Having second thoughts about your relationship? These are the relationship doubts you should never ignore.
Image by @levina.juli via Twenty20
by: E.B. Johnson
Even though we love our partners to the moon and back, it?s still possible to find ourselves dealing with doubts that make it hard to connect. From uncertainty about your mutual goals, to a complete divide in communication ? once our doubts begin to fester it can be hard to let them go.
If we want to prevent our relationships from rupturing, we have to address our doubts and address the root causes behind them. While some doubts come normally and naturally to every couple, others are warning signs that should not be ignored. Don?t wait until heartbreak and conflict come knocking on your door. Address now and get to the root of your relationship issues before they overwhelm the love you hold for one another.
Doubts are a natural part of the process.
No matter who you are and no matter how long your relationship has withstood the tests of time ? you?ve confronted doubts at one point or another in your partnership. Doubts are a natural part of the process when it comes to our romantic relationships, but some are more threatening to our peace of mind and wellbeing than others. When we are confronted with doubts, we have to address them and be honest about where they take their roots.
Running from our doubts leaves us nowhere but scared, broken and holding on to something that might not be quite right for us. Though doubts are normal and come with the seasons of our relationships, some doubts are also serious red-flags that must be dealt with in order to maintain and safeguard our inner peace and our long-term wellbeing.
In order to resolve our doubts we have to honestly and brutally confront them. This doesn?t just mean confronting our partners. It means confronting ourselves and the baggage that we?re carrying, as well as the things that we want from this life and our partnerships. Addressing these doubts can be a transformative moment for both you and your partner. Stop running from the questions and reach for understanding. It?s the only way to find your way to the truth you both need to recognize.
Where our romantic doubts come from.
Romantic doubts are normal, and they come and go no matter what stage of your relationship you find yourself in. They have underlying causes, though, and those causes can often be just as important as the doubts themselves. In order to make sure our worries are rooted in the right place, we need to understand where they?re coming from in the first place.
Stress is a major toxin in our environments, and it seems to be one of the most unavoidable. We live in a stressful world, and when that stress rains down over our lives it causes absolute chaos. As a way of preparing ourselves for the challenges, we often get in a state of perpetually expecting the worst. The more stress we find ourselves dealing with, the more doubt we find ourselves battling in our personal lives. These doubts, though, are often our own issues in disguise ? so check your stress levels and see if there?s anything you?re doing to self-sabotage.
Perhaps the most common reasons for romantic doubts are our own unresolved emotional baggage. The pain of our past plays an important part in our future, as it follows us around from relationship to relationship. You have to work through the traumas of your past relationships and even your childhood, in order to ensure that you can lead a healthy and stable relationship later on. If you?re still carrying around the baggage of your past, it can make you doubt the validity of your right here and now.
Sometimes, it?s the outside world that leads to the doubts we suffer within our relationships. Society goes a long way in helping us to form our ideals on everything from the way we dress to the way we build partnerships. If your relationship has to deal with a lot of pressure from friends and family (or even your career) ? then it can result in some serious doubts that follow you around. In order to avoid such doubts, we have to be clear on what we want as individuals; rather than just falling in line with the herd.
Are you someone who gets their validation from external sources? Outside of being an important indication of insecurity, it can also become a cause of serious relationship doubts. The longer you base your worth off of the people and experiences around you, the more variable and unstable your internal self will become. Your ability to make decisions to erode, and you will come to doubt everything?including your ability to make decisions for yourself on the most basic of levels.
Poor choice of partner
Like it or not ? we often have doubts about our partners because we?ve chosen the wrong person. Sometimes, our doubts are our subconscious brain?s way of telling us that the relationship (and the person sharing it with us) are a bad fit. In these moments, it?s up to us to wake up and determine whether this is the ultimate truth we?re missing. Everything else in your relationship might seem right, but if something still feel?s wrong ? it?s wrong. Listen to your gut more often.
Lack of nurturing
Though you might be with the right person, you might still find yourself battling with doubts ? even if you both might even have worked hard to resolve your baggage. When things still aren?t working out (or the doubts are creeping in) it could indicate a lack of nurturing that?s feeding a growing divide. Relationships are living, breathing creatures in-and-of themselves and they require a great amount of energy and effort for all parties involved.
The relationship doubts you should never ignore.
So, is your relationship seething with doubts? Don?t ignore them. Natural though they may be, they still carry consequences if you avoid them or ignore them. Stop running from those worries in the back of your mind and face up to them. These are the relationship doubts you should never ignore under any circumstances.
Am I attracted to them?
One of the most common relationship doubts to experience deals in our level of physical and emotional attraction. In order for a partnership to work in any long-term sense, both partners need to feel a general draw to one another. This draw will fluctuate across the physical plane and the emotional one, but its general pull should always be present. While it?s natural to question your attraction from time to time, serious doubts should always be taken?well, seriously.
Do they humiliate me?
If you have to ask yourself whether your partner humiliates you ? there are some doubts that need to be addressed. We should be able to trust our partners, and we should know that they have our backs even when we?re out of the picture. If your partner makes a fool out of you any time you?re not around, or they regularly embarrass you through foolish behavior, then you need to address your doubts about them and ensure they?re a person you can stand by.
Are they loyal?
Loyalty is important in any relationship, but it becomes especially important when it comes to our romantic partnerships. To doubt your partner?s loyalty is a very critical thing. Differing from trust, loyalty indicates the other person?s willingness to stand by your side through hardship; while it can also mean their willingness to hold you back against the attacks of others. Without loyalty, it?s hard to trust your partner. It?s also hard to ensure that you?ll both be there to support one another when the chips fall where they may.
What if our values are too different?
Values shape who we are and they guide us toward the people and the experiences that can add layers of meaning and joy to our lives. Without our values, we are rudderless in a tempest sea. Without values in a relationship, we can find ourselves clashing against disappointed expectations and mismatched lifestyles. To doubt the values of your partner is something that should never be ignored. It?s a warning sign that things may not be what they seem.
Do we want the same things?
Though many of us were brought up to believe it was the similarities that kept strong relationships strong, the true glue in a long-term partnership wants the same things out of life. When we want the same things from our futures as our partners, it makes it easier to overcome adversity and focused on one another and our goals. When we want different things, however, it becomes easier to find disappointment. Do you want the same things as your partner? That?s a serious doubt to hold in your heart.
Are they honest with me?
Honesty is crucial in a partnership, no matter what age or stage you find yourself in. We have to be honest with one another in order to trust one another, and we have to be honest in order to maintain loyalty and accountability. A partner who isn?t honest with you is one who gives their personal interests priority over your own. Doubting someone you can?t trust is natural, but it shouldn?t be a natural part of your partnership.
How big do they make me feel?
Our partners and our spouses should lift us up and motivate us when we?re down or struggling with the hardships of life. Outside of that, they should always treat us with compassion and respect. Without that, it?s impossible to maintain an equitable relationship. If your partner makes you feel small, inferior, or otherwise insignificant ? then the doubts will soon start to fester. You?ll doubt yourself, but you?ll come to doubt them too. As well as the intentions of everyone else in the world around you.
What you need to do next.
Have you decided that the doubts are just too much to bear? These are the steps you need to take next in order to resolve your worries and find peace. The longer you run from getting the answers you need, the greater the pain will be. Don?t wait until the conflict grows. Face your fears and address your doubts in order to rediscover your truth.
1. Consider the source
The first step in addressing your doubts is to consider the source. While some of our doubts are justified or founded, others are simply projections of our own doubts or concerns. We have to dig deep and be brutally honest with ourselves about where our concerns are coming from. We must consider the source of our doubts and get real about the reasons we?ve come to see our partner in a different light.
Break down your doubts one-by-one and work backwards to get to the root of their arrival in your relationship. Don?t shy away from the past pain and baggage and don?t lie when you?re making comparisons that don?t really exist.
Know that your partner is not your dysfunctional parent; nor are they the ex that shattered your heart into a million pieces. Analyze the comparisons that you?re making and know when to spot the signs of projection. Ask yourself key questions. Am I doubting my partner? Or am I doubting my past? Is this a behavior they?ve displayed to me? Or am I looking for the troubles of yesterday? Once you know where your doubts are coming from you take steps to correct them.
2. Get clear on what you want
Once you?ve identified your doubts and sussed-out what?s real and what isn?t, you have to get clear on what you want so that you can create a plan of action. Before opening up to your partner or making any dramatic moves, consider what means most to you in this world and what you hope to build 5, 10, or even 20 years from now.
Take a few quiet moments for yourself every day and spend some time journalling about what you want from your life. Consider every aspect of your life, from your career, to your family, to where you want to live. Look at your relationship and compare it to the partnership of your dreams? Is this really the person you can build tomorrow with?
Don?t rush the process and don?t avoid any necessary truths. If you?re standing on the edge of a cliff looking at a relationship with more doubts than benefits, you need to be clear on what you do want before cutting any cords with what you don?t want. Accept your needs at face value and understand that you need them in order to be happy.
3. Open up to one another
With your truths to hand, it?s time to open up to your partner and have an honest discussion about your concerns. Again, this is a process that can?t be rushed and one that should be done with particular care. That means having a handle on what you want, what you need, and the emotions you hold surrounding the issues. There?s no point running into a big conversation with little less than the facts.
Find a safe space where you and your partner can open up to one another in safety, without fear of being overheard or interrupted. Choose the time you speak to one another carefully and make sure it?s not in the midst of a great deal of emotional distress or chaos.
Open up to your partner. Explain your doubts to them and explain also the work you?ve done to come to this point. Leave out any blaming language and try to keep your emotions out of it (as much as possible). Once you?ve had a chance to express yourself, give them space and time to respond. It?s important to remember too that this isn?t necessarily a one-and-done conversation. Walk away if you need to, but don?t stop talking until you both have answers.
4. Investigate your space
Now that everything is out in the open, it?s time to lean into the space that separates you and your partner. You both need time to process how you feel with your new information, and you need time to weigh that information against your needs and plans for action. How you feel when you deliver your doubts might differ greatly from how you feel after exposing your needs to your partner and hearing their response.
Get comfortable spending time on your own and getting back into the habits and pastimes that bring you joy. Investigate more fully who you are, and re-engage with life in a way that gives you a wider and more understanding perspective.
Our doubts can be natural and passing moments of fear, but they can be important indicators that we?re moving in the wrong way too. If your doubts have yet to subside, then you need to spend some time in a world of your own ? to decide whether that is preferable to a world shared with someone else. Again, honesty is the key here?uncomfortable as it might be. Explore who you are and explore what you want from your life actively and without hesitation.
5. Address the patterns
Sometimes, our doubts arise as a result of concrete patterns that rear their head time and time again. These patterns manifest as self-sabotage, wherein we push away people who might otherwise fit our lives and futures well. We have to address these patterns in order to stop them and then quell the originating fire that feeds them. This means digging into our pasts and our hearts to let go of the pain that?s lurking in the shadows.
After you?ve both addressed your concerns and given yourselves time and space to explore and process, it?s time to address any patterns that might be feeding your negative emotions and thoughts. Once more, you have to be brutally honest here. Are you really doubting your partner?s ability to be there for you? Or are you pushing someone away you don?t think you deserve?
Look at the way your relationships played out in the past. What kept you from opening up? What widened the divides? Is it old wounds from your childhood, playing out time-and-time again on the stage of your heart? Are you proving your dismissive and narcissistic parents right by failing in love, just like they did? Go as far back as you need to go to get to the root of your patterns. Stop shooting yourself in the foot and start letting go of the baggage that?s pushing love out of your life.
Putting it all together?
Our relationships form an important cornerstone of our lives, but they can also fill us with fear and doubt. When those doubts appear in our partnerships, it?s important that we address them so that we are equipped to see them for what they are. The more compassion and understanding we approach the next steps with ? the better. After all, the only way to address your doubts is by opening up and taking action with your partner.
Before you make any bold movements, take some time to consider the source of your doubts or fears. Sometimes, the way we feel about a situation is justified. Other times, though, it?s just a manifestation of our past baggage. Get clear on where your worries are coming from, then (once you know their source) spend some time getting familiar with what you really need and want from life. With this knowledge to hand, you can approach your partner and open up to some honest dialogue that helps you both find the resolution that you need. Once you?ve both said what you need to say, take some time (and some space) to process your feelings and your next plans of action. Address any negative patterns that are coming into play. Take charge and stand up for what you want and what you need. After all, you?re the only one who can.