Interesting question: How do you know you are happy? Well, for me, I'm happy when I have a lot of people in my life to love, in all the facets of love. How do you know it's love? When you can go out without each other and still the only person you want to share it all with, is the one that isn't there. When you can't wait to share your life with someone, you want a life with them to start as soon as possible. Everything you experience without each other, is somehow diminished from what it could be if you had been together. And you may or may not realize this 'in the moment' but you will realize it. Usually when you are at the height of the enjoyment and that person(s) face flashes across your mind and you find yourself saying, "I wish so-and-so were here."
If you have a healthy relationship you can do this, experience life apart, while still being together in your heart and mind. Tallying up experiences you can't wait to share. In fact I can't imagine a more boring relationship than one where you get no time to experience your life....your loves and the things that you want to do, alone. Couples that are 'joined at the hip' are as dysfunctional as couples that have nothing in common anymore, or have no desire to share their interests anymore. Sharing your life with someone special is wonderful, rewarding and the best personal growth and the journey of your life. And you will find someone to share with, even if it's not the person you are committed to. We are human, after all.
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we can't be with the one we love, and if Fate has temporarily forced your greatest love from you, then being able to live apart, happily is also love. These couples can't wait to share their individual experiences because they know it will strengthen their love, and bring new interests into their lives...and growth to the relationship. If it's love, and if you want it bad enough, your time together will come. Both the hardest and the easiest part of love is understanding that there is more than one person for you in this life. And that you are on an individual journey. It is up to you to make sure that you are living the life you want. It's the only life you get, so no matter what 'obligations' you may believe your life has, to be a truly happy person, you must remember your first 'obligation' is to yourself. Your individual happiness. Because if you are not happy with who you are, and what you are doing, and where your life is going, you cannot and will not be able to make anyone else happy. In fact your unhappiness at the state of your career, love life, relationships, spiritual life, all of that will effect the people that love you negativity. And then you find yourself in a real kettle of fish...your loved ones have given up on you and moved on, because they understand what you don't. This is my life and I deserve to be happy, and being with this miserable person is making me miserable too. It's not selfish. It's a part of being aware. It's part of wisdom to know what battles...obligations... are worth fighting for and what obligations you need to walk away from.
When you love someone, you want them to be happy, even if you don't always agree with their decisions, you still are behind them because of that love. Or even if it's letting someone go to be happy. Think about it logically, if you feel that way, they do too. Your loved ones don't want to see you unhappy, depressed or trapped, if they do, then they do not love you. I've watched some couples I know hurt each other with words and actions but stay together, when it's obvious to them and everyone around them that they are miserable, and I wonder what kind of love that is. I know it's not a real love....you can't even call it love. Some people call it commitment. And I get that, the loyalty to another person by the commitment you have made to stay together until death. But is it better for your self, to stay miserable until a physical death, or is it better to admit an emotional death and move on to be happy in your life?
If you know me, you know what I think the answer is, but it doesn't matter what I think, it matters what you think, because it's your life. This is not easy to learn, but then growing up is not easy. Most people don't live honestly, most people have something they devote time to they do not enjoy. For most of us that is what we do for a living. Which is not ideal, but livable if everything else is honest, after all it's only a job, and that can and will change. But if your personal life is a lie as well, then you are really stuck, because you have no where to live where you are happy. Except maybe in your sleep, which is like death, hum....so maybe that phrase, 'until death do us part' is not just physical....perhaps it's meant to mean an emotional death as well.