Look Before You Leap

frog_smlThere is risk in giving your heart away.  To most people the risk is usually worth it because the pain of betrayal and rejection doesn’t compare to the joy of finding true love and most people want true love and refuse to give up hope that it can happen for them.

But lots of people also like the idea of falling in love more than they are willing to be honest with themselves about whether it’s true or not.  I watched The Mirror Has Two Faces the other night about a man who had a well-formed idea that the perfect marriage was one that included friendship and respect but not sex.  He said that true love could only be found in true friendship.  In watching, I came to the conclusion that the character played by Jeff Bridges had never gotten passed physical attraction when choosing a mate.  In the past, he chose beautiful but shallow women who ended up wrong for him.

Obviously, he was wrong and right at the same time.  He was wrong to think that a relationship could not grow in both friendship and romantic love.  He was right in realizing though how rare that is.  And I believe it is rare because most people approach relationships from a physical perspective first instead of a friendship one.

I read an article today that had no problem with the practice of sleeping around and said it was a simple situation of putting physical intimacy before familiarity.  No harm no foul.

But I completely disagree.  

Every single time you do things in that order you create immediate risk that often leads to a hard shell around your heart.   It’s like diving in a pool of water before you know the temperature, how deep it is, if it’s toxic or safe?!  You would not do that…so why would you open your heart and body to someone you know nothing about?  It’s nonsense and dangerous, both physically and emotionally.  The writer of the article talked about how many past loves they had and put the number at about 30.  As I read, it just seemed to me that this person had given up on the concept of true love altogether .  No one was any more important than another, take what you can get for now, and damn the consequences.

The problem is there are consequences.  That hard shell gets thicker every time something doesn’t “work out”.  No matter how desperately you want true love, if you leap before you look you are playing russian roulette with your heart for sure.

On the other hand, I have a friend who told me that she believes it’s impossible to know someone well until you’ve been married to them for 15 years.  Because only then will they lower their guard enough for you to see the REAL them.

I disagree with that too!  

If that’s true, then you might as well sleep with every Tom, Dick, and Harry because you will never really know them anyway.  And while I admit there are no guarantees in relationships you can KNOW some things.

Just like the pool of water.  You can know certain things like the temperature, the PH level, you can test it, observe it, and know what you are getting into.   But what you can’t  know is if the pump will break down in 10 years or if a crack will form at the bottom creating a problem you have to fix.

So here is my point.  

Start with a good foundation of mutual admiration of each other’s character as friends and like-minded values and then MAINTAIN.  Don’t neglect the things that are important at keeping a solid relationship.  Don’t ignore problems along the way and pretend like everything is perfect if it’s not.  THAT is when 15 years later you realize you have a bad marriage.

Choose well and be willing to invest hard work maintaining.  If you aren’t willing to be honest with each other and do that, then you are better off never entering into a long-term relationship in the first place.

People who avoid conflict and dealing with issues either become passive aggressive or they get taken advantage of.  It’s just that simple folks.  It’s surely doomed.

I’ve been almost everywhere on the continuum.  I’ve been that naïve person who thought that if you just love someone enough victory was possible.  That was my failed first marriage.  I’ve been that other naïve person who thought if you only work hard enough to get what you want the effort will create the perfect relationship.  That was my failed relationship with Slimeball.  I’ve been a person who leapt before I looked with Mercenary Guy…wow…that was eye-opening.  I’ve been the person who was adamant about wanting to be friends only and losing my faith that true love even existed.  That was High School Guy.

Now with my Harry.  I have this crazy relationship that seems absolutely perfect for me.  We started as friends who fell in love.  We gave each other space and time to build our friendship and our love.  And things are simply progressing.  Every day we build.  Every week we realize we love each other more and are more sure than ever that we are a good match.  Every month we get closer to fully integrating our lives.  And we are doing this so that as the years go by we can look back and know that we DID look before we leaped.  We did it right.  And when you do something right…you have a much better chance at success.

Neither one of us want to fail.

I believe you CAN have it all.  Just not all at the same time and not in the wrong order.  It’s no less romantic either.  Trust me.  Harry and I have lots of romance.

In Harry’s past he’s had a lot of life “happen to him”.  He found himself in situations that he would not have chosen.  I wanted to make sure that this time for his own sake that he got the chance to look before leaping.  I wanted to give him that.  For him and for me.  I don’t want to end up in something where one person felt pressured.  NO WAY.  And I don’t want to end up in a relationship where I want to be with someone more than they want to be with me.

It’s just more respectful all the way around.  And respect is the one thing missing in most failed relationships.

So I’ve looked, he’s looked…and I think we are just about ready to leap 🙂


2 responses to “Look Before You Leap

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