In my family, there’s an aspect about my love life (or lack, thereof) that makes me uncomfortable. My eldest sister is happily married and my other sister has been in the same relationship all her life. I, on the other hand, have been in a few relationships and have introduced more than one guy to my family. Not only does it get a little awkward attending reunions alone (where I used to bring someone else), but it’s also getting old hearing jokes about my non-existent love.
I really do miss the feeling of being in love sometimes. You know, the hand-holding, the cuddling and the annoying whispers that nobody else could understand. The secret smiles, the little notes and the thoughtful gifts. That feeling of being on top of the world, loved in spite of all my imperfections. A built-in best friend and Prince Charming in one person. Until the fights. The petty arguments that blow up into an out-and-out war. The screaming and the crying…
On second thought, why on earth do I want to fall in love again? Break-ups are brutal. That feeling of brokenness after the final and ugliest squabble. The permanently puffy eyes, the runny nose, the erratic state of mind between wanting him back and wanting to show the world I’m over him. The disgusting feeling of being replaced because I wasn’t good enough for someone. The pain that never really disappears but doubles at the worst or most unexpected moments: remembering the good times we spent at a certain place or cringing when our song sneaks up on me on my own playlist, or worse—when I’m at a public place and either Taylor Swift or Adele suddenly starts crooning incredibly tear-jerking lines over the loudspeakers.
I’m at a safe place now. Not in love, but at least not in line for yet another heartbreak. I can do as I please without worrying about how my plans would affect a significant others’. I can date, no strings attached. I can focus on my career without neglecting a professed love. When I think about it this way, it’s tempting to say that I would go so far as to never want to get married. Incidentally, I started writing this to point out the reasons why, until I realized that it’s not exactly marriage I’m scared of, but the feeling of pouring your heart out to somebody again, only to have them throw the contents back in your face.
It’s scary to put yourself on the line without any kind of assurance that this time, it will last. It’s so much easier to just date other people without the pressures of making it last forever when it might very well not. I know that falling in love is always a risk that just might pay off with the right guy, but how many times am I willing to break before I find Mr. Right? It’s too idealistic to believe that I never want to fall in love again in my 20s, I know. But it’s too big a risk—one I’m not entirely certain I want to take.
I wonder what it would be like to be unafraid to fall in love. To willingly and freely give my heart away, believing in happy-ever-afters even without any kind of guarantee. To honestly accept that “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” To go back to the wide-eyed me who never had her heart broken and trusted that love could really conquer all. To become the fairy tale princess who would never lose faith in her prince.
I wonder what it would be like to fall in love again. Would I let myself? Or have I been turned to stone, immovable, to save myself from a world of pain?
If there is one thing I am certain of, though, it’s that someday, if I should ever learn to love again, I will definitely be happier. How exhilarating it must feel to no longer be afraid.