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4 Counterintuitive Secrets of the Happiest Relationships

2. Be open to discovering who your partner really is.

Key points

  • Some studies show that single people live less long and are less healthy than people who are happily married.
  • Other recent studies show that sacrificing for the other and hiding emotions may be harmful for the relationship in the long run.
  • To create a happy partnership, be open to disclosing who you really are from the start of the relationship.
  • The best matches are those where both partners appreciate and love each other for who they really are.

Research from Elizabeth Lawrence and colleagues published in the Journal of Happiness Studies (2018) shows that single people live less long and are less happy and healthy than people who are happily married.

But how do you create a happy, successful relationship? How much work does this entail?

You might think that creating a successful relationship is a lot of hard work and that you need to sacrifice a lot to please your partner. Maybe you have the role model of your dad doing everything he could for your mom or your mom sacrificing her life for your dad.

But is sacrificing your life for your partner healthy?

A study by Francesca Righetti and colleagues published in April 2022 in Current Opinion in Psychology shows that sacrificing for the other is not always good for your health and may be harmful to the relationship in the long run.

Another study by Sasaki and colleagues published in 2021 in Emotion shows that hiding emotions can weaken relationships.

So, the question is: Can you have a successful relationship without sacrificing too much for the other person and without hiding your emotions?

Yes, you can.

Creating a successful relationship could be much less work and much more fun than you think if you follow these suggestions.

1. Reveal who you really are from the start of your relationship.

Who are you really? What do you like? What are your dreams? What do you hate? What is your worst fear? What makes you angry? Early in the relationship, be authentic and show who you really are.

Find a partner who can accept you and appreciate you for who you really are. If you don’t show who really are, your life with your partner will be based on a lie, and as years go by, the relationship might become more and more difficult as it might become harder to hide your authentic self, which could bring anxiety and depression.

Show your emotions. Show your happiness, your sadness, and your fears. Tell your partner why you are angry, frustrated, or hurt.

If you show who you really are, it might take longer to find your perfect mate, but the wait will be well worth it because the relationship will be based on authenticity. Finding somebody who loves you for who you are will make you thrive, and your relationship will blossom as years go by.

If you don’t know who you really are, go on a journey of self-discovery before getting into a long-term relationship and having children.

2. Be curious and open to discovering who your partner really is.

Try to understand who your partner really is. Who was your partner as a child? What struggles did your partner have? What was your partner’s relationship with his or her parents and siblings? What does your partner really like? What are your partner’s dreams? What does your partner hate? What sets off your partner? What is your partner’s worst fear?

It is important that you can appreciate and love your partner for who your partner really is. If you don’t, the happiness in your relationship might be short-lived. People rarely change who they are. If you don’t think you can love your partner for who your partner really is, and if all you think about is changing your partner, your current relationship is probably not the right one for you.

3. Accept and even welcome both partners’ differences without criticism.

You are two different individuals with different DNA. There is no way you both can be the same. The key to a successful relationship is to be aware of your differences, accept them, respect them, and even welcome them.

You don’t have to have the same likes, dislikes, and dreams to have a successful relationship. You just need to understand, accept, and love your partner for who he or she really is.

Your partner’s landmines (the kind of things that could explode if you step on them) are probably different than yours, so it will take a small effort from each partner to remember the other’s landmines. You need to make it a priority not to step on your partner’s landmines.

Understanding, accepting, and supporting each other will help each partner become more than each one is alone.

4. Turn every negative into a positive and turn every problem into a beautiful solution.

Choose a partner who is open to brainstorming together, the goal being to find a solution to whatever problem arises. Address each problem right away (waiting will only make the problem bigger) and brainstorm together.

Trust that there will always be a solution to each problem. You just need to find the best solution as a team and don’t hesitate to think outside the box.

It could very well be that at one point in your life, one partner needs to sacrifice for the other. In this case, find a tradeoff, something that will make the one who sacrifices realize one of his or her own dreams.


The reciprocal authenticity of a relationship is a difficult goal to attain because of the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” we were taught in our childhood by parents who sometimes had no idea of how to build an authentic, beautiful relationship.

The more you can see the beauty in your partner’s uniqueness, the more your partner will reveal secrets to you. The more your partner reveals secrets to you, the more you can reveal your own secrets to your partner. The more accepting you are of each other’s authentic self, the deeper the relationship will be. The deeper the relationship is, the more trust you will have for each other. The more trusting your relationship is, the more beautiful and unbreakable it will be. The more beautiful and unbreakable your relationship is, the more both partners will be able to achieve their dreams, and the more profound happiness you will find.

And those are the secrets for a successful relationship, secrets that will bring more joy to your everyday life than you would ever have imagined in your wildest dreams.

Copyright 2022, Chris Gilbert, M.D., Ph.D.

Facebook image: Natalia Lebedinskaia/Shutterstock


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