Is it possible to love someone and have an unhappy relationship?
Short answer: Yes.
I’ve been in such relationships in the past, and I held on to those longer than I should’ve simply because I firmly believed that the love we had for each other was enough.
But as I eventually found out, what the song says is true – baby, sometimes, love just ain’t enough.
You see, we equate love with happiness and assume that the presence of one ensures the other.
But the reality is that love can exist in situations where unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or even emotional pain are prevalent.
Here are 10 signs you’re unhappy in your relationship even when love is still present:
1) You’re no longer each other’s priority
In the early days of a relationship, spending time apart would feel excruciating. You want to be with each other all the time – 24/7, even.
But as time goes on and you’ve gone through the honeymoon phase, that intense feeling wears off, and you slowly become used to each other’s presence.
For healthy relationships, that’s par for the course. That doesn’t mean the love disappears, it simply grows into a mature, calm, and steady kind.
However, if it becomes a pattern where you seem to go lower and lower down the priority list, that’s a problem that needs addressing.
Real talk – no matter how busy you are or how long you’ve been together, you still should come first with each other. You shouldn’t feel like you’re an option or an afterthought.
Or else you’ll soon end up feeling distant from each other…
2) There’s an emotional disconnect
This was one of my first signs that I was unhappy in one of my past relationships. We’d started out feeling so in love, so connected and bound to each other.
But over time, I felt like we were just sharing space. I knew he loved me and I still loved him, but somehow we’d let life get in the way and neglected to take care of what we had.
We’d lost our emotional closeness – we were no longer being vulnerable with each other, no longer touching base in a way that matters. We were simply coexisting.
If you’re just going through the motions with your partner, pay attention to that. It could be a sign that you need to regroup and find ways to reconnect with each other.
3) Lack of physical intimacy
This is closely connected to the loss of emotional closeness. You see, physical intimacy in a relationship is more than just sex; it’s an expression of soul-to-soul connection and the willingness to be vulnerable.
And if I may be so cheesy, an overflow of the love you feel for each other.
So, if the heat has waned and your encounters between the sheets have practically dwindled down to nothing, that’s concerning.
The love you share may still be there, but the lack of physical intimacy is a glaring sign that it needs some rekindling.
4) You compare your relationship with others
Does this sound familiar to you? You hop on Instagram and see your friends happily coupled up, smiling widely for the camera. Having an intimate dinner. Watching a sunset together…
And here you are, scrolling on your phone, feeling envious and wondering why your own relationship doesn’t look like that.
Well, the very act of comparing means that you’re feeling unhappy on some level.
But you know what? Instead of ignoring that feeling, use it as fuel. Take the initiative to breathe new life in your relationship.
Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your partner about how you feel and see if you can both recommit to keeping the love alive.
5) You’re walking on eggshells
Another sign you shouldn’t ignore is if you’re now holding your tongue more than you’d care to admit.
Especially if it’s a stark contrast to the way you used to speak freely. Because that means, as much as you love your partner, you also feel afraid.
Likely because: 1) Your partner gets easily upset or angry, or 2) minor issues get blown out of proportion.
This leads me to my next point…
6)There’s a breakdown in communication
Skirting around issues obviously points to the fact that you can no longer communicate openly.
Or if you do, it almost always ends up in a fight.
Which means, you might indeed love each other, but you’re probably unhappy. And it also likely means that…
7) You have unresolved conflicts
I know exactly how it feels to love someone and be loved back, yet have conflicts that continue to simmer underneath that love.
For instance, one of my issues with my then-boyfriend was that he partied too much. I wasn’t the controlling type of girlfriend, but I felt like he prioritized night outs with his friends more than spending time with me.
Plus, I constantly worried that he was drinking too much and endangering his health.
We never came around to a good compromise on that – no matter how many times I brought it up, he would brush it aside, or worse, resort to stonewalling.
That was just one example of our many unresolved issues. In the end, we had to part ways even though we still loved each other because we just couldn’t work it out.
Look, arguments are normal in relationships. Healthy, even.
In fact, a survey found that couples who argue (in a healthy way) are ten times more likely to be happy together than those who avoid conflict.
So, if you have unresolved conflicts, it’s time to whip the rug off and have those difficult conversations.
Two things might happen: you’ll either end up walking away (like I did) or fix what’s wrong in your relationship.
Either way, it will free you up from the unhappiness that you’re feeling.
8) You feel like you’re losing yourself
You may love your partner deeply, but if you start to notice that the things that once defined you are slowly slipping away, it’s a major red flag.
Maybe you’ve given up hobbies or stopped seeing your friends as often. Or maybe you’ve become so focused on your partner that you’ve morphed into their idea of a perfect partner.
For me, it was sacrificing my values. I won’t go into the details, but essentially, I came to feel like there was a part of me that was feeling incomplete, even if I loved him with all my heart.
This leads me to say that love shouldn’t require you to sacrifice your identity. Even if the love is strong, a relationship can’t be truly fulfilling if it’s causing you to lose sight of who you are, can it?
Because the truth is, happiness is an inside job.
Until you’re happy with who you are, partnered up or not, feeling happy in the long term will be an uphill battle.
9) You don’t have any clear future plans
Speaking of the long term, are you both clear on building a life together? Maybe not the details, but at least the certainty that you’re both in it for the long haul?
One of my friends just broke up with her partner of four years precisely for this reason. They loved each other, yet they couldn’t agree on a shared vision.
Specifically, she kept waiting for him to propose, but he didn’t seem to want to get married. On top of that, she wanted kids, but he didn’t.
It sounds really sad, but that’s a story that’s quite common everywhere in the world.
You see couples feeling unhappy and even parting ways despite their love for each other, simply because they couldn’t arrive at a common understanding of the future.
10) You have a gut feeling
Finally, let’s get down to the simplest sign – you just feel it.
You just know. There’s that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach that things aren’t right.
The reason why might not even be clear, especially if you do have a great partner.
Yet, your intuition is flashing a warning. Don’t dismiss it as your imagination – it could mean that on some level, you know that the relationship isn’t right for you. No matter how much you love each other.
Being in love is amazing, but it doesn’t automatically equate to long-term happiness. As you can see, it’s entirely possible to love and be loved and still feel unhappy.
If the signs above resonate with you, don’t feel disheartened. Take it as a cue to reassess where you are and make an effort to right what’s wrong, if that’s what you so wish.
Sometimes, it might be wiser to walk away, as sad as it sounds. Because ultimately, what you need to remember is that a relationship should add to your life, not weigh you down.