If you’re seriously involved with someone and are not feeling all that great about life, it can be difficult to determine whether the relationship is the culprit or if something else going on in your life the real reason you’re unhappy.
Ideally, you’d be able to tell the difference between misery that’s being caused by a partner and misery that’s originating elsewhere and being projected onto your relationship. It’s honestly so hard to know if you’re simply ruining an otherwise happy relationship, but emotions are complicated and confusing, so it’s not always that simple to decipher the precise source of your personal distress.
So, if you’re tempted to have the ol’ “It’s not you, it’s me” convo with your significant other, take an introspective time out, and give this some serious thought beforehand.
Here are some signs that it actually is your relationship making you’re unhappy, as opposed to something else.
1You no longer enjoy your partner’s company.
One easy way to tell if you’re relationship is the culprit is to think about how you feel when your partner isn’t around. If you breathe a huge sigh of relief whenever they leave, frequently ditch them to hang out with friends, or think about spending long periods of time without them, it could indicate some unhappiness in your relationship.
While it doesn’t always mean a breakup is on the horizon, needing space from your partner can be a sign that you’re unhappy in your relationship.
2You imagine life without your partner.
Your heart swells at the thought of a bright, fun-filled future, but your current S.O. is nowhere in those vivid fantasies of adventurous travels, celebrated career milestones, and family expansion.
If you can’t see how your partner will fit into your future plans, any lingering unhappiness could be a major indicator that you’re in a relationship with the wrong person.
3You don’t feel comfortable being yourself.
It’s possible that this scenario fits your situation: Before you met the person you thought was the right one, you were a chummy individual looking to live life to the fullest, but since you two got together, you’ve gradually morphed into a sadder, desperate version of yourself.
Maybe your partner wants you to conform to their idea of a perfect mate, or they don’t value you and criticize your decisions instead of providing support and encouraging you to be your authentic self.
Whatever the case, if you’ve felt pressured to change who you are for someone you’re dating, they could be the source of your unhappiness.
And here are signs that your relationship might not be the main problem…
4You’re never happy.
By contrast, if you spend the majority of your time feeling down in the dumps, it could be a sign that something bigger than your relationship is plaguing you, like anxiety or depression.
As psychologist Seth Meyers explained to HuffPost, being unhappy with yourself can spill over into the rest of your life, including your relationship.
“Everything is related; being depressed or angry about other parts of your life will impact your relationship in negative ways,” he says.
5Your partner notices a drastic change in your behavior.
One of the best/worst things about spending a great deal of time with one person is they get to know the real, unfiltered you. As Psychology Today puts it, your partner often serves as a mirror, helping you highlight opportunities to grow and improve yourself. On the flip side, they also know your behavioral patterns and can easily tell whether you’re in a crappy mood or if something more serious is bothering you.
If your S.O. observes that you’re not acting like yourself, and you can’t trace your behavior to anything in particular, listen to their concerns carefully — it could be a sign that something else is causing your unhappiness.
6You isolate yourself.
No matter how much you adore your partner, spending time alone is still extremely important. But if you find yourself drastically reducing the time you spend around your family, friends and your partner, it could be a red flag that you’re experiencing personal problems that need to be addressed as soon as possible so that you can be a healthy, balanced individual regardless of whether you’re coupled up or rolling solo.