The early stages of a possible romance is probably one of the more fraught stages–uncertainty, anxiety, and yes–those dreaded butterflies in our stomach.  We are caught between a panic attack and feeling the fleeting thrills of the moment where hope allows us to glimpse possible reciprocation, and in the next minute we find ourselves doused in the cold water of uncertainty–wonder whether we have misread the signs of interest or whether we have experienced moments of clarity behind the initial dance of dating.

When we are in our younger years, we enjoyed this phase immensely and define it as the most exciting chapter because it is a prelude to a new experience or possibility.  When we become older, whether we wish to or not, we have the tendency of becoming more risk averse, and set in our ways and any indication of uncertainty does not sit well with us–and hence the most ‘exciting’ stage becomes the most confusing stage which we try to navigate with our outdated emotional equipment and hope to make it out in one piece.

We become torn between wanting a definitive conclusion and wanting enough time and space to be able to assess our potential partner and figure out how we feel about it.  It is this push and pull that becomes excruciating and should we just be a bit more emotional than the average person, it becomes a difficult stage which we wish to accelerate by all means–which might turn out to be a big mistake because entering hastily into a commitment, or leaving a potential romantic connection arbitrarily in order to escape the awkward uncertainty or possible rejection does not give both parties a fair chance.

For those of us who have not been in a relationship in quite a while, it can be a petrifying process akin to being thrown into a lake without a life preserver, while desperately trying to remember how to swim.  The initial stages might remind us the comforting solitude of being single where our emotions are not dependent upon the decisions and actions of another person.  We may wish for this quality of unilateral autonomy and attempt to shake off the unsettling feeling of including another person into our frame of reference.

We would then wonder how the other person would fit into our already busy lifestyle and whether we would be able to accommodate them into our set ways.  We then might also wonder whether we are merely enjoying a new friendship and whether we might be seeing what we wish to see instead of what is really there.  We might wonder whether we are setting ourselves up for disappointment by hoping or expecting too much.  We are fully aware that the other party has the prerogative to change their minds about furthering the connection, and so do we.

When we get to a point in our lives where we have gotten used to exercising more control over our lives as adults, it is difficult to relinquish control and acknowledge that in relationships, bilateral agreements are necessary and the professional prowess in creating results which we have honed in our career might not be applicable and it leaves us feeling helpless and vulnerable.  It would be an uncomfortable emotion to grapple with since we find ourselves outside the safe confines of our emotional cocoon.

It may very well be that all this is in our heads, and that it would all be for naught.  It might be that all the effort and intentions might not result in any significant life changes.  We must be aware of this fact that we cannot control or predict the future and if we so allow the experience to continue, we must be pliant and open to where the interaction might go next–and yes, risk heartbreak, hurt, and vulnerability.  Whatever happens, we can take comfort in the fact that we have gotten to where we are despite previous experiences, and we will be able to move forward knowing that we have been brave enough to take a chance.

(c) Niconica 2013

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