Q. I am single, not currently dating and enjoying my life. It would be great to find a healthy man to have a relationship with and I hope that is in my future. What I find so sad are some of my friends who are in relationships that are not healthy, in fact two of them are down right toxic, but they won’t leave because they don’t want to be alone. They are already alone!! What is wrong with them?

A. I think “being alone” is such a difficult “situation” to treat. It casts such a spell on the person that it almost shuts down their cognitive processes and creates an illusion that becomes their reality.
An illusion of “I am not alone because I have John sitting on the sofa with me.” Never mind that John rarely communicates in a loving dialogue unless he wants something or that he belittles you in front of his friends or that he shows you no affection in public to the point that others don’t even know you are a couple.
If you leave John and this abusive relationship you will be alone. That means “without John.” Why is alone worse than being with abusive John? You are now free to be with others.
When women NEED a man, or men NEED a woman, that is a bad start to the connection and will prevent you from taking action when you read “the writing on the wall.”
When I was working with Sharon all she could focus on was “wanting to be married.” It was not about the quality of the man as much as not wanting to be alone (and also wanting financial security.) She found her man. In the beginning she pointed out some negatives, i.e., he was overweight and drank more than she liked. (She had been married twice before, both alcoholics).
As the relationship progressed she talked more about his money than his drinking or his weight. She also had concerns because their politics were at opposite ends of the spectrum. He also was controlling of her time. But he had money and she didn’t want to be alone.
They married almost a year later. When I saw her a few months after the wedding, her spirit seemed subdued. Her vibrant energy channeled differently.
But she was not alone; she was married, she had her man!!
There are certainly no guarantees about the sustainability of relationships. I think it is healthy for people to be able to “be without an intimate/partner relationship” and be comfortable. That does not mean it is “forever.” Perhaps the less we think about it and just live our lives, who knows who the Universe will put in our path.
In the mean time, get a dog, cat, bird, plant; something you can nurture and love until “your person” comes along. Read some good books. Learn to like being with you.

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

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