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The Hidden Act: Pretence in Relationships & The Quest for Authentic Connection

Almost anything will go and yet the need for a fulfilling relationship will stick. Human beings have a fundamental emotional need to belong.  

It is because of this that they struggle hard to form healthy relationships that can make them feel more complete.  This very need also makes humans resist termination of relationships.

Positive relationships are associated with greater mental and physical wellbeing, which is everyone’s desire. In this blog we’ll see why people choose to hold onto pretence and also see how authentic connection can be built.


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Pretending to be happy in a relationship

Sometimes, the attachment that comes from sharing plenty of moments with someone and them practically being a part of your life makes pretence to become the preferred option. It’s the need to protect your partner from getting hurt and for you to save face.

Unbeknownst to many, this only renders you the “sacrificial lamb”. You are unhappy and that fact still remains. The impact this has extends from your physical to mental wellbeing.

Here’s why some people may pretend to be happy:

Fear of loneliness


Many people easily get attached and cannot visualize a life without a partner. To them, it is better to hang in there for the company, whether settling for less, rather than be alone. 

They worry that revealing their true non-existent feelings might get them dumped by their partner.

Avoid hurting their partner


Some might believe that their partner is very dependent on them and deeply invested in the relationship. They view breaking up as a harsh move not deserving of anyone. 

Empathy drives them to consider their partner’s needs and the need to keep around despite absence of feelings.

To gain approval from others


This is particularly true for friends and family. These, in most cases are very involved in a relationship of two. At times, family has grown to love your partner in a special way and pretending you’re happy is the most reasonable way as it will also reflect on to them and keep them from worrying.

Hope that things will get better


Before getting into a relationship, expectations of how it should go are high. To avoid coming off as failure, some people choose to keep optimistic while striving to make it work out.

How to know you might be pretending to be happy

Loss of a good communication

Suddenly, you’re extra careful about what you say and very selective of what to share. You cannot share your worries with your partner as before. Besides, what they have to say is no big deal to you. Not anymore.

Distancing yourself from making plans

You certainly cannot imagine them as a part of your life ahead and so where is the need to plan with them?

 Spending time with them might feel like a chore and you can’t help but count down the minutes till you are “free.” This probably was not the case before.

Avoiding physical intimacy

Sexual activity is an important component of intimate relationships. Naturally, levels of sexual intimacy may take a downhill trend over the years. However, it is a cause for worry if this persists. 

Disinterest in physical intimacy is noted to be one of the most obvious signs of unhappiness in a relationship. 

Commonly, this is due to a low self-esteem, periods of stress in relationships such as handling work issues, or loss of trust in one’s partner. These may make your significant other appear less attractive in your eyes.

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Feeling lonely even when not alone

A constant feeling of emptiness while with the person who should ideally be your best company is not something to be ignored. It could be a sign of some unsettled issues. 

These coupled with the fear of sharing with your partner could mean that the relationship is probably not on good terms as earlier on.

Putting extra effort to paint a happy picture to others:  Basically, denial of your own unhappiness. It is a battle to make on-lookers even happier than yourself. 

Forming genuine relationships

It’s a deep connection that goes beyond physical intimacy or merely sharing space and time with someone. When people feel loved and valued, trust is built. 

Genuine connection allows people to reveal their vulnerable selves to each other, and with honesty. It is something you can feel with your guts. 

A study found that good social connections have an effect of reducing depressive symptoms and improving mental health of individuals.

Let’s go through some proven strategies to make it work


Open, non-judgemental and considerate communication is a very good indicator of a genuine relationship.

Not merely being good at speaking but also employing good listening skills in this aspect will make your partner feel valued and loved


A rock on which trust in your relationship is built. It is a way for one to prove their reliability. This way the other party is confident in you. At least they are assured of your fulfilment of commitments.

Showing your true feelings and expressing your needs also makes it easier for the other person involved to help in working something out.


Honesty and openness to each other in all possible ways in the relationship shows great commitment. 

It is viewed as being fearless or confident in the other person to an extent of disclosing your thoughts and feelings, allowing both of you to develop a deeper understanding of each other.


This specially allows time for people to better understand each other. A study at the university of Chicago found that people are more patient when something they love is involved, and were even more willing to wait for its better version. 

Patience is an investment for a long term relationship.

Respect for each other

Accepting that differences do exist and honouring them builds trust in a strong way as well as promoting overall wellbeing of all those involved in a relationship.

Respect is crucial for sustaining any kind of close relationship and people keep where they are respected.

Equality in the relationship

It is necessary for everyone in the relationship to feel happy and respected, as well as obtain an equal share of the benefits in volved.

This way, each partner feels free to express themselves in terms of their feelings and any differing views that may exist knowing that their opinions equally matter.

    Deep focus

    Finding happiness

    Among the known sources of happiness, healthy relationships are listed and in fact, people with at least one close relationship are found to be happier. 

    However, happiness from others cannot be completely reliable. As such, there is need for one to look out for a variety of fulfilling sources.

    Selfcare is by far a proven and effective source of happiness for anyone. Integrating it into your routine generally relieves stress and anxiety giving rise to a healthier self. Selfcare acts promote a healthier lifestyle. 

    Regular physical exercises, healthy diet, practising mindfulness and spending some time intimately with nature, all have a result of calming the mind, promoting wellbeing and creating happiness from within.  

    Additionally, incorporation of the best proven natural products to relieve stress, anxiety and depression, into your routine, is beneficial. Some of these include lavender, turmeric, Ashwagandha, chamomile; safe and effective. 


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