3 Reasons We Can't Make Up Our Minds

Whether it's marital relationship or lunch, decisions have the right to flummox you. Time to action up.

Posted July 16, 2015


Amy and Jack have actually been living together for 3 years. They seem to be doing well together, however Amy is getting impatient. She wants to obtain married and also begin having actually children, however Jack hesitates. Their instance typifies your timeless instance of commitmentphobia, right?

Maybe, yet there’s something else at job-related here. You check out, it transforms out that Jack doesn’t just waffle roughly marital relationship, he deserve to waffle around anything—taking a new project, buying a new shirt, whether to go for the special at Arby’s, or what to bring to the company picnic. The problem is that Jack is indecisive overall, not just around Amy or marriage.

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Why is Jack so afrhelp to just be bold and also jump in?

Here are 3 feasible reasons for his hesitation (and possibly yours)—and their solutions:

1. Making a large mistake. Jack’s head might live in "The World of Right." He concerns that marital relationship or project will certainly cause regret and also "The Land also of Woes." In his mind:

The shirt could not fit after it is washedThe Arby"s distinct will taste awful and also he’ll regret his stupidity and recklessness for the following two daysHe’ll bring the precise exact same dish to the picnic as 3 various other human being, and his will be untouched.

While namong this is likely to take place, he concerns that it could, and over the emotional aftermath of making a "mistake." He gets immobilized.

Solution: Jack thinks that he demands to anticipate all these possibilities, ad infinitum, and also have actually a solution to each of them, prior to he deserve to act. For him, eextremely decision is just as essential as eincredibly other. What he demands to perform is to take the risk of being decisive. He needs to train his brain to check out that the daily problems that might aclimb on the job or marriage are sindicate new troubles, not reminders of his poor choices. The shirt, picnic, the Arby"s order—all of these may be great finding out experiences, teaching him to move up a dimension on the shirt, skip Arby"s, or store it easy and just lug a six-pack to the picnic.

2. Others might be hurt or upset. Maybe it"s not really are afraid of making a large mistake. Maybe Jack is dithering about marital relationship because he feels that sex (and in its entirety affection, for that matter) through Amy has actually never been that good. He doesn’t verbalize these comes to, though, bereason he fears hurting her feelings. And the staff picnic? Well, he"d quite skip the entirety thing, however he"s worried that his colleagues will think he is standoffish. Aobtain, paralyzed. Trapped by a difficulty and an emotion.

Solution: Amy will certainly likely be hurt by Jack"s criticism of their sex life. But later she might appreciate that his honesty is preferable to holding it in. She may realize (as hopetotally Jack will certainly, too) that this is part of experimentation and forming a strong relationship—that each perboy deserve to weather the other"s honesty and also fix troubles together.

Just like the significant mistake, Jack demands to attempt reasoning that Part 1 of his method is speaking up; Part 2 is helping Amy address her hurt—a brand-new trouble. Ditto via his colleagues: He can take the threat of saying that he is bowing out of the picnic, and also then gauge the reaction. If they give him a tough time, then he have the right to plan how to tackle this as a brand-new difficulty.

3. He’s conflicted. In this version, Jack clearly has actually a mix of feelings, they all are jumbled up, and he can’t sort them out. Marriage, potato salad, blue shirt vs. white shirt—it doesn’t matter. Being "right" or worrying around others" reactions may add to his paralysis, however Jack might ssuggest be overwhelmed and also unclear what to execute through so many kind of options and eactivities. He’s in that murky state of ambivalence. He’s likely reasoning about this way too much; he has actually a tough time separating the essential from the less essential.

Solution: The antidote to ambivalence is action. He demands to pick…something. Set a date for the marriage and view what happens. Commit to the potato salad and also realize that at worst he’ll have it for lunch the next day. Buy the blue shirt, don’t wash it, hang it up and stare it for a few days, and gauge exactly how his feelings change.


This is all around obtaining out the mental fog. Through action you gain closer to how you really feel. If that the action itself is too overwhelming, Jack have the right to still ramp it up by establishing a date to act. For instance, he might give the relationship another six months and also use that has actually a drop-dead time for making a clear decision.

Of course, there’s a parallel procedure and also story going on here: Amy’s own indecisiveness.

See more: What Is The Difference Between "On The Tra In The Train Or On The Train On / In

Where Jack appears hesitant to jump in, Amy might be doubtful to jump out. Ambivalence have the right to be infectious. Maybe it"s time for her to be decisive?


Bob Taibbi, L.C.S.W., has 45 years of clinical endure. He is the writer of 11 books and also over 300 short articles and offers training nationally and also around the world.



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