You'll Never Be Truly Happy In A Relationship If You're Not 100% Authentic

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If You Want To Know How To Be Happy, The Most Important Piece Of Relationship Advice Is To Be Authentic

It's time to get real.

Recently I was at Sex Geek Conservatory with Reid Mihalko of ReidAboutSex and Cathy Vartuli of The Intimacy Dojo. They had us do an exercise in which we took two minutes each to teach one simple concept.

As I thought about the concept I would teach, I realized that the most important piece of relationship advice I could give to someone who wants to be happy would be the advice to always be yourself and to always be authentic in all aspects of your life, and especially in your romantic relationships.

I learned this lesson for myself the hard way.

I was in a relationship for four years that was great on paper. By being in that particular relationship, I was doing exactly what everyone told me I should be doing. I got married. I did the monogamy thing.

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It was what everyone else I knew thought that I should do, but what I was really doing was making myself miserable.

I didn’t feel happy. I didn’t feel healthy. That kind of relationship didn’t work for me and that wasn't because there was anything necessarily wrong with my partner — or because there’s anything necessarily wrong with being monogamous or being in a traditional marriage.

The relationship was wrong for me because that particular kind of relationship doesn't fit authentically with who I am. 

I was trying to be someone else in order to make other people happy and I learned that you can’t do that. You can’t be anyone but who you are. You have to be yourself. That is the only way that you can truly be happy.

I thought I was willing to accept a life of misery because it was what other people wanted me to have.

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But now that I live this life — now that I’m being authentic and happy and joyful — yeah, there are some people who don’t like me as much. I don’t necessarily fit in with them the same way I used to. But at least I’m being true to myself. I’m doing what I know I need to do for me.

That’s the one piece of relationship advice I would give anyone who wants to know how to be happy: You have to do right by yourself.

You are the only person you have at the end of the day and if you’re trying to do something because it’s what makes other people happy rather than it’s because what feels authentic for you, you’re never going to be as happy as you could be.

So be authentic. Be you. Be real.

Do what it is that you want to do. Find that space to be fearlessly yourself and live from there.

Dr. Liz Powell is a psychologist who takes a caring yet upfront approach to therapy and coaching. She is also trained in sex therapy and brings a compassionate and open-minded approach to the treatment of sexual concerns. Her passion lies with treating underserved populations — in particular, those in the LGBTQ, Kink/BDSM, and Polyamory/Open Relationship/Swinger communities.

This article was originally published at Sex Positive Psych. Reprinted with permission from the author.