You and your partner may be blissfully happy before doubt enters the picture. Then, you start to worry if you’re really a good match for one another. Is your partner interested in someone else? If you don’t resolve relationship doubts, they can ruin everything. Tackle your doubts by first going to the source— your partner— and seeking out the reassurance you long for.
Communicate your fears.
Bottling up your feelings may actually allow the doubt to fester. Let it go by talking about it with your partner. Be candid with them and come out and say what’s bugging you.
You might say, “We never have conversations about the future and it makes me doubt your feelings for me.”
Ask your partner for reassurance.
After sharing your fears, ask your partner for support and reassurance. You might want them to remind you how much they love you, or you might want a show of affection, like a hug and a kiss.
You might ask something like, “I need to hear that I’m your top priority. Can you tell me please?”
Be cautious of too much reassurance-seeking as it can make you appear clingy to your partner.
Work together to devise solutions.
Determine what about your partner’s behavior causes you to feel doubt. Then, put your heads together and figure out ways to work through it.
For instance, if you feel doubt because your partner keeps putting off important conversations about the future, have a candid talk about that and find a middle ground.
If doubt rears its head after a nasty fight, try going to couples therapy and learning better conflict resolution skills.
Talk to each other about how you like to share and receive love. For example, some people like to do things for the person they love to show how they feel, while others like to shower their partner with compliments and declarations of love. Since it’s normal for people to have a different “love language,” it’s important to know how both of you show love so that there aren’t misunderstandings.
Prioritize quality time.
Doubt can creep in when couples go through inevitable droughts of quality time and affection. Making more time for bonding and intimacy can help those doubts fade away.
Compare your schedules and pinpoint a few days or nights per week that you can spend time together one-on-one.
Make the most of quality time by silencing your phones and letting others know it’s couple time.
Give feedback about your partner’s efforts.
As your partner tries to modify their behavior and make you feel more secure in the relationship, show appreciation for their progress. Speak up when you see them trying— say, “I noticed you made an effort to call me back as soon as you could. Thanks, babe.”
Express gratitude when your partner does something that makes you feel reassured without you asking. For example, “I appreciated that you texted me when you were going to be late. It reassured me that you’d still make it and that I am important to you.”
Reframe triggering situations that lead to doubt.
Notice which situations tend to amplify your doubt. Then, challenge your thoughts about the situation by trying to view it in another way.
For instance, if your doubt grows when your partner fails to pick up a phone call, reframe it: they might be in a meeting or taking a shower. A missed phone call doesn’t necessarily mean they are up to no good.
Practice thought-stopping when worries pop up.
Doubt can interfere with your life and sap your focus and productivity. Mentally tell yourself to “Stop!” the train of thought and distract yourself with an engaging activity.
Read a book, knit a sweater, or go for a run.
Question whether there is evidence that supports strong doubts.
If a particular doubt is constantly bothering you, it could be your instinct signaling “trouble.” Before you take any action, however, look for evidence.
Maybe your doubts grew after seeing your partner flirting with another person. Can you find any other examples that made you feel uneasy about your partner’s “wandering eye?”
Decide if your doubts are deal-breakers.
Some doubt in a relationship is completely normal, but if your doubts stem from frequent lying, cheating, manipulation, or unreliability on behalf of your partner, this may be a sign that you should leave the relationship.
Healthy relationships don’t involve undue control, deception, infidelity or abuse.
Doubts may also be deal-breakers if you have them because your partner doesn’t support your values. If they can’t respect what’s most important to you, then it may not be the best relationship for you.
Talk through your doubts with a therapist.
If you’re unsure about how to move forward with your relationship doubts, consult with a relationship therapist. This professional can help you tease out what’s at the core of your doubts and determine if they are healthy or pointing to a problem.
You may choose to see a therapist on your own first before bringing your partner to a session.
Ask your family doctor or human resources rep for a referral to see a therapist in your network.
Identify what makes you worthy outside of your relationship.
Make a list of all the reasons you’re a great person that have nothing to do with being a part of a couple. Maybe you’re super smart, athletic, compassionate about animals, or a talented cook.
If your self-worth is heavily connected to the health of your relationship, you could experience doubt even during common challenges. You can battle this by building up your self-esteem.
Use mindfulness to sit with uncertainty.
Feeling afraid or unsure isn’t great, but some doubt is normal and even healthy. Start a mindfulness practice to help you learn to embrace or at least tolerate the uncertainty in your relationship and your life.
When these feelings arise, notice them but let them be. Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Don’t try to change the thoughts or act on them. Just sit with them.
Perform mindfulness daily and you’ll start to feel more in control and less bothered by these worrisome doubts.
Stay away from negative or critical people.
The opinions of co-workers, friends, and family can lead you to have doubts about your relationship. If a person only ever has negative things to say about your partner or your relationship, take a step back.
Sometimes, your loved ones may offer advice that is well-meaning, but biased or self-serving. Reflect on how you feel with your partner and what you see in their behavior before allowing others’ perspectives to feed your doubt.
Be wary of taking advice or discussing your relationship with people who are overly judgmental or critical. Choose open-minded and supportive confidantes.
Drop “should” and “must” from your vocabulary.
If your language regarding your relationship is rigid, you’re more likely to try to push against uncertainty. When you remove these terms from your vocabulary, you can feel more flexible and open-minded about your relationship.
For example, if you think, “He should answer the phone whenever I call,” you may be inadvertently making yourself angry if your partner is busy when you call.
Don’t say “She must be spending Saturday with someone else” simply because your girlfriend didn’t try to make plans with you.