You’re right. You won’t ever find everything you’re looking for . . . if you’re lucky.
Buckle up and I’ll explain why that’s a good thing.
Imagine a set of twin sisters. We’ll call them Natalie and Nicole – two women who are as close to identical as possible.
Both are attractive and in decent shape, but not as toned as they could be. Both have good jobs, but not their dream jobs. Both are dating okay guys.
But there’s one key difference between them.
Natalie isn’t satisfied with her current fitness level, job or relationship. Nicole feels “happy enough” in all three areas. What do you think will happen next?
That’s easy, right? Nat will workout, getting in better shape. She’ll make moves in her career to get a better job, something she finds more fulfilling. And she’ll either improve her current relationship or ditch this guy and find a better fit.
Nicole will stay right where she is.
A recent Harvard study confirms this. As the lead researcher explained in an interview, “our findings indicate that [the] belief in a favorable future may diminish the likelihood that people will take action to ensure [it] becomes reality.”
Said another way, dissatisfaction prompts us to strive for more.
When we believe everything’s okay, we stop trying. What’s the point? We only invest effort in improvement when we feel like there’s a need.
You might be wondering why that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing because research has also shown that humans are happiest when they’re making progress. No matter how small or insignificant the progress. It helps us to feel happy.
Humans need to be working on things in order to feel happy.
How can you use that information in your relationship? By embracing a bit of dissatisfaction.
I suggest embracing a mild form of dissatisfaction – just enough to give you motivation – in four key areas.
Your communication isn’t good enough.
You’re never going to have perfect communication with your guy. There will always be misunderstandings and misfires. But that doesn’t have to spell disaster.
Allow those missteps to fuel your desire for more.
Give and demand quality conversation. Talk about how your day went, what the future looks like, what you want for dinner, and where you see this relationship headed. When it comes to communication, look for ways to make just a 1% improvement per day.
I know that doesn’t sound like much. But 1% improvement per day means 365% improvement in one year.
Your connection isn’t strong enough.
You’re never going to get to the point where you feel completely in sync with your guy. There will always be things about him you don’t know or understand, and you’ll always be a bit of a mystery to him.
Revel in that.
Enjoy the process of getting to know him better, even if you’ve been with him for years. Ask a lot of questions, and never assume you know the answers. Seek out adventure together. Do things to push your connection to a deeper level.
Your values aren’t aligned enough.
You’re never going to see eye-to-eye with your man all the time. Even if you agree on 99% of your values, there will still be disagreements about philosophy, religion, politics and priorities.
That’s okay – and normal.
Concentrate on learning how to disagree in productive ways. Respect his differing opinions and ask him to respect yours. Solid relationships are built on open, candid sharing.
Your future isn’t certain enough.
You’re never going to have a guarantee about your relationship. People who were once madly in love drift apart. Passion fades. Intense connection slips away.
Work to keep that from happening to your relationship.
Always remember that love takes work. There’s no fairy tale ending without serious effort. If you want the kind of romance you’ve always dreamed of, you’re going to have to work for it. And since progress makes people happy, that’s actually a good thing. Keep plugging away, even after years together.
If contentment makes us complacent, the antidote is easy. Your communication, connection, value alignment and future will never be perfect. Instead of freaking out about that, use it.
Push yourself (and your guy) to make every day together as good as it can possibly be.
A little discontent will work wonders for your romance. If you want the best you’ve ever had, just keep telling yourself things aren’t as good as they could be . . . yet.
 Rogers, Todd, et al. “The Belief in a Favorable Future.” Psychological Science, 10 Mar. 2017, journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797617706706.
 Powell, Alvin. “Study Finds Optimism Can Lead to Inaction.” Harvard Gazette, Harvard University, 4 Aug. 2017, news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/08/study-finds-optimism-can-lead-to-inaction/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=hu-facebook-general.