Are you sure the relationship you are in is the best one you could have chosen? Could you have done better if you waited longer, kept dating others or been pickier? These are questions we ask ourselves that get us into trouble, more than they ensure you made the right decision.
And are these questions best asked before you made a commitment such as moving in together, gotten married or had a child? Is it ever simply too late to doubt the relationship you are in?
Why we doubt
Is it “buyer’s remorse”? Once a big purchase is made, savvy salespeople know that the moment of writing the check or handing over the credit card is when you are at your most vulnerable to changing your mind. They offer a word of praise for your purchase or your ability to choose the best option. They soothe your doubt. Who will soothe your doubt when you question whether you selected the right partner in your life? You surely can’t ask your partner or spouse, “Can you remind me again why I thought you were the best I could do?”
Seeing others make a change
It doesn’t help that there are many examples of people who “got out” of lifelong commitments and are doing fine. But are they doing so well? Maybe take a closer look at how their life is going after a major breakup. Were their ideas about how good things would be once they were single again realistic? Would it be happy for you if you left a sustaining relationship?
Lack of clarity
Am I supposed to be feeling happier in a relationship? How come I am still sad sometimes, bored, or unfulfilled even though I am in a committed partnership? When you ask yourself these kinds of questions, it could be that you aren’t sure about what’s reasonable to expect from your significant other. You may need the help of an experienced counselor to help you sort out your expectations and achieve personal goals that are separate from your relationship.
Getting more from your relationship
If you are unsatisfied in your relationship, perhaps you lack skills to get your needs met, have problems communicating or are expecting your partner to offer total fulfillment when there are some needs that only you can meet.
For example: if you are unhappy in your job, your spouse/partner cannot give you the fulfillment you should be receiving at work. If you have a poor relationship with your siblings, your boyfriend/girlfriend can’t give you enough love and respect to make up for that unfortunate lack. If you are insecure about your appearance, no outside person can completely reassure you.
What you can expect
If you want to feel a sense of attachment, sexual fulfillment, closeness, family connection and emotional fulfillment – you should be able to have those needs met in a relationship.
Elissa Grunblatt, LCSW –R is the Owner/President of South Bay Counseling, LCSW PC, a multi-clinician outpatient counseling center located in Amityville, NY and Huntington, NY.