Being alone sparks a fear in all of us. As humans, we desire to be in a community. However, you may find yourself jumping from one relationship to the next. No one wants to admit they have a fear of being single because it’s like admitting one of your biggest weaknesses. Yet, when we see one of our friends tumbling from relationship to relationship without catching their breath, we squirm. It’s uncomfortable, but you have to look at in yourself as well.
So, if you find that you’ve never been able to stay single for more than a month or two, this is for you. Here’s how to get over your fear of being single.
Ultimately, recognize the deep, hidden fears.
The fear of being single is just an umbrella fear. Think of it like the top layer: if you peel it back, you’ll find the underlying fears, which tend to be much scarier than the top layer. There’s the fear that there’s really no one out there for you and you have to jump at whoever comes along because, ultimately, who can really love you? There’s the fear of missing out because all your friends are in relationships. There’s the fear of being stuck with your own thoughts because, hey, if there’s someone else in the picture, you can focus on their issues and “be there for them”. There’s the fear of being seen as a loser because, hell, you’re in your 20s or 30s and just can’t seem keep a relationship. There’s the fear of your ex finding someone else who’s perfect for them and 1000x better than you, so you’d rather beat him to the punch.
I’m sure there’s more. I’m sure most of those struck some chords. But realize that these fears are natural. Just because you’re afraid does not mean you have to succumb to these fears. Control your emotions and stop holding yourself captive to your own mind.
Feel the hard things.
Those fears are part of the hard things. The other hard things are what you’re running from every time you avoid single-hood. What are you trying not feel? You’re covering up the negatives by overwhelming your brain with a positive (the little “feel-goods” we get at the start of a new relationship, aka “the honeymoon phase”). You may have brought in another person because you don’t want to focus on your issues, which seem looming and daunting. Deep down, you may want to distract yourself with someone else’s issues, which you call “being there for them” (a phrase you use frequently, I might add).
Let me give it to you straight: You’re forever going to have shit relationships if you keep avoiding the hard things. With everyone. You’re forever going to feel like the victim. You’re forever going to running through an emotional roller coaster. So, would you rather spend some time dealing with the hard things or would you rather have several failing relationships before settling on some trainwreck? Your pick.
Acknowledge (and appreciate) your flaws.
Hop off the perfectionist bandwagon. I know it’s tempting, especially with social media being such a presence. You have to realize that people choose what they present to the world. The age of social media creates this pseudo-idea that everyone has these perfect little lives and NEVER make mistakes.
Acknowledging your flaws is acknowledging that you are unique and human. Get comfortable with your flaws. If you get comfortable with them, no one can use them against you. If you become appreciative of your flaws, you can enter into honest and authentic relationships. Ultimately, it’s important that you feel good enough and you feel like you are enough. Not what you do or who you hope to be in the future, but you, right now, raw form, are enough. Acknowledge your flaws and believe in that.
Discover what you love and do it alone.
If you haven’t spent a lot of time single, you probably aren’t sure what to even do with your free time. This may be part of the reason you jump into another relationship right away. It feels “natural”. That’s because you’ve spent so much of your time perfecting your relationship game and being aware of someone else’s desires that you’ve lost touch of your own.
Start going out and doing things by yourself. Do it because you want to. Go travel to a new place. Discover a new hobby. Find a new hiking trail. Yes, it’s fun to use friends as distractors post-break-up, but it’s also important that you get comfy with the idea of being alone. Conquer your fear and go at it, alone.
Make a vow to yourself: let it go.
We’ve all seen the movies where two friends promise each other that if they’re not married by the time they’re 30, they vow to marry each other. Hey, maybe that’s even real life for you. But it’s not realistic to set up relationship goals for yourself. By doing this, you’re completely closing off opportunities for the good stuff: the really good, authentic relationships.
Make a different vow by vowing that you will honor yourself and who you are before your need to be in a romantic relationship. Love yourself first. You can only give what you have and if you don’t appreciate and love yourself to the extent of your abilities, then what are you giving away? Let go of your need to be someone’s partner. Let go of the idea that singlehood is a shameful state. Release yourself from your own trap and feel free.