Today’s post is a guest contribution from Charlotte Underwood. She is an author and mental health advocate who wants to share her experiences with as many people as possible, and I’m really pleased to be helping her do this.
I don’t talk about this often. Though it’s not my first rodeo in talking about adult loneliness, I never really mention my chronic fear of being abandoned and left to live the rest of my life alone.
I’ve always been pretty co-dependent, despite also being very independent. I can live on my own and achieve great things with little help but I find myself struggling in isolation and relapsing when I have no companionship.
I have never cared about the romantic aspect of a relationship, I care more about the support and the memories that can be built with a life partner. For some reason, the idea of living my adult life without a partner and dying alone, sends me into fits of panic.
At a young age I dealt with this by jumping from one relationship to the next. I spent 4 years in a state of relationship, with many different people. I would only go a few days of being single before I would lurch into a new romance, as if my life depended on the status.
It has given me a reputation of sorts, people don’t look fondly on the fact that I have been in such a high number of relationships at such a young age. It had nothing to do with the drama or ‘getting around’, I am a serial monogamist and I suppose I just feel afraid of being a single woman.
I am married now and I couldn’t be happier, I have had 3 years of bliss with my husband and I am so glad to not have to date again. However, I can’t help but have my fear of abandonment loom over my head like a weight ready to crush me. It was there on my wedding day, where I looked at my groom and swore he would walk away and leave me at the altar. It’s also there when I think about our future, what if he dies young? What if he dies first?
If I can take a guess on why I am this way, I think it would be to do with the neglect I endured as a child. I was always struggling to be noticed and found myself feeling lonely at such a young age, right through to my adolescent life. Having a parent who did not care much for you can certainly leave a big hole in your heart, which you’ll do anything to fill.
A relationship is not the most important part of anyone’s life. If anything, being independent and waving through life as an individual is a beautiful thing. I have learnt, in the last few years to be my own person, to be less dependent on my husband but at the same time, enjoy life with him.
I know I am not alone in my fear of being abandoned, it can be so heavy to feel like everyone you ever meet will leave you. In fact, pretty much everyone I have had a friendship or romance with has left my life, which has harmed my mental health. But I want to say, to those alike myself, that you have the ability and chance to craft a life full of wonderous things, you are more than able to do this on your own and if you have a person to accompany you, that’s great but it’s also ok if you a lone wolf – there is no shame in that and it doesn’t have to be a limitation.
Thank you so much Charlotte for your input and for spreading awareness about this rarely discussed but very important topic.