How to Make Your Mate Miserable

After writing my last article, which focused on how to make yourself unhappy, I discovered that a married person, or someone in a committed relationship, often has difficulty following those guidelines. In fact, a supportive spouse can counteract all of your efforts to that end.

So the following is a recipe for making your mate miserable because misery loves company, and if your partner is unhappy, you get a leg up on your goal.

  1. Keep your feelings to yourself. Communication is key in any relationship, so to be unhappy, only talk to your spouse when you need something. Your spouse might actually want to know what’s going on with you, but who wants to make time for that? Be elusive and emotionally detached, refusing to hear their perspectives. Communication could lead to happiness, but it’s really hard to do, so don’t keep those lines open. Instead, sigh, roll your eyes, cross your arms, and answer “fine” whenever you’re asked how you are.
  2. Don’t make time for your significant other and focus on yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, so continue doing that. It’s the path of least resistance, so take it.  Don’t go on dates or spend time together doing things you both enjoy and certainly don’t talk to each other.
  3. Be unavailable for your spouse when they need you, and never offer support. This could mean ignoring them if they could use help with their work or just being absent for them physically. Some say it’s better to give than to receive, but don’t listen to them. To be truly unhappy, you’d better be that receiver, and take, take, take.
  4. Criticize your mate constantly. No one, apparently, likes to be told what they’re doing wrong. But trying to make them feel good about themselves is harder, so take the easy way out. Finding fault is one of the best strategies for becoming unhappy with your lot, and the blame game is a productive method of maintaining unhappiness.
  5. Ignore how you might be contributing to the problem. Build on #4 and blame your mate! If you’re upset with them, do NOT reflect on how you might’ve fueled this fire. It is so much easier to notice what your partner is doing that is causing the problem.
  6. Be disrespectful. This includes name-calling, yelling, and putting them down. Compliments are hard; they involve paying attention to the other and pointing out something with which you are impressed. It’s easier and more goal-oriented to be rude.
  7. Withhold affection. This can be a very effective way to make your spouse feel miserable. Even though they could use a hug or a shoulder rub, that’s an effort, and unhappiness comes when you choose not to exert yourself.
  8. Focus on the negative; don’t reflect on the good parts. Yes, the romance might have been good once, but that ship has sailed. Ignore those fond memories, forget the joy that you had, and direct each conversation towards the heavy stuff. Lighthearted is not for you. Your relationship will never look exactly the same as it did before…unless you put in effort, which could very well make it even better than before, but who’s got time for that?
  9. Don’t seek couples counseling. If you’re struggling in your relationship, great! The last thing you want is an unbiased professional meddling in your affairs, facilitating conflict resolution in a healthy way. A psychologist might ask you to get in touch with your emotions or change your behaviors! Many couples really can work through their difficulties, but that’s only if they’re both willing to put in the effort. If you’re scared or frustrated, give up. Remember, laziness begets unhappiness.
  10. Finally, cheat on your partner. This is a major betrayal of trust, and it will likely destroy your marriage, leaving you both unhappy.  This, however, is only for the expert, advanced, and truly determined unhappiness-seekers.

And there you have it. It takes effort to treat your spouse with respect and love, but why would you do that if you want to be unhappy? So if you’re doing any of the things above, congratulations! You’ve removed the obstacles, and you’ve got what it takes to be miserable!

Dr. Josh Gonsher is a clinical psychologist licensed in the States and an anxiety specialist in Israel. He finds himself nestled comfortably under the vast umbrella of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but that doesn’t stop him from exploring other modalities. He cherishes the importance of building honest and collaborative relationships with his clients, weaving together interventions from various therapeutic approaches, ensuring transformative change. Dr. Gonsher can be reached at drgonsher at