4 Reasons to Risk Love One More Time

Kelly E.

Your past relationships don’t need to define your future

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Jack didn't want another serious relationship. He transformed himself into a player instead. In a period of two years, he briefly dated 38 women and slept with a number of others. He was a nice guy doing a good impression of an asshole. I asked him what the deal was.

His reply: “I thought I was going to marry a girl… but she was just a user.”

He’d been used and, in the process, his heart was shattered. Now he was the user.

When we’re hurt, one response is to swear we’ll never let it happen again. Heartbreak sucks! Why would you want to go there twice? Screw that, right?

We think we’re protecting ourselves from pain when we build walls up around our hearts. When I left my first marriage, I had a choice to build those walls too but I decided not to. I decided to give love another try. Now, two and a half years later, I'm in a wonderful relationship with my second husband. I gave love one more try and it was worth it. Here's four reasons why love is worth the risk:

4 Reasons to Risk Love Again:

1. Heartbreak can heal

If we do things to move on, we can heal from heartbreak but only if we let ourselves be vulnerable. Building a tough wall around our fragile hearts doesn’t heal them — it keeps us in our pain. We need to feel the heartbreak, grieve, fill the gaps that our ex left, and let go.

Actually, we need to let go of lots of things — bitterness, unforgiveness, our need to be right, our sense of unfairness, our resentment, our imagined future with the ex… we want to hold onto some of those things so badly, don’t we? Why should I forgive them after what they did! I get it.

But if we don’t let go, we get stuck, our hearts harden and our exes get more of our lives than they deserve to. By not letting go, you are giving your ex more of your life! Do you really want to do that? I don’t.

We can heal our hearts.

2. We learn in relationships

I’ve had some relationships that lasted years and some just a few months. It hurt when those relationships ended but now, looking back, I can honestly say I don’t regret loving those people. I learnt things about myself. I learnt what I wanted and didn’t want in a relationship. I learnt what values were important to me. We learn through action.

In his research on regret, Tom Gilovich found that we often regret our actions initially, for example: dating someone, but our biggest regrets come from not taking action at all.

If we get to the end of our lives and say, “I was never brave enough to risk a relationship again” the regret will be much greater.

It’s true that some relationships just suck. But like Gilovich says, “You’ve taken an action and one of the ways that you can come to grips with it is to say, “Well, it was a mistake, but I learned so much.” It’s hard to learn so much by not doing something new.”

Action is the way we learn.

3. Fear doesn’t need to rule

I have struggled with anxiety my whole adult life (as many of us do). I met a woman a few years ago whose struggle with anxiety had progressed to a very serious level and it helped me decide something about my own.

Fear and anxiety ruled her life. She’d quit her job, couldn’t face people, and had trouble finding stable accommodation for fear of who her neighbors were. Every aspect of her life, which was lonely and hard, was ruled by fear.

I decided that wasn’t the path I wanted to be on. Even after years of therapy, I still feel afraid, I’ve had many panic attacks, I worry about things constantly — I’m a work in progress! — but I decided not to let fear control my actions.

I’ll climb mountains — even if it means I cry on the scary bits! I’ll speak to an audience — even if I’m almost puking with fear beforehand. I’ll love fully and completely — even if I’m terrified I might lose them one day.

We are bigger than our fears and love is worth the battle.

4. Love is so frickin’ worth it

Maybe I’m a bit of a romantic, but being in love is incredible. That special connection with one person that you only get in romantic relationships is like nothing else.

The little moments are my favorites — the inside jokes you create together, the snuggles while you watch a series you both like, the silly dates when you beat him at ten pin bowling (yes, I’m a little competitive!), the deep chats telling each other secrets no-one else knows, looking into your partner’s eyes and seeing that look: the one that makes you melt. The little moments of love are what I risk heartbreak for.

Loving someone who loves you is so frickin’ worth it.

Are you done with dating?

Maybe you say things to yourself like, “all women/men are assholes.” Perhaps your ex was a cheater and it hurts too much to think about going through that pain again. You’ve sworn off relationships and have committed to protecting your heart.

If that’s working for you, then okay. Do that. But do you really want to let your ex ruin all your future relationships? They’re just one person! There are so many people out there.

You don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy, I’m sure I don’t even need to say this — there’s nothing wrong with choosing to stay single! In fact, there are times where it’s important to be single, especially if you’ve noticed a negative pattern in your relationships.

But if deep down you do want to find love and feel ready to, it’s worth the risk.

Eventually, Jack decided to risk his heart again. He let go of the bitterness and anger towards his ex. He healed. Now he’s happily in a long-term relationship with a lovely woman, and this year they were blessed with a baby.

You too deserve more than bitterness or a broken heart. Heartbreak can heal, we learn a lot in relationships, and we don’t need to let fear rule us, because, in my opinion, love is worth it. Really.

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