Do I really want a relationship?

40 Questions We’re Afraid to Ask – #29

Do I really want a relationship?Do I really want a relationship, or am I just afraid of being alone?

There are many right reasons for going into a relationship.

There are also many wrong ones.  

I just read an article that lists the top ten wrong reasons to be in a relationship.  Many such articles exist, but I thought the list presented in this one was probably about as good as it gets.  At the very top of that list, along with every other list I looked at, was . . . fear of loneliness.  Why is that?

Why are we afraid of being alone?

One might say we humans are social animals. We live in society — in social settings. We need each other for many reasons simply to survive.  We accomplish things more effectively as a group. On the other hand. . .

most of us simply don’t like ourselves.

We have certain aspects of ourselves that we don’t like. We have things in our past that we allow to haunt us.  We have anxieties about a future for which we feel totally unprepared. We don’t often like to admit these things, so we put on a mask — not only in front of others but in front of ourselves — and end up becoming our own worst enemy. We look for external resources — things, activities, people — to provide the happiness we so desperately seek and to hide ourselves from ourselves. We surround ourselves with stuff, with noise and activity. We become human doings rather than human beings.

It has been proven over and over and over throughout the history of mankind that if we look to something or someone else to provide our happiness, we will ALWAYS be disappointed, or at worst, devastated. ALWAYS. No exceptions.

As difficult as it can be, I must start by asking myself why I’m afraid of being alone. What is it about me that I don’t like.  What is it about me or about my past that I’m afraid to face? If I’m not willing to take this step, then I can never be in a truly satisfying relationship with anyone else.

Three levels of relationship

In any relationship, one or the other party or both parties will be at one of three levels.

Level 1

Level 1 love it's all about meAt level one, we are interested only in fulfilling our own needs, and we look to the other person to do just that. If they don’t, then we become disappointed, frustrated, or even angry. We may even begin to lash out at the other person because they are not doing or acting as we expected. They are not meeting my needs.

If we seek a relationship or go into one primarily because we are afraid of being alone, very likely this is where we are, and chances are very great the relationship will end up being a failure.

Level 2

Let's make a dealThis is what I like to call the “Let’s Make a Deal” relationship. I’ll do for you if you do for me. As long as the other person is meeting my needs and giving me satisfaction, I’ll give in return.  A lot of negotiation goes on in such a relationship, and often the couple isn’t even aware of it, it becomes such an habitual way of relating to one another. Again, a relationship at this level either won’t last or it will be a rather unhappy one and not truly satisfying to either party.  If one person was previously at Level 3, they very likely will end up lowering themselves to this level simply to survive.

Level 3

unconditional loveAt this level the focus is on each other, not on ourselves.  Yes, we certainly make sure to take care of ourselves, but the major concern of each person is giving to the other and taking care of the other’s needs.  It is an unconditional love, and the most mature (some one say the most spiritually mature) level of relationship.  It is only when both individuals are at this level that the relationship truly becomes ultimately satisfying.

It is also only at this level that I can honestly say, “I want to be in a relationship, not because I’m afraid of being alone, but because I truly love you.”

Steve Vernon photo

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