Loneliness is a serious problem of the contemporary world. Lots of people of all ages are suffering from the inability to find a suitable partner and arrange own love life. Settling down is a big issue. Maintaining successful interpersonal relationship and being in a couple has become so difficult that people start to prefer career to love.
I know many men and women that asked for professional help in this sphere. They want the psychologists and counselors to find out if there is something wrong with them and their minds, if the cause of their loneliness is some character trait or point of view. In most cases it truly is so, we create our own problems and then complain about the negative outcomes.
My friend, let us call her Angela, is chronically single and unhappy about it. She is suspicious towards men and easily becomes anxious about her relationships, which causes the break ups. The reason of her anxiety is a negative experience of one of Angela’s family members she observed several years ago.
As soon as Angela starts being fond of a man, she begins having nervous thoughts about his feelings towards her not being genuine. She feels anxious and suspicious; she often thinks that she is more devoted to a relationship than her partner. The possible causes of this behavior of my friend are:
- Childhood experience. Angela has a brother. His name is Andrew and he is two years younger than her. The siblings often had fights in their childhood and teen age. They hurt each other physically and with words. Yet, this cannot be the reason of Angela’s lack of trust in men. She is not very close with her brother, but they have a kind of relationship where they always can count on each other in all types of situations. Andrew is a reliable friend for her.
- Relationship with father. Angela’s dad never was a reliable person for her. He did not participate in her up-bringing much. She definitely has a damaged father archetype, yet this also cannot be the reason of her anxiety because it started only several years ago and Angela’s connection with father has always been weak.
- Parents’ divorce. Angela’s parents separated when she was nineteen years old. For most people this is a negative experience. For Angela it was a relief. She treated this situation reasonably. She understood her parents’ decision and supported it. This divorce was never a traumatic or shocking time for Angela, this is also not the cause of her issues.
- Experiences of friends. Several of Angela’s close female friends got cheated on by their boyfriends and husbands. Although, this is not the cause of her lack of trust in men, because Angela openly states that no man would ever cheat on her. Her anxieties are based on the fear that they will stop loving her and become indifferent.
- Brother’s marriage. Angela’s brother rushed into a marriage several years ago. He married a woman he barely knew and then a year later he divorced her. Angela was very upset by this situation and this is when her anxieties started. This seems to be the cause of her issues.
This analysis requires some additional information. Why was Angela affected by her brother’s divorce so much if the siblings are not even close? Angela always saw her brother as a romantic gentleman, caring, loving and family oriented. She mentioned several times that she would like to date a guy with the same qualities.
Angela’s relationship with Andrew improved a lot while he was married. They became closer; she asked her brother for relationship advice, saw his marriage as an example of how love life was supposed to be. His divorce was abrupt and unexpected for their family. Andrew’s decision to leave his wife was based on the fact that he was simply bored of her and of being married.
As a result, Angela’s role model and his “perfect” marriage turned out to be a fake show that Andrew was performing in order not to admit that his quick marriage was a shameful mistake. Angela’s brother, who she thought had all the qualities of a Prince Charming, has proved to be unreliable, immature young guy, who was tempted by the opportunity to play as an adult family man for a while and could not handle it. Angela realized that she was wrong about her own brother.
This made her doubt her skills of understanding people and their personalities, identifying genuine feelings and telling apart true love and a performance. Angela’s anxieties are caused by her insecurity. She feels like she cannot trust her own intuition when it comes to love. She is afraid to find herself in the shoes of Andrew’s ex-wife. Ironically, she always ends up alone because her partners cannot handle this tension.
We say that people around influence our lives, but is it really the people’s fault? Angela’s experiences with men have been unsuccessful since her childhood, yet none of them caused a fear of men or commitments because she never expected those situations to be perfect. She accepted her dad’s flaws, her fights with Andrew, her friends’, parents’ and her own negative experiences.
Andrew’s divorce affected Angela so much because creating a role model or an example of something and expecting it always to be perfect is the best way to become disappointed and have your system of values broken. This is the reason of the crisis Angela is dealing with currently.