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My ex-boyfriend once corrected me for telling him that he makes me happy. He said that that statement implies that I am depending on him for my happiness and since we are each responsible for our own happiness, a better statement I should use is: "I am happy with you."

"Words have exact meaning after all" was what he was trying to explain to me.

Well, a couple of weeks after this conversation occurred, he showed me a video of him playing with his daughter. In the video, I could hear him say to her, "You make me happy." Upon hearing that, I got very upset. I confronted him about it, and he said that it was a slip on his part. I still feel uneasy thinking about it to this day, and am still not sure whether saying "You make me happy" is such a bad thing to say to someone. He certainly looked very comfortable saying it to his daughter (but perhaps he hasn't "automatized" his premises yet).

When I say "You make me happy." to someone, I certainly don't think that I am depending on the other person for my happiness. When I say that, I mean that I am happy with them or whatever they did "caused me" to feel happy.

So my question about this comes down to two parts:

1) If I believe that each person is responsible for their own happiness, would it be wrong for me to say, "[Person] makes me feel happy."? And why?

2) If it's NOT wrong, then would it also be okay with I were to replace happy with any other emotion? For example, "[Person] makes me feel insecure." "[Person] makes me feel sad."

asked Apr 25 at 18:50

deannamurray's gravatar image

deannamurray
806

edited Apr 25 at 18:51


When I say "You make me happy." to someone, I certainly don't think that I am depending on the other person for my happiness. When I say that, I mean that I am happy with them or [that] whatever they did "caused me" to feel happy.

That certainly sounds like a reasonable interpretation of "you make me happy." The ex-boyfriend's interpretation of it, and his view of what "dependence" means, may be a little off the mark, based on the description of him in the question. (I could also comment further on the observation, "words have exact meaning," depending on exactly what the "ex" actually meant by it.)

1) If I believe that each person is responsible for their own happiness, would it be wrong for me to say, "[Person] makes me feel happy."? And why?

I don't think it would be wrong. Furthermore, in romantic love it takes two to "click" (as in any mutually voluntary, mutually beneficial form of material or non-material trading.)

2) If it's NOT wrong, then would it also be okay with[if] I were to replace happy with any other emotion? For example, "[Person] makes me feel insecure." "[Person] makes me feel sad."

A person certainly can provoke all sorts of emotional reactions in others. Certainly one person can cause another to feel sad. As for "insecure," that might indicate low self-esteem on the part of the person who reacts that way, unless the provocateur is some kind of dangerous monster.

I am also a little puzzled by the apparent timeline in the question. First, a conversation occurs with an ex-boyfriend. Was he "ex" before the conversation, or after it? Two weeks later, there is a daughter and the "ex" is the father. How did that happen in only two weeks? Was the "ex" actually already married and a father at the time of the conversation with the questioner? Was he, perhaps, already divorced? I see various psychological implications depending on the answers, and it's always a formidable challenge to sort out psychological motivations accurately without clear evidence.

answered Apr 26 at 22:05

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦
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Asked: Apr 25 at 18:50

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Last updated: Apr 26 at 22:05