Most people don’t identify themselves as “afraid” of finding a relationship.They couch their singledom in other terms so that it doesn’t sound like a cop-out.“I’m taking a break from dating right now.” “I’m really busy with my career.” “I don’t know too many happily married people.” “I really like my independence.”It’s not that these stories are definitively untrue; it’s that they don’t come close to telling the full story.One final note: This is difficult work if you take it seriously, but it can be enormously fruitful.However, I do think your instinct to avoid disappointing your children again is a good one. So fear itself is not the problem—it’s just a feeling and it actually won’t hurt you. This might sound like a silly thing to point out, but we forget that a lot. Naturally, you want avoid repeating that experience—of course you do!
Or say you have to give a speech or have a confrontation with a boss or relative and you’re nervous.Putting your own feelings on the line is, unfortunately, part of being in adult relationships, but I think it’s a good idea to shield children from this risk for as long as possible.That said, if a future boyfriend proves unworthy of your trust in this regard, forgive yourself. Before you go in, take a minute and allow yourself to feel whatever is happening physically in your body—just allow yourself to feel and have compassion for your nervousness. If you’re on a date or talking to someone you’re interested in, allow yourself to feel that anxiety or fear.Notice that the feeling is happening and remind yourself that even though it isn’t pleasant, it actually won’t kill you.Which is that you use all of these examples to justify why you choose not to be vulnerable and partner up with someone – and sure enough, you never partner up with someone. Fact is, if you want to fall in love, it’s there for the taking.Whether you’re afraid of heartbreak, afraid of intimacy, or afraid of compromise, you can stay single for the rest of your life, and that’s cool by me. Sharing yourself fully with another human being and building a life together.Dear Sara: I am scared of dating or trusting a guy again because the last relationship I had almost destroyed me. That’s why I’m very fond of a quote by Susan Jeffers: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” You say that your relationship almost destroyed you, but the key point is … If you want to fall in love, you’re going to have to risk being hurt. So here is my suggestion: Train yourself to relax in discomfort. You’re waiting in a long line, but instead of taking your phone out to entertain yourself allow yourself to feel the boredom and frustration of having to wait without a distraction. The problem comes when you allow fear to limit your ability to move forward. And while you may feel extremely wounded and vulnerable, you did in fact live. We behave as if heartbreak will kill or maim us, but when you get right down to it, all it does is make you feel very, very bad. But as you have noticed, this comes with the territory.Deal with your feelings – good, bad, and indifferent.Also live by the same values you’d expect from others – this isn’t an experience you’d want to be on the receiving end of. No seriously Natalie, I’m not holding out a secret hope that we’ll get back together. A lot of people, especially Unavailables, are afraid of finality and this can also be a part of a general commitment resistance.