The "A" word - Alone

Haven’t you ever felt awfully alone when you’re actually in a relationship with the wrong guy? A beautiful woman sits on the ground feeling alone in her relationship.
"Photo Credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos"

Sometimes, if we look at the reasons we stay in a relationship that isn't working, we find that it’s all about the A word.  Alone.  If we’re really honest with ourselves, I think we’d find that much of the stuff we allow in our relationships is because we’re afraid of being alone.  Without a guy.

I think a lot of us feel that way even if we don’t want to admit it.  We don’t want to be alone.  Whether it’s our culture that tells us we need to be with someone, part of a couple to be OK, or whether it’s our own internalized belief system, we can go to great lengths to make sure we’re with someone, even if he’s not the one for us.  Because at least he’s someone.  And if he’s someone and we’re with him, than we’re not alone.

But here’s the thing about that.  Haven’t you ever felt awfully alone when you’re actually in a relationship with the wrong guy?  I’m talking about that feeling you get when you’re supposedly dating a guy, and you’re wondering if he’s going to spend Saturday night with you or the guys?  Or if an invitation to a party comes up and you have to wonder whether or not you’ll have a date to go to – even though you’re supposedly with your guy?  Or that feeling you get when you’re not free to date anyone else because you’re in this supposed committed relationship to this guy, but the casual way he treats you and the little time he spends with you leaves you spending more time by yourself than with him?

Why do we do this to ourselves?  This is not what being together is all about – what I’m describing is being alone.  No matter how many ways you try to convince yourself that you’re not.  It’s awful being that kind of alone.  At least when you’re really alone, you’re free to be alone or not.  You’re free to be with someone on a date, or to choose to be alone.  It’s your choice.  But what kind of a choice is it if you’re choosing to be with someone who’s not choosing to be with you?  What kind of a relationship is that in the first place?

It took me a long time to figure that out, too.  That I would be so much better off being truly alone than alone with him.  Too long.  But I finally figured it out, and if you’re just figuring it out now, it’s never too late to just say goodbye and walk away.  To the scary world of alone.  Because it’s really not as scary as it seems.  It can just seem that way.  But the really scary thing is not realizing just how alone we are when we’re not supposed to be alone.  Like when we’re in a relationship.  So if this is what’s going on with you, and you’ve tried everything to turn it around, maybe it’s time to choose to let it go.  And substitute the word “free” for “scary”.  Because there’s nothing as freeing as choosing to be alone.  Or choosing to be with someone.  The point is, this time it’s going to be you doing the choosing.  And what you choose is entirely up to you.

If you’re still feeling that alone with your guy, is better than alone by yourself, it’s ok.  It takes us a while to get into relationships like this and we can’t expect to change what we’re used to overnight.  Just know that one day you will look back on all this and see it so clearly.  And you’ll know with certainty that being alone in a relationship is a place you never want to be.


  1. Sheryl says

    I wish I could express how valuable your website has been for me in my growth journey. I thought I had met the one.. mr right, mr wonderful, mr everything. WRONG! I've learned that waiting 6-9 months to even consider those feelings is a minimum. After 6 months, I was devistated that he had turned out to be crude, mean, decieptful, hurtful and the list goes on. At the time, I was in a vulnerable place (lost my job of 15 years) and stayed in this painful relationship. Once I went back to work and got my self esteem back in order, I realized how lonely I was in the relationship!!! There is a hug difference in being "alone" and being "lonely". I'll choose alone anyday over lonely in a relationship.
    You are an amazing inspiration and I thank God daily for your words!

    • Jane says

      Thank you for your beautiful words, Sheryl; I'm so glad you're finding the inspiration and the support you're looking for here. There is nothing like that kind of loneliness when you're with someone, that sheds so much light on what else wasn't right, and to be able to see that for yourself is no small thing. You're in a new place now, and today is a new day!

  2. Darlene says

    Wow! where was I when this article was written back in 2011! It is so nice to be able to read through your articles click on highlighted links from other articles and come across ones like this one that hit home. Although i really did want to be with him, the being alone part definitely scared me and so I stayed/settled. BUT for what? It was horrible, just like you said waiting on a Saturday night, always feeling like I'm "on call" waiting for my boyfriend to want to spend time with me, wondering if he will invite me to that special party, dinners, etc. I would literally leave my agenda open for a "just in case" he makes plans with me. And most of the time I found myself alone at home waiting, and waiting, weekend after weekend. I look at it now and its non sense. Its so true Jane once you see it, it becomes oh so very clear. Relationships should not be be that way! I am so glad that I can relate to this and giving me more of many reasons to let it go!

    • Jane says

      So true, Darlene. I'm glad you found this one - it was one of my first posts and one I personally could so relate to. I'm thrilled that you're seeing this for yourself. And no one can take it away from you once you see it like this; it's yours!

  3. Michelle says

    Hi Jane,

    This is a great post, but....
    How does one let go of a relationship when you don't have anyone else (friendships and family) to turn to?
    What can a girl do when she doesn't have others in her life to "hang out" with or just to talk to?
    I mean, I enjoy my alone time, but not all the time.

    • Jane says

      You go on a search of self-discovery, Michelle. You find out who you really are and what you really like to do. You stretch yourself to throw off the limits you've unknowingly set for yourself and you start creating a life that's filled with the things you've always wanted to do, with the activities and hobbies and interests that ignite your passions and give you a feeling of lightness and happiness. You don't wait for this or that to come together to start making it happen. You reach out and you see what comes back. You take a step in a direction that resonates with you and you see what you find there.

      You become curious about what might be just around the corner if you ventured out a little further in a different direction than you would have chosen for yourself if you weren't stretching yourself. You join a Meetup group or special interest group that you're not quite sure about, but you go just to check it out because it's not so much about going to any particular group or event as much as it is the act of growing yourself, and stretching your wings, and branching out a little further than you usually do.

      You see who shows up, who you run into, you find on a similar path looking for the same sense of "home" and "family" as you. It's in those small steps that the bigger ones come more naturally. It's in those little things that you gain confidence to do the bigger things. It's how you start to see this all more clearly, it's how it begins to resonate more with you the more you question and shift and grow.

      Start right where you are. It's enough. It doesn't matter if you can't see the way clear right now. It's in the starting somewhere that it all begins to make sense and everything else starts falling into place. Don't worry if it feels foreign or you still don't understand. Take what resonates with you and set the rest aside. It's always enough to just keep taking those first steps from wherever you are right now.

      • Angel says

        Your reply to Michelle just answered my question. I was about to write about how lonely I feel right now.
        I have commented a little bit of my situation on other articles, but I feel like writing again and I am so thankful to you, Jane for offering this space for us to communicate how we feel when we have no one else to turn to.
        11 months ago my dream of coming to Germany came true. Back home I was sort of lonely all the time. I had not so great experiences with men and with friends in general, so I chose to sort of stay lonely and I convinced myself that things wouldn't work out for me because I was in the wrong country. My culture shoves many things down everyone's throat that are completely detrimental. I was always interested in Germany because I started learning the language and I had met a few very cute guys from there who surprisingly were more interested in talking with me than boys from my own country. I came here so hopeful, so scared but so full of dreams and happiness because I had finally made it. And of course I was convinced I would meet the man of my dreams and wonderful friends who could see me and love me as I am. And I did. Like right a week after I got here I met someone. He was so charming and so intend on getting to know me. I got attention from him and his friends welcomed me and got along great with me. I thought it made sense: everything was going according to how I had imagined.... except when a couple of hangouts later, the guy said something that sounded way too familiar: I have no problem hanging out, cuddling or anything, but I don't want things to get complicated if I meet someone else. I still chose to hang around. That was of course the biggest mistake I have made because evidently, the longer I stuck around, the more I got hurt. I wanted so badly to belong, to convince him somehow that I convinced myself to try harder, to stick around because he might change his mind... although I was in denial as well: oh we're just friends. It was quite the roller-coaster and now, hindsight, I see that what I thought was so great really never was. I just wanted it to be. My dream, I wouldn't let go of it, and because of that I held on to something that was never there. I was so afraid of being alone here because of course I have no family or friends here. So of course I made excuses for it all, convincing myself it was better to have something to do every weekend than going back to the way things were back home: me by myself at home on a weekend with nothing to do.
        Last weekend was a major wake up call. I always ended up hurt when around him, but last weekend was just too much: we went out dancing and he disappeared on me to go talk to other girls. He didn't even say where he was going to be, he didn't even apologize afterwards, even when I angrily told him I wasn't ok with it. That made me feel so miserable, so disrespected, so alone, more lonely than anything else. I said to myself: I don't deserve this. Why have I done this to myself? Why have I put myself in hurtful situations over and over again? I realize it is fear of loneliness, lack of self-worth, detrimental core beliefs like: I'm not attractive, I'm not fun enough, I'm not good enough, no man would want me so this is as good as it gets for me.
        It hurts to think that way, but that's what has been going on. Sometimes I feel excrutiatingly lonely and it just hurts so much I end up sleeping all day. But you are right. If I am here by myself and live to tell about it, it's because loneliness won't kill me. I am proud of myself for choosing little by little to heal my relationship with myself. I am very fragile still, but I see things clearly now. I can definitely see what I do not want. I see what I've been thinking and doing. I hope with time I can find new people who honestly are more aligned with who I am as a person and with what I would like to have. And I do still want that beautiful relationship with a man who is kind to me and who commits to me. I am not sure how I will ever find that, but I have faith that it will happen. I'm turning 29 this week and I think my life is just starting. I have sort of waken up.
        Thank you so much again for being such an inspiration to us all. Your beautiful soul lights up ours.

        • Maris says

          Hi Angel,

          I could not send no message. What a story.
          I see myself in it. The way you describe your emotions and
          Where you stand in life.

          I myself also am at the beginning seeing where I can meet friends and
          Discover more about activities etc.
          All though we have freedom and are young, I see we are sometimes afraid or
          Feel down. Don't be. Just go on . I am also 28 and miss a partner & friends.
          But I see I have to get active and live.

          I had to go to few counseling talks to get me started. What I have learned is to carry on , to
          Not be ashamed and live! To feel inside strong and confident.
          When you have that, you can and do anything!

          Bless you

          • Angel says

            Thank you so much Maris for your loving words.
            The show must go on like the song says. We just need to get up off the floor. Better days are yet to come.
            Bless you too.

        • Jane says

          Always, Angel! Thank you for your beautiful words. You inspire me with every word you've written here, sharing your journey, the process like this. Your questions could have been my own not so long ago. Be so proud of yourself for seeing any of this, for being open enough to question yourself like this so that you can find the deeper answers in your answers. It takes real courage to look within, to see things more clearly, to be open to seeing things differently than you may have seen them before.

          It's such a beautiful gift to yourself to "wake up" as you say. Your life is just starting again. And there is so much to see, so much to be, so much to discover, and so much more to come! It's those tiny steps I'm always talking about, beginning right where you are, accepting yourself, showing compassion for yourself, never leaving yourself no matter how lonely or strange you feel, no matter where you are in your journey. It's how we do this. And without going through what we put ourselves through, we wouldn't see what we often can't see any other way.

          It's always ok wherever we are, whatever we seem to do to ourselves time and time again. It's how we get there, to that place where we can see this so clearly, where we not only recognize what we're doing, but where we start to choose something different because it's the loving way we deserve to treat ourselves. Without the guilt, without the shame, without the "shoulds". It's where we find ourselves - our beautiful true selves - again. And it's beautiful to see form here. :)

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