Most single people hope they will one day find someone that they will be able to share their life and grow old with. And most people in relationships hope they have already found that person.
I think this is a natural desire for people. And it’s understandable, as relationships can be great. Ideally they are places of safety and trust; where you are partners who care for and support each other, while simultaneously growing individually and as a couple.
They are also full of challenges though, as you are two different people trying to build a life that works for both. And this will naturally give rise to highs and lows.
Beyond the normal challenges and conflicts though, there is one thing that can completely derail a relationship:
Doubt can come in many forms, such as doubt that the other person really loves you, doubt that you can trust the other person, doubt that you still love the other person, and doubt that they are “the right person” for you.
It doesn’t matter if the couple has been together 2 months or 10 years. No relationship is immune to these feelings.
If and when this happens, it’s important it is discussed and addressed. Because when it isn’t, doubt can often cause the relationship to fail.
In life, belief or “buy in” is very important.
When people buy into something they understand the value of it. They understand its place in their life and their place with it. This is always valuable, and especially so in relationships.
Doubt is corrosive to buy-in, and puts a relationship in limbo, preventing it from moving forward in a positive manner.
I believe one of the leading causes for doubt in a relationship is unrealistic expectations and understanding of what a relationship is; or an immature understanding of love.
We are frequently exposed to the idea of a soul mate, or “the one”, the idea that every person out there has a perfect match somewhere. This idea may seem romantic at first, but it is ultimately destructive.
An unspoken extension of the idea of “the one” is that if/when you find this person, the will complete you and everything will be happy and wonderful.
This becomes an issue when relationships invariably run into problems or conflict, or when they fall into a rut where the spark has faded. When this happens, it’s easy for the attitude to become:
Hmm, we have problems. Maybe he/she isn’t the one. Maybe this isn’t the right relationship for me. Maybe I would be happier with someone else.
This sort of thinking can create doubt about the existing relationship.
Newsflash for you – there are millions of people out there in the world, and you have varying degrees of compatibility with every single one of them. Even if you filter this list down to your gender or preference, age (plus or minus some sort of tolerance level), and some sort or radius from where you live; it’s a pretty safe bet that no matter who you are with, at any given point in time there is *someone* out there who is a better match.
To that I say, so what?
Who really cares if there is someone out there that is a better match?
The question I have is, are you largely happy in your current situation? If you are having doubts, then probably not. But if not, what are you doing about it? Is your partner aware of your concerns, and are they taking actions to improve things? Or are you just letting the doubt fester?
When you doubt, it impacts your buy in. And over time, this impacts your body language and the effort you put in. Sometimes the mere seed of doubt can actually be the catalyst that causes the relationship to fail.
If you have doubts, you need to be able to articulate what the source of the doubt is.
There are reasonable doubts. Things like your partner being controlling, cruel, aloof, coming home at odd hours or being inconsistent or not forthcoming in what they say. There are all sorts of “warning signs” for relationships, and it’s important to not turn a blind eye to them when they occur.
But doubts can also be of your own making.
We all have our insecurities, and it’s important to understand ourselves and our insecurities in order to get a handle on them and prevent them from poisoning our relationships. Especially when we carry the hurts of past relationships into new ones.
For example, someone who has been cheated on in the past may be hypersensitive to any actions that could suggest an affair, and they may see things that aren’t there.
It’s important to communicate these things to your partner. If they understand where you are coming from, they may be a bit more conscious of how their actions appear. But over time trust needs to build. If someone is constantly doubting a person who hasn’t given them cause to doubt, this will damage the relationship.
One of the big problems with doubt is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Someone has doubts, and as a result they start to hold back and build walls. Often this is done as a way of “protecting” themselves from potentially being hurt.
However building walls and holding back creates distance, and this distance will take a toll.
Making a Choice
It’s one thing to doubt if you are compatible, or doubt if you will make it. These are normal doubts that can crop up from time to time.
But if you are having doubts about whether or not you really want to be with the other person anymore, I believe you need to make a choice.
You need to choose to accept them for who they are, and commit to making the relationship the best that it can possibly be; or get out of the relationship and move on.
Some people stay in a relationship they “aren’t sure about” because they are scared to be alone. Or they feel they have invested a lot of time into the relationship, and they don’t want it to have been wasted.
But being in a relationship where you are not fully committed (and likely holding back) due to doubt is completely unfair to the other person.
If you have doubts about your relationship ask yourself this; what is the one thing you never get back?
Time wasted on doubt is just that. Wasted time. And it’s time you never get back.
Sometimes people have doubts, and they want space or they want time to figure things out. And to a degree that is reasonable request for someone to make.
But it needs to come with a limit.
If someone has doubts – they don’t know what they want. So for the person who is “waiting”, the person they are waiting for is trying to figure out if they want a life with them or not.
Taken another way, they are an option to this person, and not a priority.
So why? Why should someone wait?
Why would someone possibly want to waste of their life – time they will never get back, over someone who isn’t able to commit to them?
There’s a saying, Get busy living, or get busy dying. And in the case of relationship doubt I think it’s very relevant.
Doubt destroys relationships. So the person who has the doubt needs to make a choice. They need to get busy living, or get busy dying. They need to either accept their relationship and make it the best it can be, or they need to let it go and move on.
Either way, they need to make a decision and then take action.
Limbo helps no one. It just results in people wasting their lives. And life doesn’t magically get better on it’s own.
So although doubt can be normal, if you have doubts you really need to make a choice. You need to be able to commit in spite of the doubt, or you need to move on.