Before I learned how my mind worked, negative thoughts used to torment me. Some of the common thoughts were:
(While driving) "I could totally swerve into the oncoming traffic right now and kill myself."
"What separates me from a serial killer? What if I grew up to be one?"
"Why do I keep getting headaches? Is it an aneurysm?"
...and so on.
Why did I have these thoughts? A shrink explained that everyone gets negative thoughts, I just tended to hold on to them and ruminate over them because I had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I felt liberated when I learned that everyone gets "negative" thoughts. The doctor urged me to remember: "a thought is just a thought, it's not an action. Thoughts come and go, and you don't act on every thought." And he was right. I learned to accept the negative thoughts, and all the stress and internal mental analysis and hypochondria they caused melted away.
Considering negative thoughts are common in all of us, it stands to reason that both participants in committed relationships second guess their significant other and the relationship on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis. I'm often annoyed at a girlfriend, or wonder if we should carry on after a bad experience or two. When do these second thoughts turn into action? Here are some "second thought" moments I remember:
Second Thoughts At Crossroads
Many of us hit that mid-life crisis crossroad and wonder where half of our life went. Have we done everything we wanted to do? Should we make a change before it's too late?
At a recent family gathering, I was speaking with a relative who is married with children. She explained that she loved her life and family, but things happened quickly and she regretted not pursuing certain career paths and traveling more when she was single. She advised me to be 110% sure I am ready to settle down when I actually go for it. Her thoughts are natural, but it alarmed me that I would hear this from someone who was happily married with kids.
Second Thoughts Down The Aisle and In Early Marriage
My mom and aunt (the blueberry muffin aunt) recently told me what they were thinking when they walked down the aisle:
Mom: "What the hell am I doing?"
I always imagined that brides and grooms walked down the aisle with their minds filled with bliss. But maybe that long, slow procession gives you time to reflect and wonder what it all means. I wonder how many brides/grooms wonder if they should turn around and run the opposite way back up the aisle.
My sister and her husband were once arguing over something mundane right after they were married. My sister turned to me, frustrated, and said:
"Yeah, the first year is the hardest."
Because it's fresh and new, it seems like couples should be at their happiest in that first year. But it's a huge life change and a couple is adjusting to that reality that sometimes turns out to be different than we imagined.
Second Thoughts Throughout Marriage
One of my best high school friends is the youngest of three. Every time we hung out at her house, everything was fine between her parents. Right after my friend graduated college, her parents filed for divorce. Apparently, their plan all along was to divorce after their youngest child graduated college. They did a great job of hiding the unhappiness of their marriage from us kids.
People have fears and second thoughts all through life. So whether it's that attractive person you met on a business trip, the urge for freedom to pursue a dream unfulfilled, or lack of excitement as your marriage tenure lengthens, second thoughts abound. It's a scary proposition when things seem to be going well on the outside. I find it impossible not to have second thoughts whether a relationship is going well or not going well. I can only conclude that any relationship contains an element of a "leap of faith".
Do you agree that we all get second thoughts at all levels of a relationship? What kinds of second thoughts do you get? And, when does this little thought turn into an action? Do we take action when a specific thought continues to haunt us during a healthy relationship? Or do second thoughts grow out of an unhappy relationship? Do you agree with my "leap of faith" theory?
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