I'm Not Happy In My Relationship, Now What?

Updated April 2, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

No matter how solid they are, every relationship has ups and downs. Even happy couples can quip and quarrel like everyone else. While these disagreements can help couples learn to overcome conflict, they can also be incredibly damaging to one or both partners. When these fights happen all too often, you may have a difficult choice – do you stay in your relationship or leave? For many people, this will depend on figuring out the answer to a more complex question – am I still happy with my partner?

Should you keep trying, or is it time to let the relationship go?

If you’re stuck between “happily ever after” and “hopefully never again” with your partner, it may be hard to tell if you’re truly unhappy or just in a rut. Before you decide whether to throw your current relationship away or give it another go, take a step back to get a better picture. See if you can spot any of these tell-tale signs that your relationship is making you unhappy.

Things are feeling awkward

Are your most recent interactions with your partner particularly cringe-worthy? Do your conversations feel uncomfortable or forced? Have you felt like avoiding spending time with your partner because things are just too awkward? If so, your relationship may be headed downhill. Research shows that discord in a relationship often stems from an emotional disconnect between two partners. Carrie Cole, the director of research at the Gottman Institute, argues that this rift can occur when one or both partners stop creating positive moments. “When that happens, people feel like they’re just moving further and further apart until they don’t even know each other anymore.”

Your relationship is lacking the little things

Do you spend your days dreaming of date nights past? Or are little love notes and other small acts of devotion a distant memory? If so, these little things (or lack thereof) could be causing some big problems in your relationship. When you or your partner frequently forgo this emotional foreplay, you risk your relationship drying out.

Criticism and communication crises dominate the conversation

Are your conversations with your partner stale or, worse yet, non-existent? Do you find yourself criticizing your partner’s every move? A communication crisis is one of the earliest and most easily recognizable signs of an unhappy relationship.

Your desire died a long time ago

Does your partner still light your fire, or has your flame burnt out? If you can’t (or don’t want to) remember the last time you brought sexy back, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationship.

While a waning sex life isn’t always a cause for concern, it can indicate more serious problems. An emotional or physical disconnect between partners can cause intimacy issues. If this goes unresolved, you may begin to find yourself feeling unhappy in your relationship.

You’re constantly in conflict

Are you and your partner fighting more than usual? Do you find yourself resenting them? Studies show that people who are unhappy in a relationship may pick more fights with their partners. Researchers reason that couples in constant conflict may be experiencing deeper problems than those addressed by their bickering. These unresolved relationship issues between you and your partner can inspire feelings of sadness, anger, and even contempt (none of which make for a happy relationship).

Ilona Titova/EyeEm

You feel contempt for your partner

Do you catch yourself sometimes disrespecting your partner? When you communicate with your partner, could your tone be described as condescending? If you find that feelings of contempt are bubbling to the surface of your relationship, you may be unhappier than you realize. Contempt feelings may be deeply rooted in negative feelings about your partner and may even prove that you’re unhappy.

Should I stay or should I go? Deciding where to go from here

Breaking up with someone is hard, but staying with them can be even more challenging. Take time to weigh your options carefully and commit to a decision that will make you happiest in the long run.

The beauty of walking away from unhappy relationships

Because we often put so much time and energy into our relationships with others, many people may feel they have no other choice but to stay in a relationship even if they no longer feel happy with their partner. Some people make this choice optimistically, hoping that their relationship may improve, while others fear being alone more than feeling unhappy. While many people may believe that the option to stay in an unhappy relationship shows strength through one’s struggle, experts would have to disagree. When you’re unhappy in a relationship, true strength can be walking away.

The work of repairing a relationship

If you decide to work on your relationship, know that these repairs often take a lot of time and effort from both parties. Before you begin the work, take some time to sit down with your partner and make sure you are both on the same page about how you would like to proceed.

Think a grand gesture can reignite long-lost love? While many believe the best way to show someone they care is to go big or go home, real-life romance is fueled by far a more practical approach to staying connected. Instead of spoiling your partner with sporadic, potentially expensive surprises, consider setting aside a few minutes out of each day to show them how much you appreciate having them in your life.

Recognize and disrupt patterns

Do you and your partner fight about the same things over and over again? This may be due to a communication breakdown. When you notice that you and your partner are starting another stale argument, stop the spiral by taking a quick break. Simply walking away from an altercation can help you clear your head and better manage to communicate when returning to it. When you and your partner return to an altercation, take time to understand where they are coming from by clearly sharing your concerns. Instead of accusing your partner of something, use “I statements” to express your thoughts on their actions and ask open-ended questions to see things from their perspective.

Get physical with your partner

When was the last time you hugged your partner tightly? If it’s been a while, you may want to fix that. Touch can help reconnect you with your partner in ways talking simply can’t. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to jump into bed with your partner immediately, but you may want to consider showing your partner a little extra love throughout the day. Make excuses to hug your partner, hold their hand, or kiss their cheek. Even the most seemingly innocent gestures can help reignite passion between you and make you feel closer than ever.

Seek support

Many couples need professional support to help them get past their problems and prosper in their relationship. While many might see this as a last resort, couples therapy can be more effective when done early. When couples enter counseling early in their relationship, they are often more motivated to make lasting changes.

Should you keep trying, or is it time to let the relationship go?

Couples counseling can tremendously improve your relationship with your partner by teaching you how to effectively communicate your needs and cope with stress. If you’re interested in couples counseling, consider online treatment. 

With online treatment, you can attend sessions from the comfort of your home or anywhere you have an internet connection, making it easier for you and your partner to figure out a time that works for both of you. Research found that couples in online therapy report feeling as if they can effectively connect with their therapist and that the video format actually enhanced the experience. If you want to learn more about online treatment, take the next step by signing up with Regain.


People may not always feel happy in a relationship, but these feelings shouldn’t feel constant. If it’s starting to feel like the relationship is one-sided or you constantly feel unhappy, it’s time for a change. If you decide you want to try to repair your relationship, online treatment can help.

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