Finding women on parenting and baby subs blaming their unhappiness on their partner not helping enough is somewhat common.
Finding women here who theorize that their HVM would be perfect if he could just be a little different in some way or another is also easy to find.
What do both of these groups have in common?
They're likely wrong.
The Ben Franklin Effect
As of late, I've found that the more I focus on improving myself and treating my husband as well as I can imagine, the happier I've been with the both of us.
It was clear to me why I'd be proud of myself, but it wasn't intuitive to me why I'd be so thrilled with my husband after I would do something to please him.
When remarking on this to him, he immediately mentioned a sociological phenomenon known as the Ben Franklin effect.
A few hundred years ago, Ben Franklin asked a frosty acquaintance to lend him a rare book. The man agreed. Upon seeing him again, Ben noticed that the man was much kinder and friendly to Ben then ever before.
Asking someone for a favor makes them like you more.
This has held up across a few studies now. My husband explained it as this:
If someone asks you for something, and you comply, the brain rationalizes that you must have agreed because the asker is a person worth doing favors for. You instantly see them in a better light.
When I act in service to my husband, my brain thinks I must be expending effort because he's high value. I then think better of myself, because I am with a man I respect. I'm so happy to be with a HVM and what that implies about me as a woman, that I'm inspired to find more ways to show my affection, and the cycle continues.
The inverse of this is likely true as well.
Take a woman who's cheated on her husband, for example. Her brain will then rationalizes her husband as being gross and unattractive. It does this to protect the woman's ego.
She has to think of her behavior as his fault, because what she did was awful, and we don't feel good about doing awful things to people.
We don't want to think we would be bad to good people. We also don't want to think we would be kind to people who aren't worth the effort.
So our brains don't let us. They step in, altering our perceptions of others to reflect how we treat them.
Therefore, a woman wants to be happier with her partner, I suggest to stop trying to improve him. Improve how you treat him.
Recently, my husband remarked that my treatment of him made him feel better about himself. His brain rationalized me being nice to him as him being someone deserving of my kindness.
He says he feels more confident and more inspired to improve himself. That wasn't my intention, but it's a lovely unintended consequence.
Lots of happy feelings all around! Thought I would share. I do think a big part of why this can work for me is because I know my husband is a HVM regardless. I'm increasing my estimation of him, but the quality was already there.