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A close friend of mine who lives in Atlanta said to me during my last trip there that women sometimes don’t know how to be happy. I don’t think that statement only pertains to women because there are men in that conversation too. I asked myself that same question this week because I’m starting to think that even when everything is perfect we find ways to be unhappy in our relationships.

What does it really take to be happy in a relationship? Are we climbing in our relationships just like we do in life? Is a relationship like a career in which you’re always trying to reach another level or get a better job that will reward us in the way that we deem fitting? I’m not sure and I also think that’s not how we should view things.

We have to find a way to be happy. Happiness is the key to a great life and it seems that almost half of us aren’t happy. Roughly 50% of us will get married; roughly 50% of us will stay married. It’s awkward talking to single guys about what they want out of a partner. It seems they want perfection despite knowing that they will most likely never find it.

Happiness isn’t something you can order on Amazon and wait for it to show up three to five business days later, it’s something that requires work. But when you’re happy, you have to know when to accept it and internalize it so that it doesn’t flee like most things in life. Happiness isn’t a season and it isn’t a mood. If it feels that way, then it’s most likely best referred to as bliss.

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My struggle with the relationship and dating world right now is this impression that things will be perfect. That they won’t require an enormous amount of effort to make things work because it will. I haven’t been in a relationship since grade school that was as easy as, “I like you, you like me. We go together.” In fact, most relationships will involve all of us trying our hardest to make it work. There will be tears, frustration, arguments, distance and tribulation. That’s all part of what you sign up for when you embark on a relationship.

Does everyone feel that way too?

Sunny days wouldn’t be special if it wasn’t for rain. Joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain. Death gotta be easy cause life is hard. It’ll leave you physically, mentally, and emotionally scarred.

That’s Curtis speaking but it means a lot in the conversation.

I guess I want everyone to think about what it really requires to be happy. Are you always smiling or are you always frowning? Looking at the glass is it half empty or half full? But moreover, when it’s half of what you expect it to be are you trying to fill it or are you trying to find a glass more full? Relationships will leave you scarred in many ways. You can either look at those scars and become better for it or you can walk away and not let those scars heal.

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That’s the nature of people, we’re always chasing perfection and we will never find it. The easy way of saying it is be happy with what you have in front of you. Try to make it work, don’t be the reason why it didn’t. Be happy you have someone, a lot of people don’t have anyone. Be happy with you relationship even though it seems like crap at times. Anything you’re dealing with is probably better off dealing with when there’s a significant other than alone. Then, just maybe we might have more happy people in the world. Especially those of us who choose to seek out the companionship of another person.

Dr. J