The influential journalist Dorothy Thompson once said, "Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live." This is perhaps nowhere more true than in a relationship. When you are afraid of your boyfriend leaving, your fears take on a tangible presence that can make them a reality. To have a healthy relationship, you must face your fears head-on, understand them and accept them.
Recognize that fear is the problem and you'll be able to escape the grip of your own neediness by using stress management techniques, notes clinical psychologist Craig Malkin in a November 2012 Psychology Today article. Standard stress-management techniques such as exercise, deep breathing and meditation can work to help relieve your anxiety.
Practice mindfulness of your emotions. Instead of reacting to your fear of abandonment by arguing with your boyfriend when he wants to go out with friends, take a close look at your fear instead. Attempt to understand why you are afraid that he will leave you. Even if you don't gain insight, simply being with your fear instead of fighting it will help you better tolerate your uncomfortable feelings.
Trust that your boyfriend means what he says. Constantly asking him questions like, "Do you really love me?" or "You'd rather be with someone like her, wouldn't you?" can serve to make him question the relationship and might ultimately push him away. While you don't have a guarantee that he'll never leave you, remember that there's no promise that anything in life will be the same tomorrow.
Work on meeting your own needs. When you become happy alone and with yourself, you will be free to fully enjoy your relationship with your boyfriend because you will not feel dependent on him. Find out what makes you happy and then do those things. Perhaps it's time to start kayaking with friends again or work on renovating your home. Buy yourself some flowers -- and treat yourself to other things you might otherwise rely on your boyfriend to provide.
Seek therapy. It's often difficult to let go of the fear of abandonment without getting professional help to learn how to become a confident and self-sufficient person. A therapist can help support you in your transition from needing a relationship to wanting a relationship, says psychologist Simon Hearn in an article on the Dennis Boyd & Associates website. This is an important distinction that can help you move out of fear into a place of personal power.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.
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