I stayed in my marriage for years beyond I should have.
Why? I never thought I could find someone like her again. We were married for 7 years before our marriage unraveled. It was in the fateful 7th year when we did separate and ultimately divorce.
All of my biggest fears about love unfolded at that time. I was losing someone special and would never be able to find someone like her again. I was losing out on a great person and it was all my fault. It would be impossible to meet other people that came close to who she was. She was a one-of-a-kind person and someone I’d consider my soulmate.
Many of these thoughts and feelings consumed my life and made the breakup life-crushing. It made me wonder what the point of life itself was when the best relationship I’d had ended.
Fear and crippling self-doubt
Nearly a decade later, I couldn’t have realized how wrong I had been about our previous relationship. I had some twisted thoughts about love and relationships that were simply not true.
I have found plenty of people that I’ve dated since then that have been much better fits for me and I could have great relationships with. I found more compatibility with other people since my divorce. I found so many qualities and characteristics that were more similar to mine and people I enjoyed spending time with.
Each and every relationship I’ve had since the divorce was better than the marriage. “How could this be?” I’ve wondered to myself. How could I have been so wrong about the person that I had married and so wrong about my belief that she was the best life partner for me?
What I’ve come to realize as I’ve examined more of my fears at the time is that the biggest fear that I had was that I would never be able to find anyone at all. I wouldn’t be able to find love again and that I would be alone for the rest of my life. This fear of loneliness and missing out on any partner drove my decision-making for years of my life.
The consequences of thinking someone is better than no one
Not only in that marriage but in other relationships since that time, I have seen myself making excuses, justifying behavior, and setting aside red flags for people that I was dating.
One woman I went out with a couple of times was not the best choice for me. She was a corporate lawyer and living a luxurious life, far removed from my preference for simple living and social justice. Yet I continued to talk to her and keep in touch with her in hopes that we could find some common ground.
While we were interested in each other, I knew she was not the right person for me. The only reason that I continued the conversation and stayed in touch was that I was deeply afraid.
As I was moving to my late 30’s, I was plagued by the worst fear of all: the fear of not finding someone and being alone my entire life.
This fear of missing out on “the romantic relationship” of my life or “my happily ever after” has constantly made me want to settle for the person in front of me. It’s made me want to find creative ways to justify or accept the person I was getting to know.
It’s made me imagine people as good fits when they were not. It’s allowed my imagination to run wild with what’s possible. The fear of losing out on a life partner has had me chasing and settling for the wrong people.
How to overcome the fear of being alone forever
So much of our decision-making about relationships has to do with fear.
One of the biggest fears people have is being alone and never finding a partner. We compensate for this by trying to find the best available partner for us right now, knowing that having someone, anyone, in our life is better than no one.
The way to overcome this fear of not finding anyone is to first find ourselves and become our own best partner.
When you love and fully accept yourself, you’ll realize that you can overcome your worst fears. You’ll realize that you don’t absolutely need a partner for love and happiness when you have yourself.
This has been the biggest work that I’ve done since my divorce years ago.
I have learned to get comfortable with who I am and be comfortable being by myself. This path to self-acceptance led me to do the emotional, spiritual, and life work to be happy by myself, which included:
Going to therapy so I could heal the emotional wounds and trauma from my early life
Rebuilding my self-esteem, affirming who I was as a person, and changing the way I spoke to myself
Going within to heal spiritually
Getting to know myself better and connecting with the soulful nature
Spending more time with myself, treating myself with gentleness, and recognize the soulful nature of my being
Recognizing that everything I needed and wanted was already within me.
Going after my dreams of being a writer and a coach.
As a result, I even made big life decisions such as leaving my work as a lawyer and pursuing my creative life. I was able to discover my values and living more in alignment with them.
I started prioritizing the essentials and living my life so I was happy and fulfilled every day.
As for my love life, I have dated others who have come into my life and have had wonderful relationships but it wasn’t from place of desperation and need. I didn’t feel the need to settle with the wrong person because I would not find anyone at all. I always had myself and that was more than enough.
Yes, a partner can enhance your life but they aren’t necessary to complete it. Yes, they can add a lot to your life but your life will be just fine even if there’s not a romantic partner in it.
Instead of fearing the worst-case scenario of not having a partner, why not get to know yourself, date yourself, and become the best person you can be for yourself. Treat yourself like a partner would treat you. Have the life you would have even if there was no romantic partner in it. Build a life that’s meaningful and fulfilling.
The way to overcome the fear of missing out on love is to find the courage to build a life you love.
Creating the life that you want with the people that you want is a fertile ground for attracting the partner that you want. When you have a rich, healthy, and fulfilled life, a partner won’t feel like a requirement but an enhancement.
Stop settling for the wrong romantic partners who aren’t compatible with you. Stop making decisions on future partners based on the fear of missing out on a relationship.
Start creating a life where you are at peace with yourself and are your own best partner. Start making decisions on future partners based on love and possibilities.
Been in a situation where you made bad relationship choices because of fear? Leave me a comment below.