a lot of problems.

When two people are not on the same page about how their money is spent, it will cause a lot of fighting and stress. The spender could get the couple into a lot of debt and might have to declare bankruptcy. This stress on the relationship can become toxic. [Read: How to talk about money to your partner without fighting about it]

7. Cheating

In a monogamous relationship, there is no room for cheating. That’s the whole point of being in a committed partnership – to be with one person.

So, when one or both people are stepping out of the relationship and having an affair with someone else behind each other’s backs, that definitely leads to an unhappy relationship.

Cheating is more difficult to define these days, too. You have emotional cheating and micro-cheating which blur the lines of acceptability. But if you or your partner is hiding something from the other one, then this is not healthy for the relationship. [Read: Micro-cheating – What it is and signs you’re unintentionally doing it]

8. Lying

Just as cheating is unacceptable, so is lying. Any type of lie is a betrayal to your partner. But if it becomes chronic, then it is even more toxic to the relationship. Even “lying by omission” is considered detrimental to the couple.

Even if it’s just a little white lie, you can still get caught. Lies always come out at some point. No one can suppress a lie forever. And then when you see the lies, then trust is broken. Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship, so if it’s gone, then it will definitely turn toxic. [Read: Lying in a relationship – 15 steps to confront a lie and heal the love]

9. Abuse

Abuse isn’t just physical like beating and hitting a person. There is also emotional and mental abuse that can happen. What that means is that if one of the partners is telling the other one how horrible they are and they hate them, that is abuse. Name-calling and degrading them is wildly unacceptable.

Usually, emotional and mental abuse comes first in an unhappy relationship. Then, the physical abuse comes later. It’s a progression that could happen slowly or quickly.

However, all forms of abuse are absolute deal breakers in a relationship. So, if you’re experiencing this, then you definitely have an unhappy relationship. [Read: 21 big signs of emotional abuse you may be ignoring right now]

Are you settling in an unhappy relationship with any of these excuses?

The easiest way to know if you’re settling in a relationship is by asking yourself if you’re unhappy in your relationship.

It may seem selfish, especially if your partner seems like the ideal partner everyone looks for. But at the end of the day, all that matters is whether both of you are compatible with each other.

Sometimes, two perfect people can’t come together and create a perfect relationship because there’s more to love than just perfection. In fact, both of you may be happier and better off with chipped edges as long as both of you fit together perfectly like two adjacent pieces of a jigsaw puzzle! [Read: The 20 kinds of lovers that exist in the world]

It’s scary to confront an issue like an unhappy relationship or marriage, especially when you can’t predict a happy ending as an outcome of your conversation.

But confronting the issue can at least give both of you a chance to seek happiness. The confrontation may help both of you understand each other better and love each other better. Or in the worst-case scenario, it may end your relationship and force you to start a new life with new hopes and new dreams.

And really, just how bad can a second chance for a new happy life be?!

[Read: The last effort to try and fix a relationship that’s falling apart]

Settling in an unhappy relationship may seem like the easy thing to do. But unless you fix it or decide to walk out soon, you’ll always live in regret. And one day, it may be too late to turn back time however much you want to.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...