The Risk of Falling.

Lloyd Dobler stood outside Diane Court’s window with a boom box over his head to win her back. Jake Ryan showed up to Sam Baker’s sisters wedding to sweep her off her feet. Mr. Big flew to Paris to get Carrie back. What if to take a chance on something or someone you thought could make you happy required you to act in a way that seemed foreign, uncomfortable like the aforementioned gentleman? Would it be worth it if in the end you found some treasure you couldn’t have without the sacrifice and momentary abandon of sanity? Would that make it right, okay, better, enough? Perhaps, but isn’t that the very nature of falling in love, reckless abandon, letting down our guard, opening up and inviting someone into our hearts and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. Love and the pursuit of it can be as risky and thrilling as a high stakes poker game.

I for one think the paramount part of taking risks when it comes to dating, relationships and love is the actual risk. The experience you have embarking into the unknown. So what if you end up empty handed or have to fold? People may think you are out of your mind to take such a huge risk without a safety net and you might end up broke or broken hearted. But you will have an experience that no one can take away from you and maybe even a life long friend.

Why is it that when rationalizing behavior we so often look at the ends as justification? Is it because its the only way we can consciously allow ourselves to take risks that we clearly understand and recognize could be harmful? When we gamble on anything related to our personal relationships we want to win the jackpot every time. We need the final result to be love, the happily ever after, the fairytale. That just isn’t possible.

The very act of falling in love and pursuing love is as risky as driving on Los Angeles freeways but we still continue to commute. And yes, we won’t drive without insurance, we look before we leap; we buy the extended warranty all to protect ourselves. But when it comes to matters of the heart there is little to no protection from almost certain disaster and 99% of romantic encounters are going to fail. It’s only the one relationship that is going to last ultimately and that’s true for everyone. So if the odds are against us then why even bother you ask?

There is a reason that women love the characters Lloyd, Jake and Mr. Big; they all took a chance in the name of love. When we fall in love we risk getting hurt, being rejected, possibly losing a friendship or our emotional well-being. But despite the warning signs, the hurt from the past, our relationship battle scars, we fall again. We move forward hoping this time it will last and falling in love is worth the risk. Why? Because the pay off is so damn good. The companionship of an intimate relationship with another person that makes us feel less alone and more alive. There is no joy without the pain, and it’s the pain that should make us stronger not make us overly cautious.

I have dated people who are so afraid of getting hurt. They build up these walls keeping out the danger and never fully experience the bliss of falling head over heels and sometimes flat on your face in love. Yes falling in love has its risks, going on first dates can be intimidating and dating can be scary because they all have the potential to fail and leave you hurt. But ultimately they all get you a bit closer to the last first date and the real lasting love.

So take a chance, risk it all, bet against the odds, let yourself fall, open your heart, pull the crazy stunt, fly to Africa, gamble and put yourself completely out there. Open yourself up to the possibility that love doesn’t always have to follow a traditional pattern. Playing it safe doesn’t pay off when it comes to love. You have to go all in and have a bit of blind faith that your next hand might be a royal flush.


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