Sunday, October 14, 2012

Love is Frightening

Owen and I enjoy sharing the story of how we became a couple, partly because it seems so bizarre. When we first started dating we didn't like each other very much, my previous post Two Years Of Letting It All Out details some of that time. People always ask, "Then why were you dating?" Good question... After 2.5 years of reflection, we're just starting to understand it ourselves.

The guards were up before we even started dating. Each of us was drawn to the other, but both of us feared the implications of dating, Owen stating that he feared the "black hole" of lost friendship. When we finally did cross the friend line we cried. That evening we allowed ourselves to be vulnerable with each other and talked about the possibilities. I remember feeling an uncanny comfort being in Owen's presence that night, truly as if we belonged to each other.

The night of our first kiss we bumped into a friend with a camera.
The next day, our guards were up again. Dating Owen was hard. I remember talking with one of my friends about how the beginning of relationships was supposed to be this overly-happy idealistic time, but that it wasn't for us. We were frustrated with the new life of being tied to one another and each of us blamed the other for our frustrations, which is why we say we didn't like each other very much. In hindsight we agree that our frustration didn't come from each other so much as from the growing pains of change; love is a frightening prospect!

P.S. I Love You romantically portrays the change brought by love when Holly first meets Gerry:

Gerry: you have my jacket.
Holly: I'm keeping it unless we meet again, otherwise that will be the most perfect kiss ever shared by two strangers.
Gerry: I bet we will meet again.
Holly: You better win that bet, because if we do, that'll be the end of it.
Gerry: The end of what?
Holly: Life as we know it.

In this scene Holly hopes that she will meet Gerry again and that her life will change, but in real life I don't think many of us look forward to the drastic change that comes with love! In real life it's exhausting. It's frustrating and nebulous. Owen and I were both comfortable single, each enjoying the freedom of only having to think about ourselves. Neither of us wanted to introduce something like love into our vocabularies or our daily lives.

In becoming a couple we each had to learn to be less selfish, more open with our emotions, more flexible with our time, and more aware of our own flaws. Neither of us felt ready for that! I've had several friends say to me, "I'm not ready for marriage; I'm not ready to sacrifice." Are we ever really prepared? Owen and I didn't feel prepared, but as we fell in love the changes came naturally. The fear of the change was much more difficult to deal with than the change itself. And really, I do believe that change is good (Ever Persistent Change). When everything around us changes all the time, isn't the prospect of not changing actually more frightening than that of changing?

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