Not being in a relationship, not having someone with whom you can share all your thoughts, dreams and time, can sometimes lead to a feeling of extreme melancholy, loneliness and abandonment. People with codependent tendencies suffer to a higher degree from not having a shoulder to lean on, someone who showers us with signs of their affection and appreciation. As we often have low self-esteem, we have a hard time being on our own and we depend on others to give us the love and affection that we deny ourselves. Additionally, not being in a relationship often makes us feel like pathetic losers: We are convinced there must be something wrong with us, that we are not lovable the way we are, that we are not attractive or interesting enough, and that we will have to grow old alone. Those feelings can become so strong that they turn into an obsession, and finding a partner can become our top priority, a task that needs to be fulfilled as fast as possible. Our desire to immediately find a partner often draws us into the arms of narcissistic and unavailable men. We do not assess the situation carefully and throroughly enough before we lunge into a relationship.
Once we find ourselves in an unhealthy, dramatic and emotionally draining relationship, we hold on for dear life because we fear being lonely and abandoned again. We are convinced that we will never find another partner, and that we therefore have to make do with what we have and try to make things work under all circumstances. Instead of facing the feeling of being by ourselves again, we debase ourselves trying to please a man who does not deserve our efforts, our love and our time. We are so afraid of being alone again and of feeling abandoned, that we allow men to trample all over us in our efforts to make things work. On some level we might have already realized that all we will ever get out of Mr. Unavailable is pain, broken promises, drama and exhaustion. Our fear of being lonely, however, keeps us from drawing boundaries and saving ourselves.
At the point where we realize that the man we are dating is unavailable for a healthy, serious and long-term relationship and unable to offer us the love, care and affection that we long for, we are often already in too deep. We have already invested so many emotions, so many feelings, so much energy, time, dedication and hopes that we just cannot bear the thought that all of this was in vain and never really appreciated or asked for. After having given so much and already painted scenarios for a future in our heads, we find it too painful to admit defeat and be on our own again. We think that if we just keep on being kind, patient, enduring and understanding, our partner will somehow turn into Mr. Available and give us what we so desperately need. We hope that giving him time will eventually make all our efforts worthwile and we will finally be in a healthy and committed relationship. This is probably not going to happen and therefore it would be more healthy to admit defeat right at the beginning and not waste more of our precious time and dedication on people who clearly don’t know how to value it. Let’s face it: giving all you have and loving a person with all your heart and dedication is the most painful thing ever, if the man those feelings are directed at has no use for them and treats you with disrespect.
By the time we realize that things will likely not get better, we have often already introduced him to our friends and family. This was also the case in my situation. He spent an entire weekend with me and my family. My mother worked her ass off trying to make him feel at home and comfortable. I also introduced him to my friends and we went out for drinks together and had a wonderful time. After having presented a man as your new partner, it is even more difficult to admit defeat and go on alone. It makes you feel like the biggest loser on earth to admit to your friends and family that things didn’t work out again. You would prefer to just hold on to him so that you don’t have to admit defeat. Fortunately, in my case, my friends and family knew how disrespectfully he treated me (even though he managed to leave a very good impression when he met them!). They knew how much I suffered from being with an unreliable and unavailable man and often advised me to leave him. So, when I finally managed to let go, they didn’t think of me as a loser, but as someone who has finally managed to save her last pieces of self-respect.
Another reason for not being able to admit defeat is that we often cling to the feelings of happiness and carefreeness we felt at the beginning of the relationship. We don’t want to let go of these feelings, we don’t want to be all alone again. However, we fail to realize that the happiness and carefreeness has been long gone and will likely never return. Holding on in our hope that these feelings might return at some point is a futile endeavor that should be abandoned immediately.
We also shouldn’t hold on to an unhealthy relationship just because we have already reached a certain age and feel like we need to commit as fast as possible or we will end up alone for the rest of our lives. We often have nagging thoughts like: “All of my friends are in loving and committed relationships. Why can’t I ever make it work? What is wrong with me? I will die alone…” By now I have realized that those thoughts are toxic and that I’d rather die alone than spend the rest of my life with a man who doesn’t value, respect and appreciate me.
So to sum it up, the fear of being alone and abandoned should never lead us to hold on to relationships that are emotionally draining and sucking the life out of us. Being alone is definitely better than being in a relationship with someone who makes you feel worthless and pathetic every single day. After I got out of my relationship with Mr. Unavailable I realized that being alone was exactly what I needed, that it felt so good to let go of all of the drama and uncertainty. Sometimes being in a relationship can make you feel so much more lonely and abandoned than actually being on your own!