Dear Doubt Filled,
Good old doubts … they sure can be confusing. I have learned, and found that doubts tend to sit in either truth or story. I can promise that if you talk to a coach or counsellor that is well-versed in the relationship world, you will be able to determine whether your doubts are a truth or a story very quickly. It may take some time to sort out the story, but you will get clarity on the doubts being real. Talking with someone like a coach or counsellor can provide the gift of affirmation, which when received from an objective outsider, can be just what is needed.
Being honest with your person is essential. This can be difficult because it requires being honest with yourself first. You need to know your truth, which will tell you whether you need to stay, or go. It comes down to the following questions: Do you love him? If your relationship could be exactly what you desire it to be with him right now, would you fight for it? What would it look like right now if your relationship was filling you up?
If your answer to the first two questions is “yes”, then I would suggest there is space in your relationship to ask your partner if he/she will engage in some form of couples’ work with you. There are so many options, from Gottman courses, Imago courses, couples’ counselling, couples’ retreats, and individual work. Why is counselling the end-all-be-all? The issues that are on the table very likely stem from something deeper, and are quite possibly related to the unfinished business that we bring into relationships. I am a fan of learning about these unfinished businesses, as there is a high probability that they are the undercurrent of relationship issues. We also need to learn how to hear one another, which means we also need to learn how to communicate genuinely with actionable items. This, in and of itself, is an art form, as it requires practice and being supported through the learning by a neutral bystander. Consistency and accountability are two determining factors of success.
If your partner says “no” to the any kind of outside help, I think it’s safe to say that you are one step closer to knowing whether you need to stay or go. When only one party digs in and seeks alterations in a relationship, it can be extremely futile. Both parties need to be on board. With only one party seeking to understand how to be better together, things will stay as they are. Don’t get me wrong, there will be shifts as one person starts to gain perspective, and these shifts can help, but at the end of the day, relationships involve two people committing to the quest.
Ultimately, being in love and choosing someone means that we are full and happy in the relationship. Yes, there will be bumps along the way, but these are easier to navigate if we feel loved. I have sat with many couples who were sitting in doubt and I have found that it is often because they were not feeling loved, seen, or heard, or were feeling straight up neglected.
My heart goes out to you, as this is such a challenging and tumultuous place to be. If it’s worth the fight, give it a go. If it doesn’t land, then you will find yourself in a place where you have an opportunity to get clarity on your own unfinished business. This is a good thing, because it will allow you to step into future relationships with more clarity, and once you no longer seek love from previous wounds, you may suddenly find yourself attracting wholehearted love into your life.