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How My Relationship Changed When I Discovered My Happiness is Not Attached to My Husband
by Meaghan Johnson, Esq.
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December 26, 2019

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How My Relationship Changed When I Discovered My Happiness is Not Attached to My Husband

She thought that her happiness was her husband’s responsibility. But once she took control of her emotions, her entire life changed.

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“And they lived happily ever after.” 

These are the last words that most American children, especially little girls, hear before they go to bed.  We are conditioned at a very young age that once we find our Prince Charming, we will be happy for the rest of our lives.  Whether it was the fairy tales or the countless romantic comedies that I grew up watching, this was what I was taught as a child.  My life is not complete until I meet my partner. 

When I met my partner, I said to myself, “Yes, I have found someone who is kind, intelligent, supportive, loving, emotionally available, and wise.”  We have been together for almost 10 years, have two children and one on the way. Being with someone for almost a decade, there are so many changes that occur.  We individually changed, we changed as a couple, and now as a growing family.  

When it was just him and me, we only had to work on our relationship. When my first child was born, my focus was my relationship with my son and partner.  When my second child was born, my focus was my relationship with my partner, my first born, and my second born. Now that I am pregnant again, it just continues. 

Related: What 9 Years of Marriage Has Taught Me

After having children, we became so busy balancing all the relationship dynamics and trying to keep these little humans alive and happy that we didn’t have the time to evaluate the changes that were happening within us.

After having children, we became so busy balancing all the relationship dynamics and trying to keep these little humans alive and happy that we didn’t have the time to evaluate the changes that were happening within us.

Courtesy of Meaghan Johnson, Esq.

Before children, when my partner and I had a disagreement, we had time to discuss and get clarity of our needs and wants.  Those discussions are not so easy today. If he or I were upset, it would just have to fester because we didn’t have time to talk it out.  When I thought an issue just rolled over, the same problem would keep arising. Along with the difficulties of having newborns on a relationship, I had two extremely traumatic experiences when my children were born.  

With my first, I was bedridden for a month because of a botched epidural procedure.  My mom had to move in to help with the baby. I felt I was failing as a mom because I couldn’t provide the basic needs for my child. My partner was traveling a lot for work so I felt he didn’t understand what I was going through. When my second child was just three weeks, my first child started having seizures. He was only one at the time. My focus turned to my first child while I had a baby nurse tend to my newborn. Both occasions I was unable to care for my newborn. That first month is so crucial for bonding with your children and I missed those opportunities. I felt like a useless mom. 

I was sad, felt neglected, and blamed those feelings on my partner.

I was sad, felt neglected, and blamed those feelings on my partner. I thought it was his job to make me happy.  I hadn’t realized it at that moment, but the things that I learned as a child about what happens after you find your partner –– that he was your Prince Charming, and therefore you will live happily ever after –– translated into me setting unattainable expectations onto him.  

Related: How Postpartum Depression Sparked Brittany Giles’ Boss Moves as a Wellness Entrepreneur

Somehow, I convinced myself he was the reason I was happy, and when my feelings of sadness and neglect would arise, I believed it was something he needed to fix. It wasn’t until I began to do some inner work that I learned my feelings of sadness and neglect had absolutely nothing to do with my partner. Every relationship I have is a reflection of the relationship I have with myself. I am the only one who can make me happy and the only one that can make me sad or feel neglected. Once I began to look within, forgive, and love myself fully, everything changed.

Once I began to look within, forgive, and love myself fully, everything changed. 
That was the moment I gained control over my life. 

Courtesy of Meaghan Johnson, Esq.

That was the moment I gained control over my life. 

I let go of any expectations of my partner.  I no longer needed that validation because I validated myself. I no longer needed compliments because I compliment myself. I no longer needed love because I love myself. As soon as I let go, that is when all the love poured in. I feel more loved and supported by my partner than I have these past ten years. 

It is not our partner’s or anyone else’s responsibility to make us happy. Our partners are in our lives to give us opportunities for growth, and sometimes it doesn’t always look like the fairy tale in the books and movies. But on the other side, you will be closer and more connected than ever because you have empowered yourself.  

Related: From Attempting Suicide to Self Love Specialist

But it didn’t happen overnight. I put work into my happiness, and the work paid off.  

How did I do this?

Four A’s to Freedom:

  1. Awareness: Take a step back and look at your relationship. Take notice when you feel hurt, anger, or sadness from what your partner did or said to you.


    –My Life Example: I felt neglected when my partner left town for work.  I felt sad because he didn’t compliment me enough or tell me I was a good mommy as much as I wanted.

  2. Acknowledge: No one can make you feel any sort of way.  Ask yourself: What is this experience teaching me about how I feel about myself?


    My Life Example: The two big emotions I felt were neglect and sadness.  I acknowledge today that both of these feelings came from within. I spent so much time making sure that everyone around me was good that I was neglecting myself.  I was not sad because he didn’t tell me I was a good mommy. I was sad because I didn’t believe I was a good mommy. I needed someone to validate me. I finally came to realize that there was no amount of compliments that my partner could give to fill the hole in my heart.  That was my responsibility.

     

  3. Affirm: I love myself just the way I am.  I release the ability of others to be able to control how I feel inside.  I am enough right now.

    My Life Example: I talk to myself in the mirror.  When a negative thought or feeling comes up, I politely say to myself, “This no longer fits my needs. I’m going to leave it here.”  I express gratitude every day for the love of myself and the love I receive from family and friends daily.

     

  4. Action: Take time for you.  Do something that you love to do, whether it’s a massage, going to the movies, having a girls night, etc.  It’s important to make you a priority. When you love yourself, you make time for yourself. 

    –My Life Example: I do the things that I loved to do before I was married with children. After the kids go down, I eat dinner at home with my partner and discuss our day and the future we envision together.  I go out with a girlfriend and enjoy deep, meaningful conversations with her. I do things that are for me and fulfill me.

Happily ever after is within your reach, but it has nothing to do with your partner.  

Happily ever after is within your reach, but it has nothing to do with your partner.

Through awareness, acknowledgement, affirmation, and action, you can learn how to live your best life.  And, living whole and joyfully with the one you love –– well, that’s just a bonus!

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