Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Relationships: Look before you leap

Relationships: Look before you leap

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Tuesday, October 12, 2004 10:36 PM

The tendency to jump mindlessly into relationships first and think about the consequences later is more common than you imagine. People do it all the time.

Because the initial surge of good feelings can be so compelling, there is a rush to secure a budding relationship with little care about its negative potential in the future. And if you’re looking for long-term happiness, it is what lies ahead, down the road, that really matters.

Getting into a love relationship is the easiest thing in the world. It happens to countless persons daily. Holding that relationship steady and causing it to grow over the years is something else again. Like so many other matters, we are good at starting things, but a lot less successful at getting long-term results.

New love is exciting. Nobody doubts that. The adrenalin rush is something poets have written about down through the years. There are few more exhilarating happenings one can experience in life. Perhaps that is why people are so swift to grasp at love when the love bug bites. It is as if they simply cannot resist. Like the moth that is inexorably drawn to the dancing flame, humans can never seem to stand back and do some serious thinking before rushing forward to experience more of those good feelings that are so quickly generated by initial love.

It is precisely the swiftness of these exciting feelings that convinces us of the authenticity of what we are feeling. It’s like “these feelings are so powerful, they cannot be wrong. This is it. This is the real thing. It cannot be otherwise.” And so we jump headlong into the relationship in order to secure those good feelings before we lose them. There is precious little serious thinking that goes on. No time for that. We have to hurry before the magical spell is lost.

All too often, however, we eventually discover, much to our grief, that the water we dove into was shallow and full of rocks. When reality hits us hard, we discover that like so much magic it was just a mirage. We are angry and embarrassed that we could have been fooled so completely. We kick ourselves for having jumped without first looking carefully. We cannot believe we were so reckless, so unthinking.

As we attend to our wounds, we realize that most of them are self-inflicted. If only we had not been taken in by those initial good feelings we would have not damaged ourselves so badly. If only we had shown more discipline, more good judgment, we could and would have avoided a lot of unnecessary pain.

Just about the only consolation we have is that hopefully we have learned some important lessons about feelings, emotions and their potential to mislead us. Perhaps we can now build on the ashes and the debris of the collapsed relationship and start anew. Humbled and sporting scars from the past, we can move forward once more and continue our search for a meaningful love. Perhaps the next time we will hesitate and look carefully before jumping.


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