How to End a Bad Relationship When You Are Afraid to Be Alone

Leaning on others can help you feel less alone.
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A bad relationship can be emotionally exhausting, anxiety provoking, dangerous and upsetting. If your relationship is full of turmoil, you're treated with disrespect or physically abused, you should end the relationship. You should never stay in a relationship that is bad for you. However, fear can keep people in relationships that are not healthy. You can overcome the fear of being alone so that you can better prepare yourself for a healthier, happier you.

1 Face Your Fear

Fear can shape and control your life. When fear takes over a person's life, she will do what she can to avoid what scares her, says Deborah Klinger, a therapist and author of "Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself: Breaking Free From Invisible Chains" on For example, when you are afraid of being alone, you will go to great lengths to keep the relationship intact, even if it is not healthy. You need to face your fear and do what is best for you. If you are in a bad relationship, you need to acknowledge the reality and gather the courage to end your relationship. When you recognize your fear and accept it, it loses some control over you, says Klinger.

2 Embrace Being Single

Staying in a relationship so you don't have to be alone prevents you from having an opportunity to grow a a person, says The University Health Center in Georgia in the article "Relationships: Ending a Relationship." Having time to yourself allows you to reflect on who you are and what you want to do. It allows you time to get to know yourself better outside of a relationship. It can be scary to be alone, but leaving a bad relationship will show you that you are stronger than you think. Learn to enjoy time by yourself. You may find you like reading books, writing in a journal or playing a new sport.

3 Have a Support System

It can be painful and scary to end a relationship, but the feelings are only temporary. In the meantime, lean on your friends for support. Pick positive friends that you can talk with honestly, and without judgment or criticism, says in "Coping With a Breakup of Divorce." Make plans with your friends and family so that you won't be alone. Call them on the phone when you need someone to listen. Keep yourself busy. Pick a new hobby or volunteer for an organization.

4 Protect Yourself

If you are being abused, you need to protect yourself. Abuse can come in the form of physical, verbal or controlling behavior, says The University Health Center in Georgia. If you are hit, called names or prevented from making decisions, it is abuse. Staying in an abusive relationship because you are afraid to be alone is not good for your physical or mental health. Talk to someone you trust about the situation such as a parent, teacher or a close friend. It can be helpful to talk to a therapist to discuss your feelings, concerns and to help cope after the breakup. Ending a relationship that is not healthy is difficult, but necessary to look after yourself, says the Center for Young Women's Health in "Safety in Relationships."

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.