It’s not until we find ourselves hiking down a long path in love that we come to realize something: Maybe this path isn’t for me. As the path meanders forward, perhaps you see no excitement or happiness, only calm, meandering, uninterrupted terrain that promises to cushion your feet well.
But what if you want more than cushioned feet?
The Crossroads: Safe vs. Exciting
Perhaps you find yourself in the situation of all situations when it comes to love: You’re at a crossroads. At one end awaits the person you should be with, and at the other end is the person you’d love to be with.
Your ego might be shouting at you within the confines of your own skull, saying things like, “You could never have him!” in reference to the man you fantasize over.
This voice ultimately forces you down the well-beaten path towards a safe and comfortable man for safe and comfortable love.
I’ve seen this happen before, both in close friends and in myself.
Choosing the safe method rarely offers the advantages we may have thought it would. Opting for someone because he loves you or will never hurt you or treats you well aren’t always the best reasons to create a loving, successful, fulfilling and lasting relationship.
Safe: The “Me” Reasoning
What I’ve also discovered when comparing the two routes is: When you’re on the “safe” path with the “safe” man, you’ll rarely boast about how incredible a person he is, how handsome or cute he is or what an exciting, spontaneous creature he is.
So when you get that inevitable question of “why him?” you should pay close attention to your answer. Interestingly enough, answering in the form of “me” (He's so good to me. He makes me feel loved.) could be the indication that you’re in the relationship for the wrong reasons altogether.
Don’t get me wrong, these are all important aspects to have in a relationship. But if these are the reasons that fill up your list, especially when at the crossroads, ask yourself: What about him?
If there aren’t attributes about him that you absolutely adore, only an ideal atmosphere for you that he creates, you need to ask yourself something more: Wouldn’t you rather be with someone who enamors you, makes you proud and makes you want to gush – about him – rather than just you?
Why We Choose Safe
Women, because we have a need to always feel safe and loved and adored, often choose the safe and comfortable path when it comes to love.
Don’t get me wrong, this can lead to happiness for many, and perhaps is better suited for later in life when we’re not so eager to find fulfillment and excitement.
But for a young woman like myself, and in the experiences of those closest to me, this choice tends to be very self-defeating. You’ll get the safe and comfortable relationship you may have craved, but you’ll soon realize that it’s utterly unfulfilling.
It leads only to a safe and comfortable life, and most saddening, leads to a safe and comfortable kind of you.
Risky: The Edge and Excitement Of Danger
Though this path my seem to have a “danger” sign in front of it, with an uneven terrain and many hazards that make your inner alert-system go off repeatedly, it might also be the one you’re drawn to most.
This route is a challenge; something that will take your best effort to overcome. It’s unpredictable, and though it’s set on the side of a cliff, it offers the most wonderful and spectacular views.
Maybe the man at the end of this route is someone who makes you laugh. Perhaps he makes you feel excited and wildly beautiful. Maybe his spontaneity and zest for life introduces an entirely new world you never knew existed. Maybe when glaring into his eyes, you feel supercharged with love (or maybe just plenty of oxytocin).
Here’s the thing: Choosing the right partner often becomes a balancing act between safety and risk.
I’m not urging any woman to choose the walking red flag who is sure to hurt her; I’m simply pointing out the certain edge this exciting route has over the safe route.
As we get older, we can differentiate between the undeserving, cheating and lying exciting man, and the honest and worthy, slightly unpredictable exciting man.
Until experience can help you decide between the two paths, though, of course always turn inward: What is your gut telling you?
A Love That Makes You Love You More
When it comes to love, I’ve realized something quite profound, which urges me to place a heavy, unanswered question on love itself: Is love really love for someone else, or is it just love for ourselves, filtered through and emphasized by the interpretations of other people?
Here’s what I mean: There is a certain type of love, and one that is just as easily found in platonic love, that you love so much, it makes you love you more, too.
It’s the type of friendship or relationship that only comes around a handful of times in life. For me, I can count maybe three people throughout my life – some still around, others not – who I have loved in an exceptional, unforgettable, irrevocable kind of way.
After pondering these unique relationships and comparing them with the other, less fulfilling kinds, I realize what the major, differentiating aspect is. I realize that when surrounded by these particular people I love so much, I love me more, too.
For whatever reason, these people make me someone better, someone I enjoy being, and though perhaps she only shows her face in their company, someone I feel I’m meant to be.
These very special paths of love involve me and the one I love so dearly, skipping and laughing down the path, enjoying every second of being together. We may trip and fall on an uprooted stump or two, but we’re unafraid.
We’re goofy, and we sing and dance like morons without a care in the world. We’re free and we’re truly happy.
When I think of it, this has got to be the key to finding the “one.”
I’d imagine this is what being with your best friend would be like. Imagine being in a relationship with someone who is so special, intriguing, exciting and adorable. He makes you a better person.
Someone who makes you laugh and heightens you to your best version of yourself so you can conquer the world; someone who makes you feel suddenly fulfilled and able to make all your wildest dreams come true.
Someone who is so special and incredible standing alone, that the reflection of you in his eyes makes you that much more special.
This is someone who isn’t only meant for you, but also someone who makes you feel like you’re really… you.