I was talking to a client the other day. From outward appearances, she’s got it made. She has an amazing job, she’s in good shape, and the guy she’s dating is a real catch. She looks happy practically all the time.
But sometimes it’s an act.
As we dug into things, we realized that a lot of her occasional dissatisfaction has to do with her relationship.
Her man takes her on amazing dates. They have all kinds of fun. She really likes him. But she doesn’t feel like it’s okay to show him the not-happy side of herself.
“Just the other day we had dinner,” she told me. “We were at this romantic little café. The food was great. But work was hard that day and I wanted to vent. I just . . . didn’t feel like it would be okay. I don’t want to be all negative around him. So I stuffed it down and smiled.
“Then I went home and cried.”
I don’t think she’s alone in that experience.
Students of my relationship courses know that men like women with positive energy. But that doesn’t mean you have to be upbeat every waking minute. That wouldn’t be very authentic at all, and men like authenticity a lot, too.
Not only are men NOT looking for someone who’s giddy all the time, but acting like you’re constantly bursting with joy can leave you drained and miserable.
That’s because happiness is linked to authenticity. We’re happiest when we’re true to ourselves—even if that means sometimes being upset, angry or sad.
Here’s what that means for your relationship. You’ll feel the highest levels of intimacy and romantic satisfaction when you feel free to share how you really feel.
Being lovey-dovey all the time won’t make you feel good. Being REAL is the key.
If you’re interested in authenticity in your relationship, keep reading. I’ve got three powerful tips for incorporating genuine, transparent communication into dating.
Follow these suggestions and you’ll definitely feel more happiness when you’re around your guy.
Stay away from “should.”
I’ll let you in on a secret. It doesn’t matter how you think you “should” feel. It matters how you DO feel.
When date night falls on a really chaotic day, don’t tell yourself you have to find a way to ignore how much the rest of the day sucked. Instead, be open with him.
When he picks you up, say something like, “Boy, am I glad to see you. Today was horrible. I could sure use a fun night!”
There are no rules for how happy you have to act when you’re around him. Be real. You’ll both feel much better that way.
Keep it appropriate.
You really don’t need to share everything.
The details of an unpleasant day don’t really matter. You don’t have to tell him all about the indigestion you suffered after scarfing down some questionable tacos. He’s not going to give you googly eyes after hearing about your afternoon struggles with gas.
It’s enough to let him know that you had a rough day. Or that you’re exhausted. Or that you’re irritated with someone at work. Some details are okay. Just be selective.
The goal is authenticity without over-sharing.
Lean into constructive communication.
Even if you’re sharing something negative, it can still be constructive.
Here’s what I mean. It’s the end of a bad day. You tell him that, but end with, “I could sure use a fun night!”
That’s putting a positive, constructive spin on otherwise bad news. You can share where you really are without turning your time with him into a gripe-fest.
Authenticity is one of the (not so secret) keys to happiness. But it’s something we all struggle with.
Embrace how you really feel, even when your feelings aren’t all positive. Find appropriate, constructive ways to share with your guy. If you can do that, you can bring your enjoyment of your relationship to a whole new level.
And some of those not-so-great days will have some pretty sweet happy endings.