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Ask Athena: Is It a Sign of Weakness That I Don't Want to Be Alone?


Published November 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated November 16, 2017 at 12:08 p.m.

Dear Athena,

Is it OK or a sign of weakness that I don't want to be alone? I have gone from partner to partner my whole life, and maybe that's wrong. What do you think? Should I try being single? I ended a relationship not too long ago, and a new one is kind of starting now.


Never Want to Be Alone

Dear Never,

To be weak is to hide from your most authentic self, to adhere to other people's standards, to shy away from opportunities that may bring you joy and satisfaction. If you're making life choices because they feel safe or expected — instead of doing what you know to be best — then, yeah, that's weak.

If a "coupled" life makes you happy, why not do what makes you happy? If you genuinely want to be in a relationship with whomever it is at the moment, do it! Proceed! If you're safe and having fun, keep at it.

But if you're curious about what it's like to be on your own, then try it. Is this next relationship on the horizon a must? Can you step back and tell this person that you need to be alone right now?

Flying solo may prove to be a fun experiment. Imagine all the choices you can make without having to check in with someone. Imagine all that legroom and bed space! Imagine all the places you've wanted to visit, all the things that never get done and all the friends you haven't seen in a while. And it wouldn't be a terrible thing to explore and acknowledge yourself — to give yourself time and attention without any distractions. The worst that could happen is that you learn some powerful lessons about yourself, and that's an awesome outcome, no matter who or what the future brings.

Whatever direction you choose, make sure your heart wants to go there. You are your own most insightful guide — if you pay attention to the signs.