I debated about deleting this post because I wasn’t sure if I still liked it – but someone I know just told me I should aim to make three new mistakes every day. SO this might be one, might not, but time well tell – in any case, I am leaving it up 🙂
Someone I’m very close to recently became engaged. It made me think.
Dating is strange.
So much of what we do in dating revolves around fear. The fear of emotional pain.
Pretty much every game people play when it comes to dating around is to avoid emotional pain. 3 day rules, waiting periods, not saying how you feel too early, blah blah blah. All about avoiding misplaced emotional investment, avoiding emotional risk, avoiding being hurt.
Don’t get me wrong, unrequited interest/love is not a fun feeling. It’s really not. In the moment, it totally sucks.
I’m beginning to question if all that emotional pain is really as bad as we’ve been conditioned to think it is.
So a relationship doesn’t work out. We’ve all had that happen and we’re all still here. It isn’t the end of the world that a relationship doesn’t work out, unless you make it so. If you try a relationship, and it doesn’t work out, everyone is an adult and everyone will survive. (It’s also why you should only date adults that will actually survive if it doesn’t work out – pro tip for another day.)
Why is throwing caution to the wind and agreeing to dive in and just ride a wave of happiness such a horrible thing to do? Why is the conventional wisdom to take things slow, and put on the brakes all the time?
If you do just dive in, what’s the worst that could happen? Is it really that bad? Is loving and caring about someone the best you know how without conditions really so scary? Because the amount of love you can give is endless. (If it’s not endless, then it’s self-sacrifice, not love. If you’re self-sacrificing, you’re not really loving yourself.)
Life never has any guarantees. All of the promises, contracts, and marriages in the world cannot grant us any certainty.
I think probably some of the most important questions are:
- Are you happy?
- Might you both want the same thing?
- Can you deal with the worst possible outcome?
- And how bad is the worst possible outcome, really?
If all of the answers are yes, then perhaps we should be less afraid of connecting with someone. Because what is worse – getting hurt, or living in fear of getting your heart broken and holding yourself back emotionally so it doesn’t happen again? Maybe it’s the latter.
Because emotional hurts can heal, if we want them to heal. And we will be okay if it doesn’t work out. But wouldn’t it be great if just one time, it did work out?
I think the pain we feel is not really the pain over the relationship ending, but what we think that pain means. Regret over time wasted. An undefined period of loneliness ahead. Insecurity over our own self worth. Embarrassment regarding our poor judgement of ourselves or the other person. Lots of other stuff.
We just need to reframe and redefine what it means when a romantic relationship fails. And it’s really not a big deal. Unless we make it so.