Learning to be alone is definitely a trait worth learning. For many people, from the time they are little – they are unable to find solitude and happiness in their own thoughts and time spent alone. As they grow up, this often equates to them constantly needing to feel as if they have to be partnered with another person romantically (or otherwise) in order to feel whole and happy. Unfortunately, for people who are afraid of being alone their lives become a constant string of relationships that has them bouncing from one person to the next. Even more concerning is that what they are looking for in another person, is in actuality something that they need to find in themselves before they will ever be able to have a successful romantic relationship with anyone else.
Are you afraid of being alone? Is your fear of being alone partly responsible for you choosing one bad relationship after another?
According to an article from Psychology Today, many adults who are afraid to be alone were raised by narcissistic parents who betrayed their trust in others. A fear of being alone is often directly related to upbringing. These people, according to experts, are in actuality looking to find trust in themselves, and self worth and positive self-esteem – and project those qualities outward. And of course, every mate will fall short. So when one relationship ends, they are instantly out hunting for another.
Additionally, the fear of being alone is one that is strongly stigmatized in main stream culture. There is a great deal of pressure for people to couple up, and that relationship status is systematically tied to self worth and success. In other words, society ‘tells us’ that if you are worthy of having a boyfriend or girlfriend – then you are worthy. Being alone is often thought of as weird, or some sort of personality failure. People begin to ask questions such as, “Will you ever get married,” or “Why don’t you have a BF/GF,” or even start trying to hook you up with other people. This gives off the sense that being alone is somehow not normal and definitely not ‘accepted’ behavior. The pressure to date and be with another person often starts at a very young age, and the pressures as one gets older can become even more intense. The last thing that someone wants to be labeled as is introverted or odd. And those that choose to be alone or don’t have a mate are often questioned about their sexuality as well.
Sadly, while there is tons of information available about how to find a mate, how to maintain a successful relationship, how to be a good partner, how to make a marriage last etc. there is not as much information that pertains to the most important relationship that you have, which is the one with yourself. This has led to so many people abandoning the self and never really taking the time to figure out whom they are, what they believe in, and what their purpose in life is.
In turn, people who abandon the self, who buy into the mirage that relationships are necessary for success – end up being in unhealthy and unhappy relationships because they fear the alternative is much, much worse. And, focusing your time and attention on someone else, and another relationship – is definitely easier than taking responsibility for themselves and their own happiness.
It’s a vicious circle. Experts believe that you have to begin to value your self, and to learn how to enjoy time being alone – in order to truly appreciate the company of others. When you know what you stand for, what you believe in, what you want in life – you can more easily choose partners with whom to have loving relationships with. For many people who stay in abusive relationships, whether emotional or physical – the true underlying cause is simply the fear of being alone. They choose the abuse over the feeling of being abandoned.
If you have been dating constantly for months at a time, going from one relationship to another – it might be time for some self-exploration. Start taking self help classes, reading self-help books and exploring the things that fulfill you. At first, you may not know where to start. But after time, you will begin to enjoy spending time alone. Try going to a restaurant by yourself, listening to your intuitive voice, and spending time learning to love who you are. Indulge in things to help you realize your creative talents, keep a diary of your thoughts, and try to increase your own self-esteem before embarking on yet another doomed relationship. Then and only then, will you be able to attract a partner who accepts you as well.
Dating is difficult enough. But when one person comes to the relationship looking to have another person fill a personal void within themselves, matters are complicated even more. Your dependency on ‘a mate’ for your happiness put undue stress and pressure on the person you are dating to ‘make YOU happy.’ No one in your life can make YOU happy unless you choose to make yourself happy first and foremost.
The fear of being alone is called being monophobic. The reasons that you are this way can be a result of upbringing, societal pressures, or even something as benign as coming from a large family where alone time was neither encouraged nor available. The good news is that with a little work on your part – you can get over this fear and realize that in good times and in bad, YOU are all you really need to be happy.