I have some wonderful girlfriends in my life. At least two of them are in long-term relationships, and I know they are frustrated, unfulfilled and would be happier if they were alone. Unfortunately, I think the fear of being alone holds them back.

I also have a guy friend who got divorced a few years ago. Since his divorce, he has ripped through a surprising number of short-term relationships because he is so afraid to be alone. I feel bad for each of his partners who have no idea that his relationship shelf life is limited, and he will soon be moving onto greener pastures. He is searching for security and permanence which he will never find. He keeps telling himself he doesn’t want a relationship, but soon his need for one overcomes him, and there he goes again.

You Don’t “Have” to Be with Someone to Be Okay

I see it in TV shows and movies all the time, people staying in bad relationships because they are too afraid to go it alone. Even when things get unbearable, they stay. It’s unfortunate that society and the media tell us that to be a complete person you must have someone in your life as a partner. This idea makes many people desperate, and it forces them to make bad choices. Once they are locked into a relationship, they are too afraid to get out.

When I was in my early twenties, I went to the movies by myself or out to dinner alone. When I went out at night alone, it was not to find a mate but to sit and relax for a while and listen to music. I have always been completely comfortable being alone. I have never felt the need to be in a relationship to be myself. The older I get, the more I realize how rare this is and my heart goes out to anyone who cannot be by themselves and feel comfortable. When did spending time alone become such an awful thing? I know people who cannot stand the thought of a weekend alone with nothing to do.

Don’t Forget How Strong You Really Are

When I was married and considering divorce, I admit to wondering how I would manage a kid, a job, a home and my life alone. Then I remembered that in the relationship I was already taking care of the house, holding down a full-time job, raising my daughter, going to school online and everything else. That thought reassured me; I forgot how strong and capable I was, and you are too.

The funny part is, it was actually easier to take care of all those things by myself. I didn’t have to consult with anyone to make decisions. I was finally free to live the way I wanted and raise my daughter my way.

Are You Happy in Your Relationship?

Not everyone can imagine what life might be like without a partner. Don’t get me wrong; it’s nice sometimes to have a listening ear or help with a difficult task and support when you need it. But sometimes those needs can be satisfied through close friendships. You don’t “need” to be in a relationship. It should be a choice you make that you want, not that you feel you have to make. If you are trying too hard in your relationship and not happy being with someone else, perhaps it is finally time to examine why you are still in it, and maybe it’s time for a change.

The Benefits of Being Alone

Being alone even for a short while between relationships is healthy. It allows you some breathing space to get to know yourself again. It is so important to find out who you are, what you want and how you want to live before adding someone new to the mix. Being alone allows you time for reflection. It’s nice to base all your decisions on you and what you want for a while.

It’s also a great time to indulge in self-improvement and work on those things you don’t like about yourself. Being alone is not the end of the world; in many cases, it can be the start of something beautiful. Being alone can open you up to new possibilities and adventures which you are free to embrace without obstacles.

Try it and see how good being alone feels. It might change your perspective on more than just relationships.

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