Dating, in and of itself, is often a challenging feat. For someone who fears a close relationship failing, the challenge can seem insurmountable. However, fear should not be the reason you do not pursue romantic relationships with men. In fact, it’s normal for your fears to surface while in a romantic relationship, says licensed marriage and family therapist and love coach Shelly Bullard, writing for MindBodyGreen.com.
Source of Fear
If at all possible, try to identify the source of your fear of a failed relationship. In some instances, the source may be easy to recognize, such as a slew of past failed relationships from which you haven’t yet healed. In other instances, issues such as anxiety over abandonment could primarily cause your fear. If you’ve experienced abandonment by a parent or other important person, you may have the underlying belief that close relationships don’t last, or – even worse – that you aren’t worthy of these types of relationships. Identifying the source of your fear can help you begin to resolve the belief system that encourages this fear.
Enjoy the Moment
Dating is a process of getting to know romantic suitors, determining whether or not any of them are suitable for you based on common interests and taking the time to enjoy your experiences with potential partners. While it’s important for you to be discriminating in your choice of romantic interests, it’s also imperative that you enjoy the moment. If you’re overly concerned about a failing relationship, you are not taking time to enjoy the moment because you are too concerned with a bleak future that has yet to, and may never, materialize. Whenever you recognize that you are having fearful thoughts about a relationship failing, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself to live in the moment.
Take Your Time
Take your time while dating romantic partners to be sure you are making good relationship choices and not increasing the potential to have stressful relationships that may have painful endings. This is not to say that choosing good mates will eliminate the threat of a relationship failing, but it will enable you to enjoy the time you spend with men without a ton of unnecessary drama. Also, taking your time allows you to identify any red flags that your dating partners display that signal they they may not make reliable and committed partners.
Many people believe that romantic relationships are supposed to resemble those of happily-ever-after fairy tales or Hollywood films, and then believe that their relationships – or they themselves – are faulty or somehow inadequate when they don’t quite measure up to these representations. Bullard notes that “we collectively adhere to the delusion that relationships should be blissful all the time,” which causes many people much pain. It may be helpful for you to reconceptualize your ideas about what a romantic relationship is and how it operates in your life. Considering that every individual is different, every relationship is different. The fact that a partnership ends doesn’t mean it was a total failure; even transient relationships can teach us a lot about ourselves and better prepare us for the experiences we will have in the future.
Seek Professional Help
If you find it difficult to move past your fear of a failed relationship, speak with a mental health professional to help you process some of your fearful thoughts. A therapist may help you identify the source of your fears or may focus strictly on helping you form new thoughts that will encourage new behaviors. When seeking a mental health professional, ask what treatment mode is used and how this will help you deal with your concerns about relationships ending.