03/12/2014 12:44 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

3 Strategies to Guarantee We'll End Up Alone


Photo Credit: S Sarkar

When we fight so hard to make a relationship work, it seems odd that our aim is to destroy it, right?

We may think by giving away our power, hiding our feelings or overdoing for the other person that we will never be left. And we may settle in this manner for years.
What if some of these lifelong strategies for holding on, actually don't bring us what we want?

Strategy Number 1: Seeking To Understand.
"For years I suffered, any time someone was going to leave me or would get mad at me, I sought to understand their problem. I wanted to know the real issue, so I could fix it and they would continue to stay with me. It didn't matter if the relationship was working or if I was getting my needs met, it mattered that they didn't abandon me." -- Anonymous

We may need someone to give us validation, by staying with us. If we're the mate who is understanding and let our partner know we get "him or her," then they should be so grateful, right?

Except it never really works that way...

It's a one-way street. It can leave us feeling disregarded, taken for granted and unloved.

When we're so focused on understanding the feelings of our mate, what are we doing with our feelings? Probably trying to avoid them, so we don't have to admit some truths to ourselves. Plus, when we treat ourselves in this way...everyone around us reflects it back to us.

The key is to stop focusing on what the other person wants, how they feel or what they believe is wrong and instead, take all of that desire to control and turn our focus inward.

We have to validate ourselves, and not self-abandon.

This translates into taking the burden of believing "if only," we did this or that, everything would be okay. We have to get real and ask ourselves, "What's really going on in the relationship? How do I really feel, what do I want?" and then go about fulfilling ourselves. Things will get clearer, we'll feel less strung out and our choices become easier.

Strategy Number 2: Being Perfect
How many of us have read way too many articles stating we need to have it all together to be loved? It's utter bullshit and no one wants someone who's perfect. No one. When all we focus on is our strengths, we dismiss a whole other side to our partners and ourselves. They don't get to see the "real us," and will hesitate to show the real them.

If we've chosen a mate who is hypercritical and expects perfection or mistreats us when we fail, we usually have a voice in our head equally as critical beating us up. It tells us to try harder, make fewer mistakes and create more perfection. If we don't listen, we think we'll be abandoned!

When we're vulnerable, honest and letting the "real us" show, we stand a much greater chance of actually getting closer to the other person. We don't bond over our perfection. We create intimacy through our imperfections. So, we must stop doing the right thing and do the thing that is truly reflective of who we are and what we want for ourselves.

When we show up as consistently real, we're not second-guessing ourselves and the results are easier to live with no matter what the outcome. And because the focus isn't on loss, it can be on allowing others to love us for who we really are, too.

Strategy Number 3: Over-giving, over-doing and losing ourselves.
Thinking we have to be extra nice to receive love, we tend to lose ourselves in the process.

We've lost our power.

Our ability to feel good is limited.

Most people know when someone has gone overboard in doing nice things for them -- they know they're being manipulated. It's not that we cannot do something nice for someone we love -- it's the reasons behind it that are the concern.

If we ignore fulfilling and giving to ourselves, we'll feel emptier, more insecure and resentful of our mate.

The key is to stop, so we can re-connect with ourselves and where we really are. Once we're back in our bodies, we will make more authentic choices that feel right.

When we're over-giving, physically, we can feel a lot of energy going out in an anxious way. Forced energy that we've intellectualized into believing it's the magic key to unlock someone's heart... and it's not. Just look at the contrast of doing nothing and all that energy leaving our bodies. Crazy, right?

Curtailing the usage of these three strategies will bring us more authentic relationships and a greater feeling of peace inside when we do engage. We'll stop trying to understand, be perfect or nice as a way to control being abandoned and instead, create an opening to love and acceptance.