When Your Relationship's In Trouble You Have 3 Choices — Only One Will Be Right For You

You have a responsibility to find a solution to your unhappiness.

Last updated on May 14, 2024

Woman unhappy in relationship where partner sees no problem RDNE Stock project | Pexels

Are you unhappy in your relationship and want your partner to go to counseling with you, yet they refuse? Women who are in unhappy relationships want their partners to change and are frustrated because they don't see the need for it. This is when the real work begins!   

There are only three things you can do when you're unhappy in your relationship.

1. Change it

You can change the situation. One way to change the situation that's making you unhappy is to come up with a better way to get your partner to do what you want him to do. Maybe you haven’t asked enough times, threatened enough, or found the proper bribe to motivate him. Keep trying those tactics, if you want to insidiously chip away at the foundation of your relationship.


A second way to change the situation is to change yourself in the situation. Instead of threatening, pestering, bribing, or complaining, you might want to try being more supportive by listening to their perspective on the situation. You may never agree with their viewpoint, but simply attempting to understand how they see it can be an extremely helpful exercise.

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2. Accept it

Sometimes, in relationships, when your partner does something that bothers you, it takes on the annoyance level of a chirping smoke detector low on its battery or a leaky water faucet when you are trying to fall asleep. 

Overall, these sounds are not such a major big deal. They are small blips on the radar screen of your life. But given the right (or wrong) situation, they become major problems and take on monumental importance in your relationship.

However, with some objectivity, you realize for all the hundreds of things you love about your partner, this is just one thing you wish they would change. If that’s the case, acceptance might be your answer.


When you choose acceptance, you have to give up any anger, pain, and resentment around the issue. You genuinely decide this is an issue that is no longer going to bother you. You may even look at it as your partner allowing you to practice patience, forgiveness, or unconditional love.

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3. Leave it

Your final option is to leave. Sometimes what you realize is you have found a deal breaker. If your partner won’t change and you can’t live with things the way they are, you may want to consider leaving. However, unless you are in physical danger, I usually recommend trying the other options first. Once you decide to leave, it’s difficult to rescind that decision.

Whenever you are stuck in an unhappy relationship and facing problems, common sense dictates you need to have your partner's cooperation to fix things. But that is not necessarily true.


She stares intensely because she is unhappy in her relationship stockfour via Shutterstock

Imagine you are in a relationship where you recognize something needs to change. You raise the issue with your partner and tell them you're unhappy, and they don’t get it. Your partner thinks everything is fine. They don't see the same relationship problems you do.

You are completely shocked and don’t know where to go from there. How can you fix the relationship without your partner’s help?


If there’s something you don’t like about your relationship and your partner doesn’t see it as a problem, who has the problem?

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In a common sense kind of way, you may think, “Well, my partner has the problem! They are in denial!” However, it’s you who has the relationship problem since you are the one who is not happy. Thus, you have the subsequent responsibility to find a solution to your unhappiness.

Let's say you’ve identified the source of your unhappiness and shared it with your partner. They say there’s no problem with your relationship, and you’re still upset. Want to know why? You’re upset because you want them to do something they are not doing or to stop doing something they want to do. You want your partner to change — not the other way around.


Once you’ve accepted you are the one with the problem in your relationship, you have a few viable options.

But no matter the outcome, you have taken control of yourself and your unhappiness instead of insisting your partner must change for you to be happy. Do you want to be at the mercy of another person who doesn’t even recognize the source of your unhappiness as a problem? No. Take back your life. Create your peace and happiness. It’s not outside of you. It’s right within your grasp.

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Kim Olver is the author of Secrets of Happy Couples: Loving Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Life.