Relationship 2.0 – Love, fear and everything in between

j0422324 Prior to the start of our relationship series we asked the question, “what is your biggest personal fear?” The results are in, and while fear of failure and rejection came in a close second and third respectively, the majority of women responding said ‘being alone’ was their biggest fear. So we thought we’d kick off week two of our relationship series by digging deeper into those results.

We’re assuming here that by being alone, most were talking about being single – as in without husbands, mates or significant others.  And if that’s the case, the question then becomes, if we fear being alone, are we doing everything in our power to make sure that’s not how we end up?

It’s interesting that while many of us fear being alone, finding companionship is one of the areas of our lives where we’re the most passive. In almost every other area of our lives, we intentionally go about getting the things we need and want.

When we’re out of work, we pound the pavement looking for a job or return to school to get a degree. We take out loans and go into debt for our homes, cars and businesses. There’s nothing we wouldn’t do for our children, and don’t let us see a pair of shoes we just have to have – we’ll move heaven and earth to get them. But when it comes to love and relationships, we’re often afraid to put anything, much less everything, on the line.  It’s companionship we seek, and being without it is what we fear, but we won’t go out and find it. We won’t try Eharmony or, we won’t go out on blind dates and we won’t ask him out.

It’s ironic that we’re afraid to take the risks we sometimes have to take to end up in the kind of relationships we long for. It’s no coincidence that fear of rejection was a close third to fear of being alone. In fact, for some, fear of rejection is the number one contributing factor to being alone. And no one is suggesting that you approach every guy you find mildly attractive and sign up for every internet dating service in existence, but if being alone is what you fear, there’s got to be a happy medium. Somewhere between selling yourself out to the lowest bidder and hiding within the walls of your own home, lies a place that will bring you closer to the kind of relationship you desire. Between love and fear is life. And if you want things to start happening, you’ve got to start living yours.

What’s the scariest part of being alone? And if you’re afraid of being alone, what are you doing – or not doing – about it? Share your thoughts in the comment section or on our Facebook fan page.

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Blogger, self-proclaimed-philosopher, voracious eater and opinion sharer.

  • TooAshamedToGiveaName

    I'm commenting as a guest because I'm too ashamed to put my name publicly to what I'm about to say. I will be 40 in a few weeks and I've never been in a real relationship. Soon Steve Carell can make a movie about me. Oh wait–he already did. Maybe Tina Fey can do the sequel. Anyway, I've tried all the things in this post. As soon as I got a real job & moved out of my small town I logged onto all the dating sites (they were free back then) and over a 2-year period met face-to-face with more than 20 men. I only saw 2 of them after that initial first date. I did not become romantically involved with either of them, and I am no longer in contact with either of them. And yes, I have “asked him out”. On multiple occasions. I've discovered that asking men out is the quickest way to make them disappear from my life. Sometimes they leave skid marks.
    No one would go near me in high school because I was a nerd. There was one boy that I liked for a long time. He was nice to my face, then when my back was turned he would tell our classmates that he hated my guts. In college I dated an emotionally abusive jerk for 5 months. He didn't beat me up or anything like that, he just wasn't always a very nice person and he constantly pressured me to do (sexual) things that I simply wasn't ready to do. 10 years later I hooked up with a co-worker after we'd spent 6 months flirting with each other. We were working late in the office and to make a long story short we ended up kissing. To make another long story short I ended up at his place where we did some X-rated fooling around. After he got off I thought he'd be a gentleman and return the favor. He just shrugged and said that he always needed to sleep after orgasm, then proceeded to kick me out of his apartment. At 3am. He didn't want very much to do with me after that. A few months later I got another job and moved away and I haven't heard from him since. This occurred 10 years ago, and there's been nothing and no one since.
    There's an article on this site that says it's possible to maintain passion at 40, it's just harder. I've never even had a chance to let it start! And that makes me so profoundly sad. Jodee Blanco says that the hardest part of being an outcast isn't the love and warmth you don't receive, it's the love and warmth you're not able to give. It just builds up inside you and backs up like sewer rot. She's dead right. And now that I'm getting old it just crushes me inside to think that no man will ever want me. I've never been very attractive–I'm not hideous, I'm just not someone that would make a man sit up and take notice when she walks in a room. And now that I'm getting old I'll be less and less attractive, and whatever chance I ever had of finding someone is evaporating right in front of my eyes every time I look in the mirror and see the fine lines and the hair that's just starting to turn gray. I wish I could just give up and accept the fact that no man is ever going to want me. But love and sex and romance and all that stuff just seems like such an important part of life, and whenever I consider the ever-more-real possibility that I may never experience it, it just makes me cry. Why did God make me so horrible? I used to think that the reason I was alone was because God was saving me for a very special person. But now I'm thinking that it's just never going to happen. And I feel like I've been screwed out of one of the most fundamental reasons for wanting to be alive.
    I always thought that if I just had one chance to be with someone special I would be the best girlfriend ever, that I would love this man with my heart and soul. I'd be his friend, his lover, his confidant, his partner, whatever he needed, as long as he loved me back. But I now realize that this is a fairy tale. And fairy tales never come true, do they?
    I apologize for the long and rambling nature of this post, and I apologize to the moderator(s) if I said anything inappropriate. But I am so lonely and in so much pain that I needed to share it, even if it's anonymously. Thanks.

  • womenatforty

    Thanks for sharing such deeply personal thoughts. I've got so much to say in response to your feelings, I'm not sure where to start. But I would start by saying as alone as you might feel, I know that you're not the only person who feels the way you do, or who feels like giving up on finding love. But don't give up! Giving up is the only sure fire way to make sure that you'll never find it. And so much of giving and receiving love is about how you feel about yourself – looks and appearance have little to do with it. We've all seen women and men who don't fit this image of “ideal beauty, but who radiated with so much personality and life that they were beautiful. People like that are never without love. You can become one of those people, but it has to start with a change in the way you see yourself.

    If you don't mind, I'd like to share your story as a feature (anonymously of course.) I'm sure you'd get comments from people who are or have been in a similar situation and have now adopted an entirely new way of thinking. It's not too late for you to start re-imagining yourself and the life you want, but the first step is to start having a different conversation with yourself. You ARE worthy of love, affection and respect, but you have to believe it and embrace it first. I'm sure other women at forty would like to offer their suggestions on how you can do that. Please let me know if it's ok to re-run your comment. I'm looking forward to sharing your story and as a community of women helping you realize your own personal beauty and worth.

  • TooAshamed

    I've already spilled my guts in a public forum, how much worse could it be to have my guts spilled in a feature? Knock yourself out. I could be AnyWoman, in AnyTown, in AnyState.
    As for me being one of those people who radiate personality, I've already got that in spades. If I had a nickel for every person who's told me I'm the funniest person they know, I could quit my job AND move into a nicer apartment. And I'm not looking for perfection in a man. I figure I'm certainly not able to give it, what right do I have to expect it in return? There just don't seem to be too many men out there who share that philosophy.

  • stacey

    When you’ve had a dating history that spans over 20+ years & have experienced nothing but constant rejection all the while watching friends and aquaintances finding love w/o any apparent trouble at all, it wears you out– to the point of exhaustion. Recovering from rejection is very difficult for me as I have always been very tender-hearted and it also takes a chunk out of my life while recovering from it. The older you get, the less time you have to spend wasting time getting over YET another failed attempt to find the love, companionship, and the  chance for your own family that you assumed  was your birthright in your 20’s & early 30’s. I wish I could go back to all these exes, which I have done with a few, to try to get a straight answer as to what makes me unmarriable whereas Sally down the street who has been through 5 husbands & a slew of kids has no trouble attracting these men. But, of course, I never did get a straight answer. Maybe God mean’t for me to be single but then why did he put this huge capacity for love in me that has nowhere to go. Oh, and I get tired of hearing stuff like “You need to take all that love & use it to love the world,” or any other similar bs platitudes that religious people love to tell singles. Yes, I’ve heard it all before & don’t want to hear it again.   

  • Tina

    I don’t think that it’s a matter of taking risk, fear of rejection or look when it comes to love. I’m a pretty woman and always go out of my way to show my love and I love with all my soul. I also don’t have any unrealistic expectations. The more I’m getting older the more I believe that if I am alone, there is a reason for that and I learn to accept that as a fact, like the sky is blue or the grass is green. Thus, I don’t build my hope up and it helps to feel less pain. Selflessness might make life easier…