The heart transgresses any rational logic. For months I would wake, loathing to face another lonely day of solitude. Each passing with no sight of a potential partner started to truly take a toll on me. While I may have passed several potential suitors each week, my original expectations in a partner start to fade as I attempt to sell myself on individuals with less than perfect characteristics. I’m weak, and there is no denying my desperation for love at this point. I guess I’m no good at being alone.
As a young teenager, the sample size of potential mates to draw from seemed minimal. Just to be given an opportunity to be physical with the opposite sex seemed like a reward in itself.
Confidence slowly emerges from your sexual successes that you had initially thought might never take place in your life, and if they did you would probably have to wait many years until you find your soulmate and married them. The wild temptations and desire to experience every race, body type, affixes to your psyche and the hunt begins. The starving hunger for attention and affection in my early twenties pulled me to places and people I most certainly wouldn’t have given much notice to today, let alone have investigated with such detail.
As your heart attempts to work through the earthshattering experience of losing at love, it grows very reluctant at dipping its’s toe back into the relationship pool again. You automatically brace for impact before anything even really starts to take form on the next relational match. Sometimes the once shattered heart will go to extremes to protect itself from the brutal agony of heartbreak. There are far too many variables for the human mind to contemplate and to fully establish a foolproof decision when it comes to love, but the heart and mind try their darndest formulate such a thing.
Income, education, family ties, social networks, spiritual beliefs, and kindness are the textbook boxes we look for to check off in one another and really take serve as the focal points as you desire a mate now in your 30’s. From a simple hot or not criteria to a well-outlined checklist. You make accommodations from the lessons life has thrown your way and how hormonal and societal pressures terribly influenced your choices in partners of the past. Now you need far more than a beautiful physique to draw you near to your next potential match. If anything, an extremely well-groomed exterior can almost serve as a warning sign, screaming at you that their insides most probably don’t match their outsides, rerouting your initial firey thirst to a more reserved and highly skeptical interaction with them. Chances are they too have had their own bouts with rejections and broken hearts that have nastily shaped them to now hold a guilty till proven innocent attitude towards people. They know the game and how powerful a bait appearance is in the dating world and have been regularly reinforced for their stimulating appearance.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?Jermiah 17:9 ESV
Love now goes from a place of connection and closeness to a place of potential sabotage and gruesome selfish manipulation. The honor that was originally associated with love from young age shifts into the subtle ugly internal recognition that you too have become far too jaded and now a part of the problem. You pursue a momentary partnership to basically use one another as sexual objects to masturbate with, telling yourself that true love is dead anyways.
The heart now firmly closed starts to guide you on all sorts of foolish missions of phony endearment that all end in further brokenness of your spirit. The mind begins to fill you with all sorts of twisted and terrifying thoughts that would cause the best of us to steer clear of commitment.
The years of torment and poor decision making have to lead you to be quite jaded by your mid to late ’30s, and at this point, you grow to wonder if it is even possible for you to experience a love your parents regularly encourage you to seek after in your very own life. This concept of holy matrimony appears to be a foreign tide that came and went for your lifetime at least, reserved only for a certain lucky few.
Recently my path has crossed with another beautiful soul who comes complete with her own degree of brokenness, even so, it has brought an opening of my heart that brings me back to the early flutters and excitement I felt years ago from my first love. The trouble is, with only a few months into our time together and I can already sense my fears boiling up, and I too begin to brace myself for an end that hasn’t even arrived yet. An old game of protecting yourself at all costs comes to the forefront of the mind, and fight or flight kicks in. This silly old game has no real winners and blocks both of us from the sunlight of the spirit that love often ignites.
As these worries build, I can’t help but want to run and escape a probable demise that I have felt far too many times in the past and wish to avoid at all costs. But, is this not something I had been longing for all along? Had I not been seeking someone to share life and grow with? Did I happen to overestimate the joy, and underestimate the terror that comes as a result of things not working out and the long period of recovery needed if and when things fade to black? I mean, statistically speaking all relationships are doomed to failure, except for the one that turns into marriage, and yet we still aren’t even safe if your nuptials have been read according to the stats.
So why would I even bother to throw myself to the wolves again with the odds stacked so highly against me?
That rationale too has some shortsightedness to it, and remember the heart isn’t the best strategist, but when you do connect with someone on that heart level the rest of life just seems to be that much more manageable. Life ceases to be one big mass of chaos with you at the center of it and you spotlight shift to include another being who has their own desires and longings that you don’t mind seeking after as well, as long as they are by your side. While it may end in complete meltdown, those select moments seem to hold so much fulfillment in life that the risk is worth the reward. I guess it really is true that it is better to love and lost than to never have loved at all. Life is a random sequence of events that is best experienced with others, especially someone who is standing on the sidelines eagerly waiting to jump in to prop you back up when you fall.
So when you are prodded with the question again if you are ready to start loving again after another broken relationship, what will it be? Will it be to guard the heart again, or will it be to seek after those beautiful moments of timeless woven connection? The choice is yours. Which wolf will you feed?