Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Freedom.

Is it safe to love yet?

My conversation with E’Lother has been on my mind for several days now. After a quick lunch in the car while I dropped some packages at the post office, a radio host reiterated parts of that discussion, citing the statistics for divorce and how we marry people who are opposites because they’re different and then we promptly try to “fix” them, make them into something they’re not, something they probably don’t want to be. Those little differences often end up becoming annoyances, at least I think so in my own marriage and divorce.

Yeah, it’s cool the way she dresses now, all leather or sexy or Goth or Medieval or gypsy. But will it be cool when the boss has invited the two of you to dinner? And yes, her furniture is funky, but is it something you’d want to sit on every night? And ooh, she makes up poetry in her head and songs out of nowhere, but eventually, wouldn’t you wish she’d be a little less engaged in her emotions? The novelty wears off, unless you both keep looking for it. If only one is seeking the new and original as the relationship matures, then it becomes tiring to the one whereas the other desperately wants the security of routine.

And it’s knowing how bad it hurts when a love fails that keeps you from venturing out again…or you venture and wonder why you bothered, when you discover a potential mate already has a long list of things he plans to change about you before you ever have dinner. I can’t see myself sharing my life with someone that different, ever. Different like me, with his own set of differences within our compatibility set…that I could do, I think.

But is it safe to love yet?

Is it ever really safe to put our hearts out there again and trust someone will be gentle, will love us as we are, will let us be who we are? Will be willing to let us change and willing to grow with us? Will want to explore life with us? Will love us, regardless? Will love us through our flaws and screw-ups and try to help us understand ourselves and each other and find that special place where our spirits ascend together? Maybe that’s too much to ask, but I’ve asked the Gods for it anyway.

Flying By Night novel

I’ve been working a lot this past year on unconditional love. That doesn’t mean I have to stay friends with someone who lies to me or date a man who mistreats me. As a double Pisces, I’m inclined to love in spite of imperfections and love deeply, loyally, forever, and overlook the flaws with a hazy romanticism that makes many issues bearable that others would not choose to endure. It takes an awful lot for make me walk away from someone I love that whole-heartedly. So when I’m working on unconditional love, it’s recognizing not just loving when it may never be returned in the same way but also setting up my boundaries so I can say openly what’s not acceptable. It’s saying, Yes, you screwed up and I still love you, but I don’t have to be in a relationship with you if you continue to abuse me. It’s saying, Yes, you’re flawed and I still care about you, but you cannot use our friendship to manipulate me. And it’s also saying, Yes, I love you, no matter what, just because you’re you.

I don’t like to use the word rejection. Rejection is about ego. We all feel it, though. We offer our love and it’s not accepted or not even acknowledged. Then our walls go up. Unconditional love for others means reaching out in spite of feeling rejected. It bypasses ego and goes straight to the heart.

But the possibility of rejection doesn’t mean it isn’t safe to love. I explore my own feelings in words and sometimes in music. It’s healthier than locking my emotions in a box and never letting them see the light of day. I live in my head with my ideas and intellect but I also live in my emotions, and that’s part of what makes me a compassionate and loving friend and partner, even though many of those friends aren’t terribly comfortable with my compassionate or passionate sides.

So is it safe to love yet? Yes. I think so. But just as much, I think I’m a safe person to love, too. I’m not saying I haven’t screwed up every now and then, but the mold I’m cut from isn’t one of intentional cruelty or game-playing or rampant materialism. I don’t draw air for the sake of cutting the hearts out of men with butter knives.

Wow. How funny to think of myself as “safe.”


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