There are many beautiful things about being in a monogamous relationship. There's the comfort of having someone to cry to, to cuddle and hold and confide in. There's companionship, often sexual connection and deeper intimacy as a result.
The story of monogamous, romantic love dominates our beliefs about relationships, primarily because of the illusion that we are safe and protected from heartache, fear, jealousy, anger when we are the only person our beloved truly loves.
I’ve written previously on why women in particular tend to seek safety in relationships, but a symptom of this is that we are taught from a young age it is dangerous for women to
Walk alone at night
Have a child, alone.
When we unconsciously seek safety in relationships, we create co-dependency and fall into patterns of anxious attachment when we feel we need a partner to meet our basic need to feel safe. It might be something in particular about having a partner that makes us feel safe, or just a generally assumed feeling we have contrived from popular culture. But this only works to put pressure on the other person to meet our needs.
We have all been in those relationships where we feel 'safe'. It’s a 'good' relationship for all intents and purposes - the sex is good, you have common interests, they're nice and your family likes them. But there's a niggling feeling - you want more.
Often what we mistake for love is actually comfort and safety within the confines of a romantic illusion. The solution to this is to create a feeling of safety within ourselves, so that when we enter a relationship we come from a place of wholeness, of meeting our own needs. Then the lesson becomes allowing others to help us meet our needs, rather than demanding ( more on that another time).
So how can we start to create safety outside a relationship? Here are some of my tips to start shifting from insecurity to a feeling of wholeness within yourself:
[CAVEAT: What I am referring to when I mention safety is not safety is not the "live or die" physical safety, but emotional safety, which is is an internally created feeling. The brain does not know the difference between emotional and physical safety as both elicit the same reaction in the body.]
Give yourself space and enjoy time alone
When we can be content alone, we go into relationships with your own needs met rather than a place of seeking someone else to complete you. As I often go into people pleasing mode, time alone helps me to ground, tune into my heart, and relax because I only have to please myself. The more I do this, the more I can be present with the people in my life. Try reading a book, meditating, listening to music, or going for a walk nature.
Focus on building your self-worth
When you feel lonely, ask yourself, “what would someone who loves themselves do right now?” When we love and respect ourselves, and take action from this energy, its amazing how things start to shift in our lives.
Write down all the things that help you to create a sense of safety, comfort and wholeness. Put them in a jar and pick one when you are feeling lonely, missing your ex, or craving company. It might be having a cup of tea under a warm blanket, wearing flannelette pyjamas, lighting candles, letting yourself have a good cry, watching a romantic movie or seeing friends and family who love you for who you are.
Fill your need for love, connection and companionship from friendships and family relationships. Often these go by the wayside or take second priority when we fall 'in love' but all relationships are special in their own way.
When you connect, make it intentional
If you struggle to be alone, and find yourself feeling the need to connect with another, check in - what is your intention to connect? Are you trying to avoid being with yourself? Or is it coming from a place of genuine love and respect for yourself? I created a video on tuning into our body to know whether we want to sexually connect with another person. Click here to watch.
When we lack direction more broadly in our career or life, we tend to make our relationship, or our desire for one, the centre of our universe. Try spend time alone journaling and discovering what your purpose is. Go to workshops and courses, take a class in something you enjoy or hire a coach to support you.
Women in Perth! I am running a six week course starting in January where we will be exploring our beliefs about love, attraction and relationships to move from codependency and shallow attraction towards deeper, connection with ourselves and with a beloved. You can find out more here, or feel free to shoot me a message