We all want safety and security. Unfortunately our abandonment issues can get in the way of this.
We want to be loved just as much as we love.
But love doesn't come with a guarantee, and we're more likely to find ourselves fearful that our boyfriend or husband will leave us.
That fear is so deep and so strong that we can develop unhealthy anxiety.
We can even start to lie, become obsessive, deceive and detach from our partners, just so we don't end up alone.
But don't worry. I'm here to help you recognize whether you have abandonment issues and work to understand them.
Then, I'll show you all the ways in which you can turn your life around.
And yes, that's the best part – this problem can be fixed.
The clear-cut signs
Not sure if you really do or don't have abandonment issues?
Take a look at this list and see how many of them you recognize in yourself:
Are you insecure about your image, your actions or your man’s feelings?
Do you often think your relationship is at stake, even if there is no evidence to support your doubts?
Lack of emotional intimacy
Has there been a cooldown on yours or his side lately?
Do you have trouble communicating your feelings out of fear of being misunderstood?
Is anxiety more and more present in your everyday life?
Maybe the idea that your boyfriend could leave makes you panic.
Settling for a less adequate relationship
Often, we can cling to a partner who’s less than fitting for us, simply because we fear being alone.
Consider where you stand in your relationship.
Feeling like you're giving more than you're receiving
There's the old "one person always loves more" trope that has a grain of truth in it.
Have you noticed in your current and past relationship that you're always the one loving more?
Fearing that you're not enough
Crippling doubt that you aren't good enough for your boyfriend can go hand-in-hand with deeply ingrained abandonment issues.
How many of these apply to you?
If you've recognized yourself in some of the above points, let me tell you straight away that this is a problem that won't go away on its own.
You may try to downplay it or deny it.
You may dismiss it as something that will go away once you find the love of your life.
But that's just the thing – you won't experience true love unless this fear is dealt with.
What’s at stake?
Unresolved abandonment issues lead to unhealthy dependence on your partner. You can't imagine your day without him, and it causes you pain when he's not there.
Your independent self is lost.
Abandonment fear leads to regular anxiety, depression and constant doubt.
And ultimately, it results in making your partner feel emotionally responsible for your emotional state.
You seek constant confirmation of his love, and it starts to feel stifling.
So, what to do?
Don't beat yourself up
Abandonment issues go way back into your own past, and our collective past as a species.
They develop over time, and are instinctual and involuntary. You can't do anything about this.
What you can do is acknowledge that the problem exists. Then you can start working towards a solution. That much is in your hands.
Firstly, try to find out what could be the source of your fear of abandonment.
It could be something from your childhood – death, parental neglect, your best friend moved out or abandoned you, and so on.
Trace your insecurities back until you reach the source.
Then it'll be somewhat easier to find for a solution.
Talk to your friends
I cannot stress this enough.
When your friends or family lend an ear, everything becomes much more bearable.
Admitting you have this problem takes a lot of courage.
But it's a necessary step forward to full healing.
Let them teach you that there's no fear in being single, and once you learn that, your relationships will greatly improve.
Be transparent with your partner
Tell your boyfriend or husband about the problem.
Approach it bravely, with determination of wanting to solve something that's festering and will encroach on your relationship.
When he sees you're willing to put in the effort to help yourself, he'll jump on it too.
Men are more than eager to help us with our problems.
And showing your vulnerable side will make him love and appreciate you more.
If after a while you realize that you can't seem to find the right questions, or the source and solution to your problems, then professional help is crucial.
We can only do so much by ourselves, so don't be scared to admit you need help.
It's better to get assistance from someone neutral, and who ultimately works to solve the problem, rather than letting these issues damage your relationship.
Practice self-control in letting go
It's easy to tell your boyfriend he can spend time with his friends.
The hard part is resisting the urge to call him, or to prevent negative thoughts from spiraling.
"What if he meets a girl at the bar?!"
"What if his friends make him second-guess this relationship?"
In another scenario, after a fight or a heated argument, you part ways to cool off, and the moment you're alone, the thoughts bubble back up:
"What if he comes back and says he wants to break up?"
"What if he just packs up and leaves?"
In both cases, unless there's some kind of a guarantee that everything will be okay, we tend to let our minds roam free, clouding our judgment.
So, practice self-control in all these cases.
Don't let fictional, improbable scenarios dictate your thought process, or worse – your decisions. Calm down, take a deep breath, and be patient.
Just remember: no single solution works for everyone.
Each woman is unique, and while the problem is the same, every one of us goes through it differently.
These are the techniques that helped many women I know (and me, in some cases).
So, I urge you to think about what you've read here today: confide in someone, learn to forgive yourself, be honest with your man and start rationalizing your thoughts.
Only then can you start to overcome your fear of abandonment.