Everyone experiences doubt in their relationships from time to time. Sometimes it’s all about your overactive mind while other times those doubts exist to warn you of red flags. To learn how to overcome doubt in a relationship, you need to tell the difference between the two. We can help.
HOW TO OVERCOME DOUBT IN A RELATIONSHIP
It’s important not to get too hung up if you’re feeling doubt about your relationship. Everyone feels doubt from time to time. It could be a sign that you need to change something about your relationship.
Doubts can be temporary, and you can move past them. Simply having doubt doesn’t mean that your relationship isn’t working for you or that you should end it. It might also be an irrational response due to hormones or something like anxiety. A bad day, week or month might force you to see everything in a negative light. You don’t want to make a rash decision that you will later regret.
Remember, too, that any changes can lead to doubt. That’s normal. It takes time to get used to a new relationship, job, or home. You might give yourself a period to see if doubts ease up.
We’re not suggesting that you should deny your doubts, however. This can actually have the opposite effect and maximize your feelings of doubt as well as guilty feelings.
The best way to cope with feelings of doubt about your relationship may actually to be to lay everything out on the table and have a frank discussion with your partner. This discussion may be a difficult one for several reasons.
- Your partner may feel that you want to end the relationship.
- He may take your feelings of doubt as a personal attack, rejection, or assessment of his performance as a partner. If he does this, he might be insecure.
- Your boyfriend or husband may share your doubts, which may make you fear for the sustainability of your relationship.
But discussing the doubts you have about your relationship can also give you the chance to examine the issues in your relationship and to fix them. Or if your doubts don’t really have a basis in reality, your partner may be able to reassure you.
You may even be able to highlight some of the things you do well in your relationship. Perhaps you’re good co-parents, you both prioritize sex, and you help one another grow. A solid foundation can help you smooth our lesser wrinkles and remind you what about your relationship is worth all the hassle.
If you’re having trouble talking, try the speaker-listener technique. When you use this technique, you get to talk briefly (for 3 to 5 minutes at a time) and make a point. Your partner must let you finish then paraphrase so that he understands what you’re saying. When he gets it right, he can respond briefly.
This technique ensures that you’re both heard and that no one is too busy trying to think of a reply to really listen. It also prevents either of you from interrupting the other. Using it can help you to get your doubts out in the open in a helpful way.
When you respond to doubts as a unit and work on them together, you can strengthen your relationship and improve intimacy.
Furthermore, if you address issues that cause you to doubt your relationship, you can resolve them before that doubt turns into resentment or anger. The sooner you deal with your doubts, the better.
WHY YOU FEEL DOUBT
Doubts can pop up when you’re in a serious relationship and realize how much work it takes. Rest assured that committed relationships most certainly are work, and that work never stops, no matter how long you’ve been together! You might suddenly realize this after the new relationship energy has faded or once you have to face a serious problem for the first time together. But we all need to psych ourselves up about our relationships from time to time.
Having to work on your relationship doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile or wrong, however. Everyone has to do it. As long as the two of you are both working – and working together – your relationship can be a successful one.
Sometimes examining doubts will reveal that the issue isn’t really with your relationship: it’s about you. You might be having doubts not because your relationship is unhealthy or your partner isn’t meeting you halfway.
You might simply be insecure. Worry that you’re not good enough for your partner or not attractive enough can manifest as doubts that your relationship will survive. You may worry that eventually your partner’s rose-colored glasses with wear off, and he’ll see you as unlovable, unattractive, or unworthy.
Perhaps you worry that your relationship is too good to be true, so you let yourself have doubts as a reason to end things before you can really get hurt. Self-sabotage it all too real.
Although it’s normal to seek reassurance from your partner, it may be more helpful to speak to a professional to help build self-confidence. Couple’s therapy can be crucial if you want to learn how to overcome doubt in a relationship. A therapist can also provide a much-needed third-party point of view.
Or you could be bringing bagging from a previous relationship. That baggage doesn’t necessarily have to come from a romantic relationship, either. If you had an unhealthy relationship dynamic with your parents or caregivers, you might have developed an unhealthy attachment style that makes it difficult for you to engage in healthy relationship dynamics.
Another issue that you could be bringing to the table? Always looking for something better. You probably feel a lot of doubt about your relationships if you focus on whether you’re settling or if there’s someone who is a better match for you. You’re unlikely to enjoy your relationship if you’re always looking for something better.
In fact, this mindset is one that leads many people to cheat.
Chances are, you do this with everything. You’re only happy as long as you’re looking forward to something else. You can’t be happy when you reach your goals, so you have to make new ones right away. You can see how this can be problematic.
Or you might be a perfectionist who is never happy with her situation, even if that situation is pretty good. In that case, you’ll always have doubt no matter who you’re in a relationship with. You need to change your attitude to change your feelings.
WHEN YOU SHOULD FEEL DOUBT
There are times when doubts about your relationship may prove to be well-founded.
This could be something as simple as having different goals. You might eventually want to have kids, or you may never want to get married. If your partner is set on living kid-free or absolutely wants to be married at some point, your relationship isn’t going to work out happily. Someone will have to make a concession, and this usually breeds resentment.
Another instance when you might experience doubts about your relationship occurs when the relationship is unhealthy. Perhaps you fight often and unfairly. Your boyfriend may be unreliable and not there for you, emotionally or physically, when you need him.
Feeling disrespected is definitely cause for concern in a relationship. Your partner may have issues controlling his anger, or he might try to manipulate you. Extreme forms of these behaviors are emotionally abusive and definitely cause for feelings of doubt.
In fact, in these situations, your partner might try to gaslight you. Gaslighting is a term that describes the behavior of someone who is trying to convince you that you do not perceive things accurately, perhaps to the point of making your doubt your sanity and faculties. The difference between healthy reassurance and gaslighting comes down to control and manipulation.
Avoid men who display these 7 signs of being controlling.
Furthermore, any physical abuse should make you worry. Abuse is never the fault of the victim and always the responsibility of the abuser. At this point, you shouldn’t just feel doubt. You should do what it takes to escape the situation.
Having a strong support network outside of your partner can help you deal with feelings of doubt. Perhaps your family and friends love your partner and see how you might be paranoid or insecure. However, if everyone in your social circle takes a disliking to your partner and the way he treats you, there’s a reason why you’re experiencing so much doubt.
Be careful with who you choose to confide in when you’re having doubts about your relationship, however. If this person isn’t mature or supportive, they might steer you down the wrong path.
Not every doubt is reason enough to run for the door, however. You need to try to be objective about your relationship, even though it’s hard. You should definitely talk to your partner, and you may need to seek professional help to learn how to overcome doubt in a relationship. But it’s possible!