There is one stage of a relationship that people just don’t talk about.
It’s something that many people have felt and experienced in past relationships, but avoid mentioning at all costs. But that’s my whole bag—I love diving into the things people are afraid to look at. So I want to have this conversation, because I think it’s more common than most people realize.
Whether you’re currently in a relationship or you’re single and seeking, I still recommend that you read this, because if you’ve been in a relationship in the past, it may give you a new perspective on things. Or, if you desire to be in a relationship in the future, you could potentially prevent yourself from experiencing a lot of unnecessary heartache.
Let’s talk about the doubting phase of a relationship.
Before being in a long-term relationship, I always believed that relationships were always going to feel amazing if they were right for you. I never thought there could be any doubt in relationships that were healthy and good.
When you’re in the beginning stage of a relationship, you’re on cloud nine. That’s the honeymoon phase, and even though you feel like it will…it doesn’t last forever.
I’ve heard a lot of clients experiencing doubt in relationships say, “It was so great in the beginning. He was so romantic. It was so fun. I just want to get back to how it was before.” But relationships have phases, just like anything else, and in actuality…you don’t want to go back to the way it was before.
Not everything functions on a continuum, and there’s reasons for that.
So when you first start out, you’re in the honeymoon phase. According to the research I’ve done, that can last anywhere between three months to two years, but on average, it lasts about six months to a year.
You know why that’s so interesting? Statistically, a lot of couples actually end up ending things around the six-month mark or the one-year mark, because that’s when the creeping doubt in relationships begins.
So if this has been your pattern as well, that’s because there’s a sudden switch around that time.
You go from being on a hormone high, where nothing can go wrong and it’s you two against the world, to waking up one day and noticing all of the little things they do that annoy you.
Maybe they leave their wet towel on the floor. Maybe they don’t rinse their coffee mug out when they’re done. Or maybe it’s something they do that you used to think was cute, but suddenly, you can’t stand it.
The natural thing is to assume something is wrong…especially for those who lean avoidant or fearful-avoidant. But just because you’re experiencing the phase of doubt in relationships doesn’t mean something has gone wrong.
Unfortunately, this is where a lot of relationships end too soon, specifically with the avoidant and fearful-avoidant crew.
The way avoidance works is there’s a very low tolerance to someone being different from you. It could be the way they laugh, the way they do dishes, or even you not liking the same TV shows.
When avoidant people experience doubt in relationships, they actually end up grabbing at straws and actively seeking out things that confirm this is “not the right relationship for them” when actually, it could be a very healthy relationship.
Now, let the record reflect that I am not talking about abusive situations. For the sake of this conversation around doubt in relationships, I’m assuming you are with a good partner.
I’m talking about your patterns here. If you lean avoidant or fearful-avoidant, you hit that six-month to one-year mark, and all of a sudden you want to run for the hills, that doesn’t actually mean the relationship is wrong.
In actuality, when doubt in relationships comes into play, it’s because you’re seeing the space between you and your partner for the first time. You’re seeing the differences that separate you, and the response for avoidant and fearful-avoidant people is to create more space.
I have gone through this phase in my own current relationship, and I’ve actually talked to my boyfriend about it. In fact, if you’re in a partnership where the emotional intelligence is strong enough for you to talk about doubt in relationships and both of you can handle it, I actually think that’s one of the best things you can do to work through this phase. Normalize it. It can be incredibly reassuring to talk it out, and it can actually draw you closer.
This sudden rush of fear and doubt in relationships doesn’t always mean your relationship is wrong for you. It could be that your nervous system is just getting used to being in a good and healthy relationship, if you’re not used to that.
We assume that when our nervous system is spiraling or we’re getting triggered, it’s always a sign something is bad or dangerous for us.
But sometimes, you can actually be triggered by good stuff happening in life: experiencing a good relationship, you making more money in your business or getting a promotion in your career, accomplishing something huge…all of those things can be triggering too, because they’re new to us, and new is unpredictable. Therefore, new must be dangerous or scary.
When people experience doubt in relationships, they assume that if they’re questioning, if their nervous system can’t handle it, then they must be with the wrong person. And it could be that you’re with the wrong person…or maybe your nervous system is just adjusting to a relationship that’s actually really good for you.
But how do you know the difference between the phase of doubt in relationships and something actually being off?
For me, I spent a lot of time praying about it, and I leaned into what I knew to be true. I sat and went over what I knew about my partner, and I leaned heavily into my intuition as well.
From an unconscious perspective, it may even need to be a thing where you take a look at what it is within you that wants to create space. What is it in you that is resistant to love?
Now, just because it feels bad doesn’t mean it’s wrong or strange. Doubt in relationships is something everybody goes through.
Don’t make it wrong; just know that it’s normal, and it doesn’t always signal that you need to ripcord out of that relationship.
Here’s why it’s so important to bide your time through the doubting phase: on the other side of doubt in relationships, you’ll actually reach a point in your relationship that’s incredibly beautiful.
On the other side of the doubting phase, you will reach such a grounded, mature, secure sense of love for each other where you just feel settled.
It feels like being at home. It feels comfortable and safe.
This is where my boyfriend and I are at, and I much prefer this stage to the initial rush of hormones that we all experience at the start. I much prefer the settled energy.
You really see each other in a much different way. There’s a deeper connection. It’s really beautiful. And I would hate for anybody to miss out on the opportunity to experience that kind of love by potentially ending a relationship too fast…or stay with someone too long because they don’t trust what they know to be true.
So trust your intuition. If it’s telling you this isn’t for you, then leave. You can find a relationship where you experience that deep, grounded, settled love. Just make sure you’re leaning on intuition and not your avoidant tendencies, because odds are…you might be in the right relationship already.
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