Relationship Doubt


Conflict between the man and the woman

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.


The One?

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.

Reasonable Doubt

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.


19 thoughts on “Relationship Doubt

    • Yeah. When they are reasonable doubts they are like a warning sign, and likely a good thing to act on.
      Acting on them doesn’t necessarily have to mean leaving the relationship – but it may. At the very least it should be taking actions to eliminate those doubts, hopefully through communication and improving the relationship.

      That doesn’t always work though, and time wasted is time no one ever gets back. Which is something we often learn when it’s too late.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I get it I’m not living that theory.. I think some put me there though.. but I think I wasted my time with him before affair and during.. Now? I don’t think I’m wasting my time.. maybe his.. I suppose but his time is not a priority to me. I used to think of his time as significant in how we were both living our lives together.
    Now I wait and live my life. Figure what I want, how to be loved, treated, and how I love myself and find goals for me 🙂 He can leave whenever he wants. He already has behind my back. I told him please respect me enough the next time to walk away in front of my face. So I can help him move out of my life quicker. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • What you describe is something I see in a lot of peoples relationships. And while for some that seems to be fine, for me personally I want more.

      I hold my relationship as the most important thing in my life (though I’m sure my actions don’t always match my philosophy). And to me, I want my partner to be my partner in life. Someone that be there for me when I need, and who will push me when I need (and vice versa of course). Someone to grow with and share experiences with.

      I hear about a lot of people who seem to be apathetic towards their partner, or even actively dislike them; and I question – why stay in that situation? Some do it for the kids, and I think that does more harm then good. Others stay due to the financial implications of trying to restart on their own. Others I think stay due to fear. And I can understand all those things.

      But for me, life is too short. If my partner no longer wanted to build their life with mine, I would want them to have enough respect for me to get out and allow me to one day find someone who may want the things that I want.

      Maybe I’m naive, I don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know either about your comment about being naive.
        I agree life is too short
        If your spouse is the biggest thing you want and strive for is that relationship I agree full-heartedly in making sure that is what means the most to you.
        I suppose I had that at one time spent years trying we both did, he decided to become something he was not and pretend with me..
        He says it wasn’t pretending
        I don’t have much faith in someone who did what they did that they are fair assessors of their life and insight but whatever.

        My point is not fear may have kept me in this situation for awhile but I no longer fear anything with him … Except catching a disease I don’t put it past him..
        But I’m not afraid to leave him, I just have a nice set up and I find apathy has different levels.
        Do I think Charles will be my forever mate I don’t know I suppose I’m giving myself time to ever want that kind of relationship again.
        What kind of relationship do I want with him
        I did justify staying for the kids as well
        But now nope I don’t plan on walking out because why? To find my match made in heaven.. I suppose I’m 36 and feel a bit too old for that.
        Also to work and strive for a relationship with someone I don’t trust yeah I’m too old for that too right now
        That’s a time waster to me.
        To go on endless date nights with a man I am really not that interested in pursuing again or wanting to know?
        That’s a waste of time to me.
        I think for someone who still is married after such a disaster.
        I am no longer in love with him.
        I do love him.
        Nothing like it was before but everything has changed so much since he became a man of deceptive practices.

        Maybe I’m too much of a cynic of love like a scorned teen-age girl who just wants to live her life and make the best out of it.
        For her and her kids.
        I am a package deal now x4
        That being with Charles gives me the opportunity to explore so many options more than I would have on my own.
        To find me.
        I lost the love of my life when I found out his deceit.
        I also lost the relationship I had with him. The work I put in with him for nothing.
        I know so little about him now after almost 15 years than when I first met him.
        But I gained a strength I never knew I had.
        A peace to find myself amongst the wreckage not tied down to anyone.
        I am free if the stress that is my spouse dies what a grievance it will be.
        I am free to do as I please of course in reason.
        I have freedom to no longer need Charles’s love and affection in such a manner.
        I used to crave it and want time with him
        Now I have not a lot of time but more time than what I used to have to be good to me. To pursue God and find out what I am all about.
        Maybe I am the naive one to think my circumstance is a good one
        But lately I’ve been digging it 😊
        However all good things must come to an end. And I am ok with that too

        Liked by 2 people

      • In my last post, a reader made a comment that struck with me:

        “Figure out what you want in a partner, then find someone with the same idea. And learn when something won’t work, and face it.”

        I think that’s great advice. What works for one person may not work for another, but it’s important that what you and your partner want are in sync.

        To me, my relationship is an important part of my identity. Sure, I’m still “me” even on my own and I have my own things to do. But I see great value in my relationship.

        For others, the relationship doesn’t have the same importance and they are fine with what to me looks more like a business arrangement.

        I’ve always viewed a relationship as a balance between “we” and “me”. If there is no we, then I don’t really see it as a relationship. And if all you have is we then you lose your identity. That balance is hard.

        But as long as the person you are with wants a similar level of we/me, I think things generally work out alright.

        To me it sounds like maybe you would want more, but you are resigned to what you have and are trying to make the best of it. That’s not a bad thing.

        I really don’t think 36 is old though (I’m older) if you were to choose to go a different route.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m living in doubt at the moment, I swear you can read my mind! LOL. I have what I believe is reasonable doubt following betrayal. I swing from doubting whether or not we should be together and if we can make it work (it feels like so much damn work) to telling myself that real relationships are work. That there is no perfect match. The relationships that work are the ones that people put in work. Its like I’m on a pendulum. Its exhausting. I know what you mean though. I do have to make a choice and live by it. I made the choice to not leave after his affair, but I don’t know that I’ve truly made the choice to stay. I’ve been working on myself. Working on our marriage. But the doubt is there. For me, I think the doubt is a defense mechanism. I’m afraid he’s going to hurt me again. I’m afraid I’m a fool for giving him a second chance. So I doubt. The doubt is my reminder that he cheated on me and I should proceed with caution. I’m not ready to leave but I’m not ready to give him all of me again. So I live in limbo. Limbo is a fun game, but not a fun way of life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a tough spot, and there are no easy answers. Relationships definitely are more work then they sometimes seem like they should be. Is that a question of incompatibility? Hard to say. I have three “rules” that I think are necessary for a happy relationship – love each other, don’t be selfish, and communicate. Not always easy, but I think when all three are there things tend to work out alright.

      You comment on not truly making the choice to stay. Given that there was an affair, I can appreciate the reluctance.

      Not sure if you read my about page, but in my case my wife hit a point that she checked out because she wasn’t sure what she wanted. It’s different, as I didn’t have an affair or anything. But I’m sure she had her reasons even if I’ve never understood them.

      What I can speak on though is how it affected me. It destroyed me. To be in limbo, knowing that person you are with isn’t really sure what she wants is a completely soul destroying experience. I wanted to give her some time, and I wanted things to work out. But after a while I just wanted her to make a choice. Either be all in, or get out. I hoped she would be all in, but if she couldn’t because she couldn’t resolve her doubts then I just wanted to move on. Being with someone who isn’t sure if they want to be with you, and who holds back because of that is an experience I don’t wish on anyone.

      I don’t know how long it has been for you in your situation, but I do think there comes a point that you need to either accept the past and let it go or you need to move on (and my last post “letting go” was about this very thing).

      I won’t pretend it’s easy to do, and the doubts may never go away. But I’ve always taken the approach that yes – there IS someone else out there that things could be better with. But so what. I either accept what I have today, and work to make tomorrow better. Or I don’t. However “not making a choice” has never been an acceptable option to me.

      Best of luck in whatever you do, and thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We’re coming up on a year and a half from discovery.
        I agree with every word. And I completely understand the soul destroying experience, because ultimately my husband having an affair was him not being sure he wanted to be with me (well, really it was about him and his insecurities and short comings but he emotionally divorced me before meeting her). And he chose to act that out with another woman. Its devastating and I’m definitely reluctant to give him all of me again. I know I have to make a choice. We have ups and downs. Right now is a down time for me. He says he has no issues with our relationship and is happy. I think we’re compatible but I’m sure there is someone else out there that each of us could probably have an easier time with simply due to the pain we’ve caused each other. We’ve learned new tools and communicate on a whole new level now. There has been growth on both sides. Most times I feel like we’re heading in the right direction. But I get that doubt creeping in. I feel like its my subconscious reminding me of the pain he caused and warning me not to allow that to happen again.
        What brought your wife “all in” again?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have to admit, I consider an affair to be the ultimate selfish act and I suspect it would mark the point of no return for me. But then again, every case is different and you can never truly judge how you would react to something until you are faced with the situation. Furthermore, there are a lot of things that couples go through in a long term relationship that happen both at an individual and a couple level. And although you never want it to happen, sometimes things need to hit rock bottom before you can truly climb back up again.

        From what you describe, it sounds like there is a lot of positive things going on. So if you see this as a genuine sign of growth, and it’s something you both can accept then that’s great. Your relationship will likely never be “the same”, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. And truly, nothing is ever the same no matter what happens. Neither of you are the same people you were 5, 10, 15 years ago. Change is the one constant in life.

        You mention doubt, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact, I think the knowledge that a relationship could end at any time is in many ways a positive. That recognition can cause us to appreciate what we have more today. Of my posts, probably my favorite is “forever is now”, and in that I try to talk about taking time out each and every day to appreciate. Because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

        You have been hurt, so your doubt it understandable. Trust needs to be rebuilt, and that will take commitment over time. That’s as it should be. But try to accept gestures as genuine, because although doubt it fine it can also prevent you from moving forward.

        As for me…
        …well, I won’t even pretend to guess what brought my wife back. Is she actually “all in”? Not sure. I hope so. I’ve always been all in, and for me it’s easy. She may or may not be, but at the very least I can say it doesn’t feel like she’s checked out anymore. And in many ways, that’s what matters most.


  3. So very true. I agree wholeheartedly with “the one” being an unrealistic expectation. I have only recently realizing this…on the heals of a painful divorce I thought I found “the one”. The truth is that I hadn’t fully healed from my divorce. While I cringe the word “rebound”, you don’t fully understand it until you have it. My boyfriend was everything my husband was not, which was quite alluring. But, ultimately, after nearly a year of trying to discuss big concepts like “trust”, “vulnerability” and the importance of boundaries I have realized I have had to make the choice you speak of here. It’s time to move on … And that’s the most complete love I can give both of us. So with you on this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What you describe is something I have seen/heard a number of times – finding someone that is everything the last person wasn’t, and having that be great (for a while).

      Not sure if this happened with you, but an interesting phenomenon with failed relationships is to focus on the bad of the past and forget the good. It’s almost like a self defense mechanism that allows us to disassociate and move on.

      Usually even with failed relationships there was a lot that was good. And over time we become blind to that good and we only see the faults.

      I like your comment about how moving on in your case is the most complete love you can give. A while back I had a post called “unconditional love” where I had the same idea – sometimes love really means knowing when it’s time to walk away.

      Thanks for commenting

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I found myself nodding and thinking “YES” to pretty much every point here, especially that whole bit about the fallacy of “the one.” That one really grinds my gears. We’ve been sold on lies (all right, I sound a bit dramatic) and it causes so much unnecessary pain. Great post. And I look forward to reading more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually I don’t think it’s dramatic at all. I totally agree that people are sold on lies, in the sense that we are often led to believe things about relationships that aren’t true. Relationships can be great, but the way they are often portrayed can lead to disappointment when they don’t measure up to portrayals. And that can lead to people walking away from relationships that are actually really good for them, simply due to broken expectations.

      perception is very much related to expectation. And sometimes it has little to do with reality.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

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