You've been with him for years.
You may be living together in hopes of marriage one day, or living separately but still exclusive. You don‘t worry about having a constant companion or about the lack of someone to lie beside each night. You've built a life with this person and on the surface (and social media) everything looks perfect. Your pictures seem right out of a dream world that might even incite envy in others.
But deep inside, something keeps nagging you. You try to quiet that voice but when you're alone it becomes too loud and too clear to deny. The scary part is that while you know acting on that inner intuition will disrupt your world forever, it still doesn't change what you feel in your heart:
You aren't happy, and you haven't been in a long time.
It could be due to infidelity, trust issues, constant arguments/disagreements, or even just that you've grown apart after years of co-existing. But the bottom line is you don't feel fulfilled, your needs are no longer being met, and you've become tired of forcing the fake smiles and manufacturing false happiness in front of friends and family. You want to feel ALIVE again, but the thought of facing each day by yourself terrifies you.
What do you do when you realize that you aren't happy in your relationship and want to move on, but you're just too afraid of being ALONE?
Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry solution to fix this situation, which is more common than most think. According to the Huffington Post, 40% of women fear being alone and Forbes reported that 1/3 of women fear loneliness more than a cancer diagnosis.
CANCER. Let that sink in for a moment.
This speaks volumes to the pressure a lot of women feel to be in a relationship, whether it's a good, healthy, and nurturing situation or not. When being alone is equated to a potentially life-threatening condition, the time has come to change the narrative once and for all.
What I would love all women to understand is that happiness is NOT defined by how your life looks to others, or even what others may THINK about the things you do. Living to please others is the equivalent to a dog chasing it's tail. You'll never be able to catch it to claim your joy and it will only leave you feeling tired, dizzy, and confused from the process. Staying in relationships because of how it looks to other people or for any reason other than you genuinely wanting to be there is robbing you of the beautiful life you‘ve been given.
Think about why you have a fear of being alone and ask yourself these questions:
- Is it actually a fear of being by myself, or more a fear of what others will think?
- Have I tied my happiness to my partner because I don't believe I'm capable of creating my own?
- Do I feel that I deserve a relationship that truly satisfies me and meets my needs?
Fear of loneliness has very little to do with an inability to let go of a partner you no longer desire, and EVERYTHING to do with how you feel about yourself. When you attach yourself to someone to project a sense of security, it's often a sign that you may not feel you are capable of creating that same security for yourself, or that you don't feel you are worthy of having it.
We are bombarded with images of the road to happiness for women as one that ends in a committed relationship or marriage and that having a man is where the ultimate security lies. While I don't believe there is anything wrong with desiring to share your journey with someone you love, when that becomes a woman's objective at all costs - whether the relationship is a healthy one or not - therein lies the REAL problem.
As women, our daughters and younger women in our lives are looking for us to set an example in their lives. It's important for us to show them that women are well-rounded individuals who are capable to surviving life, even when it means the journey is a solo one.
If you are unhappy in your relationship and only staying to avoid loneliness, here are 5 suggestions for activities to help you move past the fear of being alone:
#1 - Spend quality time with YOURSELF exploring your passions and interests
#2 -Spend quality time with your girlfriends and other cherished family members
#3 -Learn a new skill, language, or start a new hobby
#4 -Volunteer and interact with those less fortunate than you (this is an instant cure for perceived loneliness and one of the quickest ways to give you better perspective about your situation)
#5 - Start a Journal (extremely therapeutic and helpful in the process of moving through life-changing events)
Remember, fear shows up to let us know we have a subconscious feeling of inadequacy within ourselves that needs to be addressed, and CONQUERED. You have everything you need inside of you to survive walking away from what no longer serves you. In the end, you will be a stronger, more empowered FEARLESS woman because of your bravery to face what you feared the most.
And once you do, you become equipped with an unshakable confidence and inner strength that prohibits you from ever feeling powerless in any situatio, without your consen.