I recently wrote about my finally finding happiness in a great guy. I’ve talked in the past about my friend who dates the most romantic guy who “makes love” to her while listening to Sade. We spend out lives searching for Mr. Right or at least a guy who makes us happy and completes us when we didn’t even know that we weren’t whole. Well, what happens when we do find that special someone? Do we just suddenly accept happiness and spend our days smiling about our great lives and ruminating over how it could possibly get any better than it already is? Chances are sadly, no. We tend to want what we can’t have and when we get what we want we fear losing it. So, when we finally meet the right guy rather than living in a love struck bliss we wallow and weep over the dread of losing this new found happiness because now that we know what love and contentment feels like we can’t live without it.
Finding great love is like a high, a rush. You become tingly all over and shiver excitedly when you think about your partner’s embrace. Yet, just like with a drug you experience withdrawals in absence and crave more and more to get that same great feeling. Love is a great thing and you’re lucky to find it, don’t get me wrong, it just can take over your life without you even realizing it. You slowly spend more time with him than you do you friends. You spend your days thinking about being with him and you just can’t get enough of him. You start to be reminded of him by songs and think of him when in a store and you see something he would like. Before you know it, he is so ingrained in your existence that if he were to leave you would be devastated. This is why it is critical to take things slow in the beginning, keep seeing your friends and make “girls night” just as important if not more so than “date night.” This is easier said than done when love strikes but it’s imperative if you want to have your cake and eat it too. At least if you maintain friendships, hobbies, etc then if you do break up or the relationship doesn’t ever materialize you will not be left as wounded and weak as if you through yourself in wholeheartedly.
I wrote the other day in my Chivalry is Not Dead article that I’d finally found a nice guy and that alas all hope is not lost in finding a quality man. Well, with the excitement of meeting this great catch comes the nerves from fear of losing him. We are still in dating infancy and aren’t even official yet but after 6 fun-filled weeks and a vacation together I am hoping to soon enough refer to him as my boyfriend. However, amidst the contentment and excitement of my new found happiness is a pit of nerves and the fear of going back to a normal single life. I of course will survive just fine single as I have for years and have great friends and some important hobbies I maintain like painting but that does not mean it will be easy to give up this daily smiling and this high I get being around him. Of course this potential ending is all an unfounded fear and he has given me no reason to doubt his attraction to me or happiness with me. So, why do I do it? Why torture myself with what ifs and thinking about a life that is less satisfying than the one I currently lead? Well, it’s simple–we have a need to be prepared for the worst. If we expect it, envision it, plan for it then if lightening strikes and we lose our Prince Charming or McDreamy we aren’t totally shocked or unprepared. It’s the same reason why it is best take things slow and why guys fear commitment (though they won’t admit it)–everyone fears getting hurt and so we put up walls and plan for disaster so the pain of heartbreak won’t hit us like a ton of bricks.
The real trick with tackling the fear of happiness is not letting it get in the way of enjoying your pleasurable moments. Don’t let your fears become reality by allowing for the self fulfilling prophecy to take effect. It’s rationale to be afraid of losing something great but it’s irrational to let that fear consume and drive you. Accept that everything works itself out and if it is meant to be then it will be. It may help to remember past relationships like when you swore he was the one and you were in love then he dumped you but now he’s got a drug problem, is married to a 40 year old stripper and has 4 kids and you think to yourself “thank God I dodged a bullet.” I hope that things work out with my new guy because he’s truly amazing and I didn’t even know a guy like this could exist but if it doesn’t I will accept that it wasn’t meant to be, paint a bunch of pictures, get drunk with some friends, and shed some tears while cuddling with my puppy and then move on. Life is too short to waste being unhappy and it’s certainly not wise to waste the happy times living in fear of the miserable ones. Enjoy the good moments as best you can and face the bad ones with a deep breath, careful thought, and a glass (or three) of wine.