Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Loving Means Allowing Yourself to Be Vulnerable

Hi, Terry-

Here's a quote from one of your emails:

"After a lot of soul-searching, I determined that I was afraid to fall in love, or to become dependent on the love of a wonderful man who might someday get sick or die or otherwise disappoint me."

How did you overcome this? I would be very interested in your response.


Hello, S-

Thanks for writing.

Getting over my fear of losing a loved one definitely took sustained effort. In retrospect, I believe my quest for love was profoundly hindered by my terror of losing it.

At one point, I sat down and asked myself what was the worst thing that could happen if my husband suddenly died, for example. I wrote everything that came to mind down and thought about it. I mean, falling in love requires vulnerability, and there are never any guarantees in life for any of us.

Even after Peter and I were happily dating, and it became clear that we were headed for marriage, I'd stand on the train platform and suddenly be overcome with the terrifying fear that he'd die suddenly (his brother died suddenly of an aneurysm at age 20, my grandmother lost her husband to cancer in his mid-forties), and I'd have to remind myself: There are no guarantees in life.

For some reason, knowing that the playing field is level in that way for all of us (no matter what we do, where we live, or how much money we make) gave me comfort, and it encouraged me to keep picturing a happy future. I also reminded myself of my own strength, and that if I did suffer the loss of my husband, it would be painful but I did possess the emotional and mental resources to eventually move on.

Every now and then, I remind myself that none of us is going to live forever. It helps me not to take the good things in my life (my husband, children) for granted.

Does this help? I truly hope so!


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