The fear of being alone brings up a variety of deep-seeded emotions that can make life miserable and add a monumental level of anxiety for many. Life is busy and full of distractions. The pull to be involved with another person brings us to a point of misery if we are not yet in a new relationship. Jumping right into a new relationship can be the last thing we should do.
Never replace being busy with doing things that lack meaning. Shortly after my my divorce I felt that I was broken and didn’t have anything to offer another person. I avoided dating and putting myself out there because I was overwhelmed with the thoughts that caused me confusion about who I was anymore. I sorted my life out and started asking the questions about what I wanted my life to be about for the next 20 years. It proved to be an irreplaceable step to healing and getting my bearings before heading into a new relationship without dealing with some internal battles that needed to be addressed.
To have a relationship full of meaning and rewards we must first realize that we are half of the new relationship. If the focus is getting someone else to complete us, then we have already lost the battle. The secret is to be complete and happy in ourselves first before heading into something new. Getting out there too early just leaves unresolved emotions and baggage that can be transferred to a new relationship. The fear of being alone is more about not wanting to dive into unresolved feelings we have, and until dealt with can just add another relationship to the “loss” category.
What can we do to overcome the stigma of being single?
- Realize that time invested in ourselves is hugely valuable to making decisions more accurately about where to go next.
- Notice that couples look happy often, but they also having problems brewing inside. The concept of being in a relationship is much different than actually being in one. Relax.
- Realize that bringing your best self to a new situation will be valuable because it allows us to have a chance to create something real with another person.
- No matter what happens in life, including breakups, we only have ourselves to rely on when the dust settles. If we live a mostly peaceful and happy life, we will have that no matter what the actions of others bring to our existence.
- When we don’t NEED someone else, daily life feels sweeter. Then when someone comes along, it is a partnership versus immediate gratification and the potential loss of another relationship. Take your time and find your way.
- Take the time to evaluate what you really want in each area of your life. Make the focus on you. When you are happy, know your intention for areas of your life, and are living your own truth, that is when a person who is right for you will appear.
- Remember, you are not broken. No matter how society makes you feel or tells you who you should be, you have time to decide that for yourself. Don’t rush it. Take time to figure out what is right for you. Rushed decisions bring stress.
- Start by taking small steps into activities that YOU enjoy.
Removing the pressure of other people’s opinions can do wonders. Sitting quietly with a good book and taking time to reflect on what is right for you is never lost time. It is an investment in the future.
After a breakup or divorce when we are in the position of getting dumped, we often feel like we can’t breathe or function without having the other person in our lives. It goes much deeper than we think in terms of the attachment to the other person. Obviously, we want to pull our focus to something more important that will better our lives, but it isn’t always that easy.
In addition to only considering positive memories from our past relationship, there is also a chemical addiction to the other person. Dopamine is being released in the brain due to the feelings of love. This reaction happens both in short and long-term intimate relationships. In 2011 Stony Brook University in New York conducted a study to do MRIs on couples married an average of 21 years. The same areas of the brain that are centered around dopamine activity continued to fire off, but with less stress since the relationship became more comfortable and predictable. So, again, chemical influences were involved and a breakup could create a biological tie to the partner who wanted the breakup. The lesson is that we are more involved with the person because of some level of chemical dependency.
Don’t be too hard on yourself with thinking you were stuck on a person like it was a will issue. Knowing that that getting over the breakup is the goal, we still need to hold ourselves accountable for moving forward in life. We can start seeing that the future can be inspiring and fulfilling simultaneously.
It is funny how we remember all of the good times we had with our ex partner, but seem to forget the miserable components of the relationship. Adding to us favoring the good times, we feel rejection from the breakup and pursue the other person because our soul feels at a deficit for the moment. Just remember that feelings and chemical reactions are a normal part of the breakup. It doesn’t mean the other person is the answer to the problems. It just feels that way.
To get some separation in your mind there is a simple exercise you can do. The first thing is to get a pen and pad of paper and list all of the things that you did not enjoy about being with the other person. You can think of values that were difference, habits they had that drove you crazy, times when you were hurt because of their thoughts and behaviors in the relation, and anything you can think of that was not a good fit for you.
Another thing that I live by is creating a gratitude list of everything in your life, without that other person, that shows you there is more there than just a relationship. Think of what you do have and it is easier to forget about what is missing. You are half of what made a relationship work, so you have to remember that piece of you is still alive. Just start focusing on the life you want from here forward and pull yourself out of the dumps.
After a breakup the toughest times of the year can be discovering we are single around the holidays. It gets worse when we attend an event and we see other couples who we perceive are happy and it adds to our loneliness. It is also difficult if kids are involved and it is not our schedule with the kids. Whatever the situation, we dread it because we perceive something is missing. Anytime we are focused on what is missing we find emotions that do not support us.
I have had two long-distance relationships in a row. My current girlfriend lives in Los Angeles and with me living in Denver it seems like there are not enough flights back and forth to keep consistent emotions on a high. There are nights where I simply miss her and a phone does nothing to make it better. I usually experience it in small sections of time, but it is painful. I will not have her for thanksgiving this year and I realize it represents thankfulness and gratitude.
How can we overcome these feelings?
When we feel lonely or under a wall of negative emotions it is difficult to “just feel better.” So, the focus needs to change drastically. I always start with a list of what I am grateful for. It is hard to stay in bad emotions when thinking about what we DO have. I was at a place where I had nobody. I focused on being with family and friends who didn’t make me feel worse about my breakup. List all that you are grateful for, or could be if you wanted. Obviously my worries are smaller now since I have a person in my life, but even when I was coping with being single (divorced) after the initial feelings of being dumped, I started to learn to change my focus.
Contrasting also helps. There is always someone else in a more terrible existence. This ties into having gratitude, but is also a standalone topic. Be willing to look at how good you have it compared to others.
Fix new meaning on the holiday. Instead of focusing on what is missing, find an intention heading into the holiday. Intend to connect with a friend better. Spend the time just fully being immersed in the gathering. If you are alone, pick some of your favorite songs and love every minute. Or pick a great movie to watch. Create a new ritual until life changes for you. There are so many great things to concentrate on.
When I reflect back on my divorce after 26 years, I realize I was experiencing emotions that kept me in a living hell. I was not ready to see the things that were great in my life. I just had the same behaviors day-after-day and really stepped into the role of being a victim nicely. Patterns take over and the accumulated period of unfulfilled living took over.
A friend of mine once told me, “If you want to get ahead in life, study helicopters.” I asked him if he was smoking something. He said, “The problem is that in life we tend to say, do, and live in lives that are the same as the day before. By stepping out of what we are used to and expanding to curiosity and living a larger life, we can get our zest back.
What he was stating was that the only way to live a better life or have a better career we have to expose ourselves to more than we have previously seen. Industries often have set practices for customer service, marketing, fulfillment, and companies in a particular tend to copy each other. The key is to study other industries and see what is different that could be applicable to your own industries. We can also do this in our lives.
Start reading books you wouldn’t normally read. Expose yourself to a variety of education and activities. Soon you may find a new “favorite” thing to do that you had never experienced before. Make your breakup the start of exploration. Find your real soul in the process. Remind yourself to stay out of the ruts.
Do something today that is new and enjoy every minute of the process.