Afraid of Doubt

This is the second in my series of posts on relationships. You can read the first, about hard work, by going here.

“Doubt is uncomfortable; certainty is ridiculous.” – Voltaire

Nothing is ever one hundred percent certain. Any one who tries to sell you something as an absolute truth might as well be selling ocean-front property in Arizona. To repeat Voltaire: ridiculous.

It is in this lack of certainty that doubt is born. As children, we doubt the existence of Santa Claus. As teenagers, we doubt the authority of our elders. As adults, we doubt the existence of gods.  Doubts are common throughout the human experience.

As key parts of the human experience, relationships cause more than their fair share of doubt. Does she really love me? Is he cheating on me? Is ze only using me for my money? We all experience these doubts from time to time. Our culture often teaches us that true love will erase all doubts.

Sometimes culture spews bullshit, and this is one of those times. Doubts are perfectly natural and an acceptable cost of being in a relationship. Having doubts do not make you a bad person, nor do they spell doom for your relationship in and of themselves.

The proper response to a doubt is not to instantly believe or discard it. Instead, examine what the doubt is, why you have it, and what evidence supports it. For example, if you doubt your partner’s fidelity, think about why and how ze would cheat on you. Very often our doubts are completely ridiculous and unfounded. It is very easy to hold a belief that has no evidence at all. These are the doubts that we much then discard. If there is actual evidence, then we must investigate further and see more information But only when there is real evidence.

I am in a blissfully happy relationship. In the rational parts of my brain, I know completely that my wife would never seek an outside sexual partner behind my back. But more than once a doubt of infidelity has appeared in the emotional areas in my head. Rather than deny these doubts, I have met them head on. I know my wife’s feelings and thoughts on our sex life because we have discussed it in the past and continue to discuss it into the future. It is a dynamic thing I am intimately familiar with (terrible pun intended). With this evidence, I can acknowledge my doubt, examine it, and safely discard it.

Do not fear your doubts. Being afraid of your doubts merely gives them strength. Instead, face them with evidence and rational thought. Only then can you really determine if they are founded in facts or folly. Only then can you decide what action is truly best for your relationship.

-That is all.

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