There are many reasons you may be choosing to stay in a relationship where we are unhappy or being disrespected – financial concerns, fear for your safety (which should absolutely be taken seriously), and shame over what others may think. But, another reason you may be staying in an unhealthy relationships is the fear of being alone.
We often fear that if we leave our spouse or partner, we will end up alone – and therefore lonely – forever. You may believe this because your partner told you that no one would ever love you again – a common threat used by abusive partners. Or, you may fear it for much deeper reasons – reasons which often stem from our childhoods.
The fear of being alone is really a fear of not being good enough on your own. We often receive validation from our partners – proof that we are worthy enough of someone’s love and attention. We also may only see our life as valuable when we are sharing it with another person. The first step in moving past this fear is to realize that you are worthy on your own, and do not need proof or validation from anyone else – especially someone who does not respect you or treat you well. Also, it’s important to realize that you deserve your own love and attention, as well.
We also sometimes feel afraid of being alone because we fear that it means we aren’t loved – or, even worse, aren’t lovable. Especially if you had a less-than-loving childhood, you may fear that being alone proves that you aren’t good enough for someone else to love. But, choosing to be alone and love yourself actually proves that you are strong and know your own worth. It proves that you are capable of caring for yourself, and showing yourself the love you deserve. And it proves that you are willing to set appropriate boundaries and stand up for what you deserve.
One basic way to move past the fear of being alone is to get comfortable being by yourself. It’s important to realize that your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have. So, nourish that relationship. Take yourself out on dates. Go out to eat, go shopping, go to the movies, or just go for a walk in the park – by yourself. Keep doing this until it becomes comfortable, even enjoyable. You will soon realize that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. And as you begin to enjoy more activities on your won, you will never feel lonely, because you’ll enjoy your own company.
Also, challenge your belief that ending this relationship means you’ll never be with someone else. You have probably been through a breakup before. Did you think you’d be alone forever then, too? Maybe. In fact, this is a fear we often have during the end of any relationship. Yet, each time, we heal, move forward, and inevitably meet someone else. There are over seven billion people on this planet – you are guaranteed to meet many more who you are attracted to and interested in, and who are attracted to and interested in you, also.
As you start to get comfortable by yourself, and realize that you will (of course) find love again, it is essential to get clear on what you want (and don’t want) in your next relationship. Start to visualize your ideal partner. How would they treat you? How would you feel in this relationship? Getting clear on what you do and do not want is a great way to make decisions about your current relationship, and also to open your eyes to the person who may be better for you.
Don’t let the fear of being alone keep you in a relationship with someone who does not deserve your love or loyalty. You deserve to be loved and respected, all the time.