I spent an enormous amount of my twenties and thirties swimming in the dating pools of NYC and L.A., asking myself some version of the question “Maybe I’d be happier with someone else?”
At the time, I didn’t even realize that’s what I was asking myself.
Instead, I wondered if maybe I shouldn’t be dating someone who read the same books as me. Or maybe my future husband should be earning more money than the guy I was currently seeing. Maybe I needed a guy who cared about things like … essential oils. (This is much more common in Los Angeles than you’d think!)
If you’ve found yourself looking at the perfectly-nice-but-not-perfect person you’re dating and asking yourself this question, please keep reading.
Why you’re wondering if you’d be happier with someone else-
First, let’s start with a “fact,” let’s call it. The answer to this question starts with you. I know you likely came here wanting information about the other person, but the fact is, the answer to this question begins and ends with you.
Does that mean that the other person isn’t a factor in this? Not at all. But in order to answer this question in a meaningful, long lasting, sustainable way, you need to start with you.
Start by asking yourself this question: What is it–the deep down, kernel of truth within yourself–that is making you ask this question? Be honest with yourself. There are many possibilities here:
- You could be thinking this because the person just isn’t acting or thinking the way you would like him or her to act–and that frankly annoys and even angers you.
- Or, perhaps the person has done something in the past that you just can’t get past. You just can’t stop thinking about that one “mistake” on their part.
- Or, the person has changed in a not-so-good way in your opinion. This could be in the looks department, or it could be in the behavior department.*
*(An important side note: If the person’s behavior has become violent or hurtful, either physically, verbally, or both, I urge you to extricate yourself as soon as possible and get to safety.)
- Or, if you’re being honest with yourself, you’re just tired of looking at the person and reacting with him or her. You’ve frankly gotten bored.
Saying any of these “truths” out loud to your partner feels callous and unfair – imagine saying to someone “I’m sick of looking at you so I’m ending this”!!
For that reason, people find easier, more diplomatic ways of breaking things off. While being gentle with your significant other when you explain why you wish to leave is advisable, you must be completely honest with yourself without sugarcoating things.
Because when you make changes, there is one common denominator that will not change: You.
If you leave, you’ll be taking you with you. And when you do this, you are taking all of the problems with you, if you don’t face them now.
What’s your part in all of this?
You need to address your part in this relationship dissatisfaction. You must take a hard look at everything and get your ish together before you make changes. Or else nothing will change.
Yes, there will be new partners, but you will find yourself in the same old cycle again. And again. And again.
So how do you get your act together and deal with all of this?
Start by admitting to yourself why you think you might be better off with someone else. The true answer here will be very telling.
Some common if-you’re-being-really-honest answers
- I want to be with someone who makes more money because I feel concerned about my own earning capabilities and wisdom with money
- I want to be with someone who has a more “impressive” job because I have an impressive job and I want someone who matches me
- I put a lot of time and effort into my appearance and I want to be with someone who does the same
- My religion / spirituality is really important to me and I want to be able to share that with my partner
- Doing all the “life admin” for both of us is exhausting and I know I’d be happier with someone who’s more organized and “grown up”
- I can’t get over that thing they did; I’m not sure I’ll ever really be able to trust them. It’d be better to start over with someone new.
- I like them and respect them, but we just don’t have very much fun. It feels like our life together is just a series of tasks and lists
Once you’ve gotten really honest with yourself, ask yourself the next tough question: Is this a me problem? Or a them problem?
Is this a me or a them problem?
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.
You analyze why you want to leave your partner, and you decide that you want to leave him because he has gained weight. He’s not the slim, trim man you met and fell in love with. You want him to care about that and do something about his weight –sit ups, run a marathon–something to rectify things.
There. You’ve said it out loud. Now ask yourself this question, and be honest. Is this a them or you problem?
While it would be nice to call this a them problem, the fact of the matter is, it’s a you problem. You have become discontent with something about your partner and are trying to control–even just by wishing–what the other person does or does not do, and the outcome.
You have made your happiness in the relationship contingent on something the other person is or isn’t doing. Therefore, it’s a you problem. If you leave the relationship with this in mind looking for someone else in better physical shape, you guessed it–the same scenario may just play out again.
Of course, this scenario regarding your partner’s weight is a rather simplistic one. But it applies across the board, including if your partner has different opinions from you, and chooses to act in a different manner than you would like to see.
So, instead of wishing your way to “someone better,” I suggest taking a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror and repeating to yourself: “I cannot control anyone else but myself.”
That lesson is the lesson you need to internalize before you move on–or don’t. Either way, it’s a vital lesson to embrace in regards to how to better your mental health. And in the long run, it will show you how important it is to let others in your life be themselves, without interference from you.
You cannot change another’s behavior or way of thinking-
It’s vital for your own mental health that you realize that you cannot change another person’s behavior or thinking. At least not for too long. And you don’t actually want to! If your significant other chooses to begin eating less and exercising, that’s something that has to come from within them, because they want to do so for themselves and their own betterment.
So now the question remains. Are you willing to accept that you cannot change your partner’s behavior? (If not, are you willing to accept that this issue will continue with the next partner?)
Once you accept that you can only change your own behavior, now you can answer the question “Will I be happier with someone else?” honestly. You may find after this exercise that you still would be happier with someone else, which is fine.
On the other hand, you may find that things are actually okay with your significant other. You may discover that you just need to work on you and your acceptance of things that truly are out of your control.
P.S. If you’d like to work on your romantic life, you might like my Soulmate Code self-paced program. I regularly hear from participants that this helped them find their partner!