A man I met online shared this in an early email. His ex-wife cheated on him and he hasn’t dated since his divorce seven years ago. He said it was because he didn’t want to get hurt again.
I explained that nearly all relationships include some hurt at some point. Maybe it happens because of a misunderstanding or unmet expectations. But in all but rare cases there is some kind of hurt, especially in long-term relationships. Heck, hurt can occur with friends, but is more common with romantic situations as the expectations are higher.
Life — if you live it vigorously — involves risking hurt. When you put yourself out there, from asking for a date, to asking for a plum assignment at work, you put yourself on the line. The stakes are higher the more emotionally involved you are. But if you don’t take the risk to open your heart you’ll also never have the possibility of deep love and connection.
When I think of risk and dating, I think of athletes. They risk injury every time they train for and play their sport. If they were afraid of injuring themselves, they would never practice nor play. How rewarding would that be?
So it is with romance. If you aren’t willing to risk getting your heart bruised, you can never find love. And if you’re very lucky, you’ll never experience the pain of heartache. But if you do, know it is part of living and loving with gusto.
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