Imagine having dinner with friends. While catching up, you listen to them talk about their wonderful, positive relationships. When it’s your turn, they ask, ‘So how about you’? You pause and realize you’re the ONLY one who isn’t happy with your relationship. Come to think of it, you’ve been settling for someone just for the sake of being in a relationship and deep down you’re afraid of being alone. Feeling discouraged you say, everything’s great and quickly change the subject.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. There are many reasons people stay in unfulfilling relationships, but the most common is the fear of being alone. Deciding to leave an unhealthy relationship is tough, which is why many partners stay for much longer than desired. In my practice, I see lots of clients struggling with the fear of being alone and they’re often consumed by the ‘what ifs’. What if I never find the right partner? What if I’m single forever? What if I break it off and I’m even more miserable? What if this partner is the best I can find?
Fear can trap you if you let it. Ironically, you can feel even more alone in an unhealthy relationship than no relationship at all. Regardless of your relationship status, here are 3 strategies to get over the fear of being alone:
1) Reconnect with Yourself. One of the most important relationships you will ever have is the one with yourself. Discover what makes you happy by focusing on personal growth and professional development. Explore your interests, passions and aspirations. Be positive and have patience! When you least expect it, you’ll attract the right partner.
2) Evaluate Your Relational Belief System. Explore your relationship beliefs and values with the following questions. Where did you learn about relationships? What does a healthy relationship mean to you? What’s your relationship wish list? Do you have realistic expectations? If you need additional help changing your beliefs and relationship patterns, contact a therapist.
3) Visualize Yourself in a Healthy Relationship. Visualization is a powerful tool for making your dreams become reality! Imagine being in a healthy, loving relationship where your needs are being met. Journaling, collaging or creating a vision board can help your vision become more concrete.
Whatever you do, don’t settle! You deserve a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
Kate Campbell, PhD, LMFT
Bayview Therapeutic Services, PA