Are People Afraid of Happiness?

afraid-of-happinessAre people afraid of happiness? Crazy question huh? But it’s one I’ve been reflecting on for a while. Maybe it’s not such a crazy question after all. I often encounter people who remain in unhappy situations just because it’s easier, or, they don’t want to face the real world. This is true for all aspects of life, but, it’s especially true when it comes to dating and relationships. People get comfortable and used to someone, and, regardless if that person is right for them or not, they stay. I’m not advocating for divorce or leaving someone without trying to make it work, but, at what point do you have to just say “I deserve happiness”? At what point is it OK to walk away? Not sure. It’s such a grey area. Commitment phobic people are also afraid of happiness I would argue.

I know personally, the thought of staying in my marriage made me want to jump out of the window … I knew that it was better to be alone than to be with the wrong person my whole life. Did I not love him? Did I not try to make it work? Sure I did, but, he wasn’t right for me, nor was I right for him. I knew we both could find a more authentic happiness outside of the relationship. Now I realize that was a pretty brave move on my part because so many others wouldn’t do it. So many others stay in stagnant relationships, but why?

Like most things in life, I believe that all relationships have an expiry date, now I don’t mean to discount relationships, but that expiry date could be after a week, a month, a year or a lifetime, it depends on the relationship. Each person that comes into our lives is there for a reason, we learn from our experience, and either we stay or move on. People have an unhealthy notion of “forever” and “happily ever after” that clouds their judgment when it comes to relationships, and, as a result, leads to many unhappy people. There is also a major stigma associated with leaving a long-term relationship that makes people stay. Also, people are scared of being alone, they would actually prefer to be unhappy or unfulfilled than alone. Then there are those who are afraid to be tied down. All this to say that people are afraid of happiness.

Are People Afraid of Happiness? 

We all have an idea in our head of what we’re looking for in a person. Our ideal mate, right? Sure we do. We don’t always get it and we end up settling for something less. But what happens when you meet someone who rocks your world and you just click with them and there’s chemistry and it’s reciprocated? Well, in a perfect world you would date and end up together, right? Wrong. Time after time I notice people running away from the thing they want most and the thing that would make them most happy for the thing happiness-dalai-lamathat’s easier and won’t require them to step up to the plate and be their best, most authentic, self. I know I’ve done it before, and so have you, we all have. I’ve also been on the receiving end of the man who runs from what he wants most. It’s scary, I get it, and isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’re not ready, sometimes you’re in a complicated situation, sometimes you’re not actually single, sometimes it’s the right place, right person, but wrong timing. It could be anything, but at what point do you stop and say “it’s time”? That’s not up to me to say, that’s up to each and every person to be true to themselves and their happiness and decide what is really best for them.

Then there are those who think the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side. They are afraid that if they commit they will miss out on something better. There is the false illusion of so much choice out there, but, in reality, there really isn’t. Some are also afraid of losing their freedom, when, in fact, being in the right relationship actually provides you the ultimate freedom. There may be a lot of people who chat with you online or hit on you but in reality you will only meet a handful of people in your lifetime who are TRULY compatible with you and that you connect with in any real way. It’s sad when fear of true happiness makes you push them away.

I find people are willing to stay in less than ideal, even sometimes miserable, situations, instead of leaving and allowing themselves and their partner to find happiness elsewhere. I don’t know if it’s ego, guilt or a sense of responsibility, but that happens more often than it should. I have met so many people like that. Actually A LOT of people who are online dating are in relationships already but there’s something “missing” and they are looking for it elsewhere instead of figuring things out in their relationship and ending it if necessary. They prefer, it seems, to have piece meal relationships. A little from here and a little from there makes a whole, right? WRONG!

afraid-of-happiness-settleA lot of men and women online, as well as some I know personally, have come forth and said to me they are married or in relationships but aren’t happy. They go online to find the missing piece. I think it’s really too bad. I’m not judging nor am I saying I’m better than them, but I find it sad really. People are unhappy and as a result of this they cheat. Cheating, ultimately, is due to a lack of some sort. I wrote an article called “The Changing Face of Infidelity, Cheating and Adultery“, and in it I talk about just that. Why people cheat and how it’s becoming more prevalent in society. I quoted a study that cited the primary reasons people cheat as being sexual dissatisfaction, incompatibility and being unhappy in the relationship. All good reasons to leave for something better, right? Well, it’s not so easy, I know, but cheating is a choice and it’s a choice that shouldn’t be made.

Well, to each their own, but for me, I’m looking for it all. I won’t settle for less than my HAPPINESS. I’m no longer afraid of it. One thing I do know is that I’m willing to wait for the right person for me and take whatever emotional risk is necessary to achieve it. I meet a lot of guys, I have to say, and although some of them are great, they aren’t great for me. I won’t settle and neither should you. We all deserve to be happy! In the mean time remember that SINGLE IS NOT A BAD WORD!! You CAN be happily single!! Just enjoy the process of dating. Plain. Simple.

READERS: What do you think? Are people afraid of happiness? Is it easier to stay in a bad or less than ideal relationship than find something more fulfilling? Are people afraid of losing their freedom?

Your Sister in Dating Bliss,

Single Dating Diva

Copyright Single Dating Diva


  1. I know what it’s like to be in a bad relationship. I also believe people stay in situations because of peer or family pressure. They don’t want to break up with their significant other’s family, or they don’t want to crush the kids… There are a ton of reasons, but it is also true people are scared to DEATH of how to not be a part of a couple. They’re afraid of loneliness and flying solo. Crazy, I know, but very real. These people need to see a therapist or have some good friends who will hold their hand through such a breakup!


  2. Have to agree. I see so many online profiles of men stating they are unhappy, something missing, unfulfilled but yet they stay in the relationship for the kids or they are comfortable. They are afraid of change. And it is sad. People are creatures of habit. The internet is full of married men looking for crumbs of happiness but not the cake.


  3. Some do appear to ‘make do’ rather than be on their own. And then there is another species (myself included) who would rather be single than be in a relationship if it’s not ‘the one’ (if there is such thing). I cannot help envy the people who settle for less but are content in doing so because they don’t seem to be as uber-fussy. It’s got to be better than being singe for a lifetime whilst looking for someone who ticks all the boxes or perhaps that is a case of ‘the grass is always greener’?


    • There is no one out there who can ‘tick all the boxes’, so while we have the list and our preferences (and we should have some criteria!!) it is also healthy to stay realistic. Prince Charming doesn’t exist but there are people who we can be more or less compatible with;-). I believe The One is not found, he is to be created – compatibility, similar goals and values, a little bit of work and communication and lots of laughter and sex – my recipe for a great r-ship;-). Thank you for a lovely post Suzie!


  4. Great post. I think that some people don’t feel as if they deserve happiness. It could be a self-esteem issue that causes some people to not strive to do better. They think that they’re getting what they deserve.


  5. Reblogged this on Guiltless Miss and commented:

    SingleDatingDiva is always worth the reblog. This article rings true in so many relationships that I see. Read it for yourself & see what you think. This sentence alone speaks volumes: “Time after time I notice people running away from the thing they want most and the thing that would make them most happy for the thing that’s easier and won’t require them to step up to the plate and be their best, most authentic self.”


  6. I told someone recently that he’s more afraid to love me than he is to lose me. Your observations in this article are spot on. I only wish total happiness for anyone I meet.


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