Confronting my Fear of Being Left

Recently someone on Twitter asked, “Why are y’all so afraid of losing your partners?” It was asked in a joking manner, but it prompted some old feelings for me. My last real healthy relationship evoked a sense of fear in me that I never knew existed.

I didn’t want to be left. 

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I couldn’t really make sense of it because I was trying so hard to be the ideal girlfriend to mask my fear of him leaving. I had to be honest with myself about what I was feeling, but I couldn’t do it while I was with him. I had to let him go and confront that fear head on. It wasn’t easy, especially since I wasn’t sure what I was exactly afraid of. I would not recommend this for everybody because I know that some fears are rooted in trauma and in order to confront those fears you have to confront the trauma in which case a therapeutic environment would be safer than going about it by yourself. However, in my case, I had to get out of that relationship.

As long as I was with him and I was scared of him leaving I could never be honest in our relationship. Everything I did, everything I thought, and everything on my behalf revolved around making sure he didn’t leave. I wasn’t even an equal part of the relationship because my needs were never met, only his. It wasn’t his fault, I was projecting my fears on our relationship and I was being dishonest about what I needed and wanted from him, so even though our relationship was healthy, I was unhappy. 

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By centering my role in our relationship on his presence or lack thereof I was being dishonest about how I felt and what I needed. Therefore, I was degrading my ability of discernment. Gratefully, I was with a man who did not seek to exploit or abuse me, he was a great man, but I wasn’t in the mindset to receive it or appreciate it. I had to let him go for my well-being as well as his, I could never be emotionally present in a relationship that scared the hell out of me, and it wasn’t fair to be with him and not be emotionally present, he deserved more than that.

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Once we broke up, I realized what I was so afraid of: I didn’t want to be left.

I didn’t give a fuck about being alone, I relish in that, I’ve never been afraid of being lonely, but the idea that I was being left, that shit hurt. I think as women, especially black women, we don’t explore how much it hurts to be left. It’s like a natural reaction for us to rely on our faux embodiment of strength instead of acknowledging the fact that we are hurting. That shit hurts and it’s ok to be hurt, I had to learn that. I had to confront that pain and I had to be present and feel it so that I could overcome it and be a better person for myself not for a potential relationship.

Through introspection I realized that it’s ok to hurt and its also ok to be honest about it, that’s how you grow. I didn’t want to be left because it made me feel insecure. What is it about me that made him or anybody feel like it was an acceptable response to just leave me? In my introspective state, I realized that my insecurities were present all along, but they were magnified whenever someone left me, not just a romantic partner, anyone. I had to tackle with the fact that if anyone leaves me, I’ll be ok, but to get to that point I had to be honest. 

I had to make sure if I didn’t do anything else I was honest about my intentions, my expectations, and the kind of affirmation I needed.

So no matter what, I do my part, if anybody chooses to leave me that is on them. I’ll be fine. I’m my authentic self no matter what, I’m honest and present. I can’t control other people, if they want to leave they can go, it may hurt but that pain is ephemeral. My honesty, authenticity, and sincerity are ever lasting.

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