Uncertainty in a Relationship

Uncertainty in a Relationship

You may be uncertain about your life or some aspects of your relationship. But, what is uncertainty?

Relationships are uncertain by nature. When you are involved with another person, you want to make sure that your relationship is healthy, that is working and it has a future. While it’s great to plan your relationship, with time feelings and circumstances change. You have a choice worrying about the changes or see them as a natural process and adapt to them.

In this article, you will learn about uncertainty in a relationship, what is causing it and what is the best way to deal it.

What Is Uncertainty?

Uncertainty is the state of being uncertain. But, what does this mean?

Let’s explain what is the state of being. The state of being refers to the quality of your present experience. The state of being describes something that is happening to you right now, your feelings and emotions.

You can think of your state of being as the things that are happening to you physically, not mentally, it regards only your feelings.

The state of being: the emotions/thinking you experience depends on:

  • Your will power
  • Understanding
  • Knowledge of self and external topic in question, values and beliefs.

When you are uncertain it means that you are unsure of something. This something is unknown, undecided or doubtful.

When you are uncertain, you may be experiencing certain emotions:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Doubts
  • Judgements

So, may need:

  • Balance
  • Stability
  • Contentment
  • Evaluation
  • Calculation

What Is Uncertainty in a Relationship?

The need for certainty comes from the need of safety, which is our most basic survival need that underlies all needs (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). Uncertainty in itself is a sign that you may have an unfulfilled need for safety, stability and predictability.

Uncertainty then tells you that there’s something you need to address in your life or in your relationship.

What makes uncertainty so powerful is its relation with safety. This is the reason why it has a lot of influence over your behaviour. When we feel uncertain we feel unsaved. Then, the priority is to go back to safety, which in the meantime translates as uncertainty.

However, uncertainty is an illusion. In reality what you actually expect is the probability of something happening in a certain way.

What Causes Uncertainty in a Relationship?

Uncertainty can be caused by external circumstances and people.

There are two origins of uncertainty in a relationship external causes and internal causes.

Uncertainty is a fundamental aspect of our lives. It becomes more emphasised when we are facing decisions. The more significant the decision, the more uncertain we feel about making the right choice.

If you are feeling uncertain, the first thing you need to do is identifying the cause. Ask yourself if it has anything to do with something that is happening inside of you? Is it a result of something happening in your relationship or in some other aspects of your life?

Let’s have a look a some of the common causes of uncertainty:

External causes of uncertainty

  • Circumstances
    • Money
    • Work
    • Location

  • People
    • Internal world
    • Family, friends and partners

Internal causes of uncertainty

  • Unfulfilled needs
  • Perception of your circumstances
  • Individual patterns of thinking
  • Behaviour
  • Goals, values and beliefs

What causes uncertainty?

  • Fear
  • Change
  • Unfulfilled needs
  • Previous relationship experiences

How Does Uncertainty Affect a Relationship?

Relationship Problems Caused by Uncertainty

The way uncertainty affects your relationship depends on how you deal with this uncertainty. Rather than on the uncertainty itself. The way uncertainty affects your relationship depends on how you deal with it.

The effects are all the things you are not dealing with in a healthy way. With awareness you can see if what you have been doing or the way you have been responding is beneficial for you or not. Then, you can decide if you want to change things or stay the same.

Uncertainty can affect your relationship in two ways:

  • Constructive
  • Destructive

Signs of Uncertainty in a Relationship

As uncertainty is a state of being, it requires your self-awareness. You need to pick on certain feelings inside of you which are associated with that state of being uncertain.

You may not be fully acknowledging that uncertainty is having physical and mental effects on your health. However, these signs can be related to other causes. You may need to become aware first that there are things in your relationship that you are uncertain about.

Uncertainty can physically manifest as:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches

Uncertainty can emotionally manifest as:

  • Worry
  • Anxiety
  • Doubts
  • Emotional distress
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Depression

How to Deal with Uncertainty in a Relationship?

The only way you can deal with uncertainty is by embracing it. Uncertainty is the fact of our reality. But, even then, we humans, tend to feel uncomfortable with uncertainty as it is something that is unpredictable. This means we have no control over any given situation.

When we feel certain of something, we are feeling empowered from knowing that something may go in a certain way. While, we all need a degree of certainty to feel empowered and in control, we also need to embrace that uncertainty is part of our reality.

A relationship is a dynamic process. A romantic relationship is an interaction between two (or more) people who have romantic feeling for each other. Nonetheless, each person is an individual with their our needs, beliefs and preferences. Everyone has a certain degree of flexibility (some more than others). It is within the boundaries of this flexibility that healthy relationships are possible.

This is also an area of the most uncertainty as we can’t control other’s preferences and decisions. And here is where good communication can help you navigate your relationship to make sure you are staying within boundaries of each other’s preferences.

Planning for example can give us a degree of certainty, which in turn helps us feel in control of the situation. This empowerment can give us the push we need to proceed with a certain choice in a specific direction.

Sure, a long the way, things may change and that’s OK. But, at least we can navigate this change and make more educated decisions and healthier choices.

You can deal with uncertainty in two ways by thinking and become aware of it or by being emotional about it.

When you think, your thoughts can be rational or irrational, Rational thoughts are facts based. Irrational thoughts are based on preconceived notions, past experiences, beliefs and indoctrinations.

When you deal with emotional uncertainty, the emotions will have a gradient of intensity. This in turn will create a positive feedback to the uncertainty itself intensifying it, making it more unbearable.

How to Communicate Uncertainty in a Relationship?

  1. Identify the cause of your uncertainty, what are unsure about
  2. See if it’s something practical or if it’s more of a worry that you have
  3. Check if this uncertainty is related to you, your partner or your relationship
  4. Ask your partner about their perspective in the situation
  5. Try to address it together or send us a message and we can help

If you are feeling uncertain about a specific area of your relationship is important you share it with your partner, as you are in it together.

How Do You Embrace Uncertainty in a Relationship?

While uncertainty may come with having certain doubts and worries. It also makes your relationship more exciting. If everything about your relationship is obvious and predictable, the lack of exploration and adventure can make your relationship boring.


It may be difficult to recognise the signs that uncertainty is becoming toxic. You may not give much attention to your constant feeling of anxiety on the hope that it’s not a big deal, it may pass soon and things will get better. The reality is, if you don’t pay attention early enough it can have a detrimental effect on your physical and mental health.

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with uncertainty is finding out what exactly is causing it. Once you know the reason for your uncertainty, you will be in a position to deal with it in a constructive way.

A relationship coach can help you bring some clarity to your situation. You can work with your partner and make an educated decision going forward and getting your relationship on track. You will get the reassurance that you are making the right choice and taking the best decision for yourself, your partner and your relationship given your situation.

Get Help Dealing with Uncertainty in Your Relationship

Tips to Deal with Uncertainty in Your Relationship

  • Recognise that uncertainty is a part of life
  • Uncertainty can come from doubts, and can manifest as worry.
  • It helps to know the source of your doubts and worries
  • Discuss the uncertainties with your partner, as in your relationship they tend to affect both of you

If you don’t know how to deal with this fear and you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I feel so uncertain in my relationship?

You may feel uncertain because something about your relationship isn’t working or because you tend to worry a lot about everything.

How to accept uncertainty in relationships?

By recognising that uncertainty is part of life. Relationships are uncertain and unpredictable by their nature. As our feelings constantly change and our circumstances develop we are constantly reassessing.
Instead of focusing in uncertainty, which causes worry. Try to identify things that you can control like planning your life and your relationship.
By developing these new habits you can learn to be ok with uncertainty and may even start to enjoy it.

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