Whether you’ve dated online, gone through a rough divorce, or been repeatedly disappointed by men, the fear of ending up alone is all too real. While there’s nothing wrong with living your best life as a single woman, there’s also nothing wrong with admitting you prefer having a life partner. Someone to make you coffee. Someone to take you hiking. Someone to plan dinner and pick up the check on Saturday night.
Sometimes it feels like there are only two bad choices: to be in an unhappy relationship or to embrace being single forever.
I want to posit a third path that leads to greater happiness. Finding a partner who takes care of you and makes you feel safe. If that sounds better than being alone, yet you’re still alone, you’re likely paralyzed by fear.
In two decades of coaching high-achieving women, I've seen this paralysis hinder your ability to find love. Let’s explore four signs that suggest you're afraid of ending up alone and my guidance on how to overcome these fears.
One of the telltale signs of fearing loneliness is settling for less in your relationships. You might find yourself staying in an unfulfilling partnership simply to avoid being alone. While it's natural to seek companionship, you shouldn’t compromise your values, needs, and desires just to avoid solitude.
Fulfillment comes from being in a relationship where you feel calm, connected, and confident, rather than settling for someone who doesn't value you.
How do you know you’re settling? Listen to your feelings. Are you anxious about your future? Afraid to speak your mind? Worried you’re one fight away from breaking up? If so, you must aim higher and choose a partner who makes you feel more secure.
People who don’t like being alone find new partners quickly. Who could blame you? You’re a little lonely. He’s cute and seems interested. You sleep together a bit too soon. Then the anxiety begins.
This all-too-common approach to dating leads to exhaustion. Why? Because you are being chosen by men instead of doing the choosing yourself.
Instead of diving into a relationship with a guy you barely know, slow down to evaluate him before you commit. Date multiple guys. Take a month before sleeping together and calling him your boyfriend. Build a strong foundation early and dump men who don’t live up to their early promise, rather than doubling down on a mistake.
When you're afraid of being alone, it’s tempting to fill up your life to avoid facing your inner thoughts and emotions. You may not see it that way, of course. You have your work. You have your friends. You have your family. You have your hobbies and travels and pets. Your calendar is packed, and you love it that way. There’s only one thing missing, and it’s a big one, a best friend, lover, and partner-in-crime to share it all.
As a dating coach for smart, successful women, I gently remind my clients that you don’t make time when you meet the right man. You take time to meet the right man.
When you’re working 50 hours per week and traveling 15 weeks a year, you’re not giving yourself space for personal growth or relationship building. If you find you have no time for dating, it’s possible you’re distracting yourself from the fact that, every night, you go to bed alone.
When you're afraid of being alone, you may ignore red flags and tolerate unhealthy behavior from your partner. It’s easy to rationalize unacceptable treatment when you're fearful of losing your connection. “He’s busy at work! He’s under a lot of pressure! He may lash out at me - but you don’t understand our connection!”
A healthy, trusting relationship should never come at the cost of your self-worth and emotional well-being. You must learn to set boundaries and prioritize your own happiness if you want to build a fulfilling partnership that lasts.
Let’s acknowledge that being alone is not the same as being lonely. There should be absolutely no stigma to being single. But if you feel deeply that you want more, and after all someone has a happy marriage, so why not you?! There are simple steps to success.
Embrace self-discovery, maintain your rich, full single life, and always remember to carve out time in your schedule to create lasting love.
Dating coach Evan Marc Katz is the author of 4 books and has been featured in hundreds of media outlets since 2003. His blog has over 35 million readers, his podcast has over 2.5 million downloads and 13,000 women have taken Love U, his signature course that helps smart, successful women find love. Click here to subscribe to his free newsletter, Lovesplaining. For more information visit www.evanmarckatz.com.