Dating: Happiness comes first

Being happy is your responsibility, whether you're single or in a relationship.
Being happy is your responsibility, whether you’re single or in a relationship.

“Before you can get into a relationship, you should be happy by yourself.” We hear that and mistakenly think it literally means “you should be happy being alone.” We assume the wisdom imparted here is to not want relationships, or even to stop looking for one.  But that’s not what this quote means at all.

Being happy by yourself means you need to take responsibility for your own happiness. This is not just semantics. This means recognizing the areas of your life that don’t’ feel fulfilled — if you don’t feel good about yourself, you’re bored with your job or feel disconnected from your friends and family, or aren’t happy with what you’ve accomplished.  These are all issues that only you can solve; a relationship won’t solve them for you.

We grow up with an idealized notion of romantic relationships.  We’re told that when we find the right person, things will be perfect. We believe that any emptiness or discontentment we feel in any aspect of our lives will disappear once we find the right partner. But the Jerry Maguire idea that “you complete me” just isn’t reality. You have to complete yourself.

Yes, relationships can be amazingly distracting.  In the initial phases when the sparks are flying, nothing else seems to matter.  But this is a temporary Band Aid, because as the sparks calm down you’ll be left with the same unresolved issues you had before the relationship started. Even better, you could peg those problems on your partner, or think there’s something wrong with the relationship because you don’t feel so great (hence the advice to make yourself happy before getting involved).

The point is, sooner or later you have to take responsibility for your own life. Whether you’re single, or involved in something serious, you have to take care of yourself. And while it’s easier to blame our lack of happiness on not having someone or having someone that’s not acting the right way, life is rarely that simple. As important as our intimate relationships are, they will not magically fulfill you.

Amber Madison is a Manhattan-based relationship expert and dating coach. She is the author of “Are All Guys Assholes?” You can follow her on Twitter: @ambermadi.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

10 green ideas for New York City this…

This Earth Day, pundits share their ideas to better green New York City.

Local

Carriage horse activists picket Liam Neeson's UWS home

Several dozen picketers lined the sidewalk outside of Liam Neeson's Upper West Side apartment building on Saturday to protest the actor's support of the New…

Local

Former cop shoots wife in front of children…

Former cop Kevin Canty, 43, was arrested over the weekend after police say he shot and killed his wife in their Ozone Park home.

Local

Two young children killed in deadly Queens fire

Two 4-year-old children died after a blaze at their Far Rockaway home on Saturday night. The Queens fire injured three others, including a third sibling.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

Is camp right for introverts?

We ask an expert for tips on sending your introverted child to camp

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.