Whether you have been together seven weeks or seven years, doubt can creep into your relationship. But how can you tell if your doubt is normal or a sign of a more serious issue? Is she wrong for me? Am I not ready? Is he a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Am I destined to be alone? Why am I asking so many questions, anyway?
Doubts can be scary when they first surface. They typically raise their heads right when the high of falling in love meets the truth that you are actually two separate and different people. Doubt can also mean that your relationship is moving to another stage of commitment where differences are worked on and growth happens.
So, why do we doubt the ones we love? Doubt is a normal response to change. Just as we doubt what a new job or moving might do to our lives, doubts arise in relationships when things progress. Doubt is common when relationship talk graduates to moving in together or marriage. Simply talking about these changes with your partner can relieve the stress; you may find that he or she feels the same.
Doubts and scruples
Some doubts are stress related. They can be our way of preparing for new challenges. These doubts sound like: What if I’m still attracted to other people, is that a bad sign? But I don’t like his or her friends all that much. Are they really my ‘One’? Are we really a match sexually? I am not sure about the way he or she manages their finances. These are perspectives rather than problems set in stone. They are issues that can change over time, or are often only one part of the story.
Are your doubts really about your partner’s actions and behaviors towards you? In some cases, doubts are your issues in disguise and are not healthy for you or the relationship. But you can still grow from your doubts, and so can your relationship, as long as you face and recognize them.
Doubt can hide fear. Often doubt comes up when there is a fear of intimacy. If every step towards greater commitment has your doubts rising significantly, you might want to think about what you are scared of. Talks with your partner or a few counseling sessions, might really help. If you do fear of intimacy, doubts might be your subconscious pushing your loved one away. This doesn’t mean they’ll leave. If they love you, and you love them, you could work on your issues to get past this.
Sometimes are doubts are based on past experience. You might doubt your partner truly loves you if in the past you dated someone who cheated on you or was emotionally unavailable. If you truly want to move on, you have to get past these issues. You need a loving partner to be there for and with you and remember that he or she is not your past, and you are loved now.
Actually, doubt is rarely the real problem in a relationship. It’s a lack of communication that tends to be the true issue. If you have doubts that you feel you can’t talk over with your partner, the question might be why you can’t communicate them. Do you fear upsetting them? Why? Do you know how to navigate conflict, or do you not trust each other enough to be vulnerable around each other? These are issues worth looking at, alone, or with a couples’ counsellor.
Healthy relationship doubts revolve around assumptions about the relationship itself. Whether it’s working, whether they’re the right one for you, whether you both want the same future? You need to decide what your doubts might mean for your relationship and how to address them. And trust your partner with your doubts. Chances are, he or she has doubts too. That way, you can work through them together. What better way to assuage your doubts and grow closer? Trust and communication can really work. Try spending time each day thinking about five things that are going right with your relationship. Or keep a list you can review and add to about all the ways the relationship works and how your partner is just what you need.
On the other hand, there are red flag doubts, such as: he refuses to tell me where he goes at night; she didn’t tell me she was seeing other men; he grabbed me so hard it really hurt; my partner won’t let me see my friends. If these doubts sound familiar, talk to someone you trust, a relative, a 9 good friend, call a support hotline, or to talk to a counselor who can help you understand what you are dealing with and what you need to do to be safe. These are red flag doubts that indicate a potentially abusive situation and are about the other person’s actions and behaviors. They are signs of betrayal, control, disrespect, and overstepping personal boundaries.
Have you been able to identify your reasons for doubt in your relationship? This is the first step in taking action, creating better relationships, improving your self-worth, and enjoying a happier and more fulfilling life.