10 things that prevent men from being happy in a relationship

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It’s undeniable that men are often portrayed as simpletons who care only for their sofa, beer, and TV. 

While there is a considerable amount of men like that, there are also many that are much deeper. For that reason, it’s ungrateful to make blanket statements about men. 

However, there are many hidden factors that can derail men from experiencing the happiness in a relationship they deserve.

It’s time to shatter the silence and shed some light on the ten most problematic obstacles that hamper men from thriving in their relationships.

1) Feeling unappreciated

Like women, men like to see that they are appreciated in a relationship. They don’t like to be taken for granted, and this feeling will gradually erode their happiness levels. 

If their selfless acts are met with indifference or an expectation that they are simply part of their responsibilities, they will most probably feel unvalued and unappreciated

Of course, not all men are like that, and women arguably go even more unrewarded than men. 

However, there’s an easy fix for all genders. It includes small gestures of gratitude and acknowledgment that go a long way in boosting happiness. 

A heartfelt “thank you” for their contributions, a sincere compliment on their appearance or character, or simply recognizing their efforts can work wonders.

2) Lack of intimacy

As you know, men are highly sexual beings. For most men, sexual intimacy is the only intimacy they care about. They wake up thinking of sex, and they go to bed with the same thought. 

For that reason, lack of intimacy is like a nail in the coffin where their happiness lies. A significant disparity in desires between the two partners is a likely culprit for the lack of sexual intimacy. 

There are also other intimacy issues that impact their happiness in a relationship. Sexual incompatibility, lack of emotional connection, or difficulties in sexual fulfillment are also big triggers. 

Working together can fix some, if not all, of these issues. Additionally, developing open lines of communication during intimate moments, exploring new experiences, and analyzing the possible reasons behind the lack of intimacy or sexual satisfaction, can greatly improve the situation. 

However, if this next thing is also present, there won’t be much improvement until it’s also fixed, one way or another. 

3) Criticism and nagging 

From my personal experience, criticism and constant nagging are huge happiness killers. Although it can go both ways, men are more inert and need pushing to do things around the house, and therefore they get more criticism. 

To fix this, both sides have to work on the issue. Men should work more on themselves and in the household, and women need to give constructive feedback and find a balance between addressing concerns and expressing appreciation.

4) Lack of personal growth or fulfillment

Most men don’t like to feel stagnant and like to see that they’re on the up and up. On the other side, they also like some status quo from time to time and don’t like to see the world around them changing at a rapid pace. 

The best thing to do is to create a supportive atmosphere in the relationship where both partners feel encouraged and motivated to pursue personal growth

They can share resources, recommend books or podcasts, and go back and forth with ideas that can inspire each other’s personal development.

For that reason, I love sharing my passion projects with my partner and vice versa, as fresh eyes can give constructive criticism and help out with the project. 

This next thing, however, can make or break a relationship if left unattended. 

5) Incompatibility or conflicting values

I’m talking about fundamental differences in values, goals, or lifestyles between partners. This can create ongoing conflicts and dissatisfaction on both sides.

Core values usually come up in conversations at the beginning of the relationship when we’re getting to know the other person.

If we brush off these values at that point, they could come back and bite us. Of course, differences in values don’t necessarily mean the end of a relationship. 

If we foster open communication and understanding and have a commitment to finding common ground, it’s possible to navigate incompatibility and nurture a relationship that respects and supports each partner’s values and happiness.

6) Stress and work-life balance 

The world, and men themselves, still see them as breadwinners in relationships. Even though many women now outearn their partners, this point of view has remained in place.

With constant stress looming over them, it’s hard to find a work-life balance. It also affects their ability to prioritize their relationship and can impact overall relationship satisfaction.

Stress is a common part of life, but it’s important to find healthy ways to relieve it. Exercising, relaxing, connecting with friends, getting enough sleep, and managing time effectively can all help. 

Next up is the aspect I simply had to address separately. 

7) Financial strains

Debt, unemployment, or financial strains and disagreements impact not only a man’s happiness but also place pressure on a relationship and everyone in the family. 

There’s often no easy way out, but with time, people often find solutions that can get them out of financial predicaments. 

Spending less and earning more is a piece of good advice, but it’s not always that simple. 

8) Ignored interests or hobbies

When men start to feel that their personal interests, hobbies, and friendships take a backseat after entering a relationship, they are often unhappy. Even more so if their partner is consistently ignoring or dismissing them.

There’s a pretty well-known meme that men never grow up, their toys only get bigger. For that reason, they take their hobbies and other activities very seriously. 

One of women’s biggest mistakes is to prohibit or dismiss a man’s hobby. Just let them be and let them enjoy themselves. 

9) Autonomy and limited social connections 

Men, like anyone else, benefit from social connections and friendships outside of their romantic relationships. However, as we grow older, we have fewer and fewer friends

This can make some men feel isolated, especially if they can’t, won’t, or aren’t allowed to make meaningful connections with others. 

For most of us, building social connections takes time and effort. By being patient and open-minded, we can get a big payoff in terms of quality connections that contribute to a sense of belonging, support, and happiness.

However, this shouldn’t affect this last thing on my list. 

10) Neglecting quality time together 

Although we spend a lot of time in a relationship being together, how much of it’s spent effectively? 

If you look at couples these days, you’ll see them glued to their phones even though they’re sitting at the same table or beside each other, for instance. That’s not spending quality time together. 

We all need to learn to live in the moment more and stop neglecting other people because of Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, or whatever else you’re looking at at all times. 

Final thoughts

Most of the things that prevent men from being happy also prevent women from being happy. There’s no blanket solution that can help everyone. 

But if you’re willing to work on the underlying issues and just try to get a tiny bit better than the day before, you’ll be doing great in no time. 

Why not start by learning what habits people who stay happy even in tough times have?

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Justin Brown

As co-founder of Ideapod, a digital publishing platform reaching millions, and creator of The Vessel, a new platform for self-knowledge, I bring a unique perspective to the world of culture, politics and psychology. With a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and M.A. (First Class Honours) from the Australian National University, I've dedicated my career to understanding and sharing new ideas and perspectives for a new generation.

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