Love With a Ten-Foot Pole

When catching up with my mom’s neighbor (and member of the virtual Lisa cheering squad over the last 6 years) last month, he jokingly asked me how I managed to fall in love again.

“I assumed you would have those boys held back with a ten-foot pole. After what you’ve been through, I sure wouldn’t blame you!”

“It doesn’t work that way,” I responded. “Love from ten feet away is no love at all. Gotta go for it or decide you it’s not for you.”

Love is all or none.

If you try to hold it at a distance, you end up pushing it away.

If you attempt to control it, you will inevitably strangle it.

If you build walls and hang back out of a fear of being hurt, you are avoiding the very intimacy that is the foundation of a relationship.

If you punish your new partner for the sins of the old, you are wrapping the new in the cloak of the past.

If you assume that this partner will also hurt you, you are more likely to be hurt again. After all, the dog that you expect to bite often does.

Love is always a risk. Whether you’ve been hurt before or not.

It’s just that those of us who have felt the anguish of an end know exactly what it is we are risking.

And you may decide that it’s not for you. That you’re happier alone and don’t want the risk or the compromises again.

That’s okay. Life is not one size fits all. Tailor your life to your specifications.

But if you do decide you want to let love in, you have to be ready to embrace it. Risks and all.

That ten-foot pole may make you feel safer, but all it’s really doing is keeping love at arm’s length.

Love is all or none.

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5 thoughts on “Love With a Ten-Foot Pole

  1. I agree 100%. When people attempt to “protect themselves” from being hurt again, all they are doing is ensuring that they will never be able to experience love fully.

  2. Reblogged this on healingafterhisaffair and commented:
    Common sense, yet very profound. A good reminder today. I’ve let fear control me. I’ve tried to control so much in my life. I thought control would give me the outcome I wanted. I thought control would prevent my worst fears from becoming my reality. I thought control would keep my husband faithful. I’ve learned that I can’t control life. I definitely can’t control anyone else on this planet besides myself. In my effort to avoid pain, I didn’t give myself completely to my husband. Even before his affair. I carried pain from a previous relationship into my marriage. I held a secret for 20 years. I never allowed myself to be vulnerable, as I vowed I wouldn’t be a victim again. I thought he couldn’t hurt me if I never let him all the way in. What I’ve learned now is that I’m not a victim if I give love to someone. I’m not a victim if I allow them to love me. I’m not a victim if I make myself vulnerable. Yes, I may get hurt but I’m not a victim. The reality is that anyone we love has the potential to hurt us – and most likely will (spouses, parents, kids, etc). But I’m not a victim. But keeping loved ones at a distance also keeps the love at a distance. You miss out on a true, deep, intimate connection. And that, is a very sad way to live.
    I have learned that my marriage definitely doesn’t have a chance if I love at a distance. I have learned that to truly reconcile I need to forgive and learn to let the past go. I need to learn to live in the moment. Not giving the past any more power, nor worrying about the future. Just take each day as it comes. Damn, that’s hard for me. I’m a classic worrier and over thinker, much to my own demise. Worrying doesn’t stop bad things from happening, it just robs you from enjoying the good.
    Here’s to adopting a new attitude about fear and control. Here’s to looking at life in a new way. I know this won’t happen over night. I know this will take alot of effort and thought. I know it will be challenging and scary. I know I will want to revert to old ways that feel safer in the moment. I also know that I can do this. I’ve got this! Without great risk, there is no great reward, right?

  3. It certainly is true that when you love you have to be all in or it isn’t love at all. I don’t think I’m quite ready to let someone in yet, but I want to be some day.

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