I'm here to talk about those amazing relationships people dream of being in. You know the ones. They're the relationships that mend the broken pieces of your past, and they make you feel like you are actually going to be OK again. They're the ones that make you believe in miracles.
Until now, my life has been filled with a string of complicated, weird and scarring relationships. I had slowly taught myself to only go after guys who were emotionally unavailable or whom I subconsciously wasn't into. That way, I could always protect my feelings, and I never had to worry about dealing with real heartache.
Enter in the "game changer" I'm dating right now. Let's call him Fabio*. He appeared at the exact time I had promised myself I would focus only on myself. (Ironic, right? I see what you did there, life. Very funny.)
I will never forget our first date. We went out for a beer and ended up just talking for hours. After I left, I felt giddy for the first time in a long time. We went out a few more times, and every date, I discovered more and more about him.
I began to daydream about a future with him, and I started to “catch the feelings.” This is usually the time in any dating endeavor when I would leave before I got left, but I had a gut feeling Fabio was worth fighting through my fears for.
There were days when I would look at him and almost feel guilty for liking him so much. My urge was to run before I got any deeper, but thankfully, I had some amazing friends who helped talk me through it all. They pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Fast-forward to now: I fall more in love with him every day. But with every step I take, there is a hint of fear. I finally have someone I am afraid to lose. For the first time in my life, I have invested myself emotionally and fully in a relationship.
To be honest, it is absolutely horrifying. I love adventure. I have traveled around Europe by myself, I am a motivational speaker, I run a business and out of accomplishing all of that, none of it has scared me as much as this does. This adventure has made me rethink every relationship I have ever been in. I reflected on some of the things I have noticed and learned since we started dating.
Here are four thoughts on why a little bit of fear is a good thing for relationships:
1. You appreciate and respect the relationship and the person.
We've all had relationships in which we have taken things for granted. Respect is a huge component of a healthy relationship. If you don't respect your partner, you probably aren't scared of losing him or her. If you don't care whether you are together or not, you probably shouldn't be with that person.
2. Being scared of losing someone means they are something worth losing.
A relationship is an investment. You don't put your money behind something you don't believe in. If someone had asked me to bet on some of the relationships I've had in the past, I would have bet against myself. (Sorry if any of you are reading this and are offended.) If you don't put effort in, you won't care if things take a turn for the worst.
3. The same person who scares you also makes you feel fearless.
The feeling of having someone on your team — no matter what — is the coolest feeling in the world. When losing that person is your biggest fear, everything else seems pale in comparison. You have the ability to push past obstacles and go after goals in other parts of your life. When you take fear out of the equation, you can accomplish anything.
4. That fear can also empower you.
When you find that person who loves you for you, you don't care what anyone else thinks. When someone else loves you after knowing the real you, you end up falling in love with yourself. You become authentic and ultimately happier because of it.
Love is its own adventure, and just like any other journey, there are obstacles and plot twists around every corner. As I am learning, relationships are not for the faint of heart. You peel back the layers of your life, and you hope the vulnerability will be reciprocated. You don't know what the future holds, and all you have is the word of that other person.
It's like walking on a tight rope with someone at the bottom who has promised to be your net. You have to trust that if you fall, the person will catch you. But, you don't know for sure unless you fall.
I believe that although fear is typically looked at as a negative emotion, it isn't. We are put on this earth to take chances, fail, succeed, learn from our mistakes and ultimately live. If we aren't taking chances and scaring ourselves every once in a while, are we even really living?
*Name has been changed.
Disclaimer: In no way am I condoning an abusive relationship. If you don't feel safe or protected in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).