I’ve been puzzling through this lately, as I have recently fallen in love again. Or perhaps for the first time. Every time is different; every time feels new. I’m equal parts ecstatic and terrified.
The biggest problem is how afraid I am. I am afraid to love as fully as I know I am capable of. I’m afraid that the things that have happened before (betrayal, falling out of love, monotony) will happen again. I’m afraid it won’t be what it is supposed to be. And I’m afraid that I have such a cool single life -with travel, independence, and yes, a little bit of loneliness thrown in, but it’s a trade-off, right?– that I might not want to give it up to be in a couple again.
Let’s face it, relationships are not always what we conceive them to be in the beginning. It’s hard. It’s brutal. It’s disappointing. Even if we dodge the marital bullet and end up in a long relationship, it’s all of those things. Just easier to extract ourselves from. At least, physically. Not emotionally. (Believe me, I learned that the hard way.)
Mostly I’m afraid of the kind of hurt that comes at the end of things when you have loved fiercely and lost it all in the end. The kind of pain that leaves you reeling, sobbing, begging the heavens for another chance while you know deep in your heart that it ended the way it was supposed to. That you learned another lesson. That once again you were with the wrong person, or that the person you were with was not necessarily “wrong”, but not the person you were meant to be with forever.
And then again, what is forever? Can we really promise each other that, in all honesty?
So I feel the need to go into this with caution and also blindly. To trust and to doubt. To risk it all while drafting an iron-clad pre-nup.
For we never really know, do we?
I talked to a friend the other day who has gone through many romantic relationships and never married. Our mutual friend with three young children was lamenting that she and her husband never had sex anymore. My friend said, “I don’t want to be that! The couple that never has sex? Isn’t it better to go from one romance to the next, learning and growing and feeling all the feels?”
Well, yes. I think so, anyway. But I don’t fall in love that easily, and so the feels don’t come that often. After a long dry spell, it’s good to be feeling them again, no matter how fearful I am.
So maybe I don’t know how not to get hurt. And maybe I still don’t even know what love is. I think I knew this more resolutely at age 16 than I do today! But the willingness to risk your heart when you think it’s love is a foolish and admirable thing. It’s what all the books, movies, and songs are about. It’s part of what makes us human.