We rightfully jump on people who say happiness is a choice. This is because often what they mean is watering down the definition of happiness to accommodate being able to produce it on cue. Maybe to slow burn contentment. But what I think they are getting at is the idea that happiness is a learned response which I highly agree with. It’s Pavlovian. You are given a life script that you are prompted to follow by the prevailing myths of the culture along with social pressure. For example the idea that an SO can make you happy. I was never happier than when I was with the girl I liked. That relationship ended but it taught me about happiness. Modern psychology tells us that happiness is up to us, but I think it’s something we fall into when we are doing what we believe society wants us to do.
The flip side of this is when things go wrong in relationships we suffer doubly because now we have lost our proxy of happiness and our culture is expecting us to perform a certain rhythm of happiness that involves another willing partner. But we can’t find that partner or that feeling any more. So we take a hard look at our life script and say maybe we should decouple happiness from being in a relationship, but it’s so ingrained in us most of us have to learn the hard way by going through a messy divorce.