People that are codependent or that have a love addiction are people that feel complete when they are in a relationship. They look to the other person to fulfill the relationship and provide a way to identify with themselves and the world around them. They are not comfortable on their own, nor are they comfortable in turning to friends and family for support and advice.
In fact, in the past, being alone has been seen as a blemish, a flaw and a deficit to a codependent. Relationships typically end and immediately another one begins as there is a sense of urgency to find that person to make you whole again. While this may be a very real urge or even compulsion, it is essential to learn to be alone before moving forward with a new love.
In recovery from love addiction, it is important to understand that the need to be a part of a couple, even if it is an unhealthy relationship, is a strong driving force. Being alone seems unnatural, incomplete and very, very uncomfortable. It is more than a passing hope or desire to be a part of a relationship; it is a deep yearning that can become almost an obsession with some individuals.
The Steps to Take
The key factor in adapting to being a person comfortable with yourself is to acknowledge that you have a struggle. This is the first step in recognizing the need for help, as just like any other addict if you don’t reach out for help, there is a high degree of likelihood you will slip back into the old, comfortable negative situation found in a codependent relationship.
To help in the struggle with being comfortable with being alone, here are a few steps anyone can take to aid in recovery:
- Work with a recovery coach— a recovery coach is a specially trained professional who will work with you to develop personalized, customized coping mechanisms and strategies to alleviate the anxiety and stress of being alone and allow you to feel more comfortable as a single person.
- Develop a social circle — a network of supportive friends that understand your struggles and will be there to provide emotional support and friendship can help to address feelings of being alone and isolated.
- Become mindful — think about your thoughts about a relationship. Why are you choosing that person? Is he or she someone you need to “fix” or someone who you see as a person you need to protect and manage to save them from themselves? Then, consider what you want in a healthy relationship. What does give and take look like? What is the importance of having time as a couple as well as time to pursue your own interests? These questions will help you in developing a guideline of the qualities and characteristics of a healthy relationship.
- Do something new — taking a class, joining a group, learning about something new or even getting out and getting some exercise can all help to provide more balance in life. The more you engage with the world around you, the less alone you will feel.
Being alone is a normal condition. Learning to enjoy being in your own company is a wonderful gift to be able to give yourself.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW is a Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of the award-winning book Infinite Recovery. You can take her quiz to find out if you are co-dependent or sign up for a 30-minute strategy session with Sherry. Check out Sherry’s new book “Love Smacked: How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to Find Everlasting Love”