…otherwise known as the fear of being alone. This person goes from one relationship to another. They can’t remember the last time they were single for more than a few days a time. Usually this person only leaves a relationship if they have another one waiting in the wings. Where does this fear come from? How much control does it have over your life?
First of all, any fear will have control over your life. Most people will go to great lengths to avoid the things they fear. In this case, a person will avoid being single even if they are in bad relationships time after time.
This fear may come from watching a parent go from one relationship to another. You may have been told that you “need” to be in a relationship to feel good about yourself. You may have always had someone to do things with, so it may seem scary to do things on your own. You may like the feeling of “being taken care of”. You may think you will never find anyone else and be alone forever. The fear of the unknown is the biggest factor that leads people to stay in the same situation even if it isn’t for the best.
I have worked with students who keep getting into unhealthy relationships. They meet someone during or really soon after a break-up. This new person listens and is there for them in their time of need. Soon they fall in love and begin a new relationship. Only to find out a few months later they are in the same bad pattern as the last relationship.
This can happen because there are people out there (some consciously, other unconsciously) that look for vulnerable people. How vulnerable are you when you are going through a break up? VERY! When you are down and out this person can seem like an angel come to rescue you. You need them and that makes them feel good. This however sets up an unequal relationship. They are the one in control, while you are the one who relies on them at the moment. As time goes on, a person recovers from a break-up and feels stronger. What happens if a person is attracted to vulnerable people and you are no longer vulnerable?
The person has to gain the power back. They do this by putting you down or always having to one up you. This can cause you doubt yourself even more. You start to feel trapped in the relationship, but your fear of being alone can grow even stronger. You remain in the unhealthy relationship longer than you want to, and can only leave if you are able to find someone else.
I’ve said this before, the only way to fight a fear is to face it. You have to be alone to overcome the fear of being alone. It is scary. You will feel great anxiety at first and this is why you’ve avoided being single for so long. If it was easy, you wouldn’t be a serial dater!! You may need help in the form of friends, family or a professional counselor to get you through the first few weeks. You will need to stay busy and have a lot of emotional support.
The thing about fear is that your brain can become habituated to it. It won’t be able to produce the same amount of anxiety in your body over time and your confidence will start to grow. You will be able to tolerate being alone a lot easier within a few weeks as the fear starts to subside. Almost like recovery from an addiction, your mind becomes stronger as the weeks go by. It will make you feel proud to do things on your own. You will have more time for your friends and school. When you feel confident and good about yourself while being single you will attract someone who values your independence. In time you may decide to get back into a relationship because you want to, not because you have to. It is a lot healthier to do it this way. Then if something ever happens to that relationship, you will know you can survive on your own. You won’t feel so dependent on someone else to make you happy. It is such a freedom to not feel so needy! So go ahead, take the leap and find out for yourself that you can be single and happy!