Cautiously in love

I just wanted to say thank you very much to everyone who has taken the time to stop by and read my blog. A much bigger thank you to those who have liked, commented, followed, etc. I appreciate the support and am thrilled that you find this subject and the content as appealing as I do.

For today’s post, I received a question from a reader that I want to share and respond to. (If anyone else has any questions they want me to tackle, please feel free to send them in!)

Can you address how getting close to someone can create a feeling of vulnerability to the point where you fear getting too close to the person?
– Cautiously in love

Dear Cautiously in love,

My very first post mentioned a New York Times article discussing how Alain Badiou thought it was absurd that tourists were chaining love locks on Parisian bridges:

The idea that you can lock two people’s love once and for all, and toss the key, is a puerile fantasy. For Mr. Badiou, love is inherently hazardous, always on the brink of failure and above all vulnerable.

We are taught from a young age in the Western world to plan and to go for what we want. We have a difficult time acknowledging that not everything is in our control and that we aren’t as independent and as self-reliant as we try to convince ourselves we are. And love is one of those things that profoundly shakes up our sense of independence. It lays bare all of our vulnerabilities and weaknesses, exposing them not just to others, but also to ourselves.

A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini and Richard Lannon introduces the idea of open-loop limbic resonance, meaning our brain functions are created and physically changed by those we care for.

“Because loving is a reciprocal physiologic influence, it entails a deeper and more literal connection than most realize. Limbic regulation affords lovers the ability to modulate each other’s emotions, neurophysiology, hormone status, immune function, sleep, rhythms, and stability…. Lovers hold the key to each other’s identities, and they write neostructural alterations into each other’s networks.”

So remember all those times when you can’t sleep at night because your significant other is away? Yes, those aren’t just because you’re pining for them and madly in love. It’s also because your brain misses the regulation that he or she provides by being close.

I think that the vulnerability you’re feeling is because both your heart and your head are slowly becoming more and more dependent on someone else and you are trying to think your way out of it. That fear you feel comes from the logical, socially-conditioned place that is resisting the direction your body is going in. And that’s fine. There’s a lot to be said for being cautious and not completely giving in to your emotions. You need to have some sense of self-awareness to be able to protect yourself in the event that your head and heart have misjudged.

But for now…guess what? The fact that you feel vulnerable means that you are already in too deep, so stop trying to think yourself out of it. Give your brain and your heart a chance! 🙂

loop of dependence


Love’s “Get Out” Clause

In my first post, I discussed about how the French view love according to a New York Times article:

To love truly is to want the other free, and this includes the freedom to walk away. Love is not about possession or property. Love is no prison where two people are each other’s slaves.

The thing is that as much as I would like to believe this, I don’t. At all!


I come from a culture of arranged marriages. My parents had met each other a few times, perhaps three or four, before they were married, and divorce was never an option. As much as they disagreed with each other, as much as they fought, walking away would never have been allowed by either of their families, particularly since my brother and I were in the picture. Sometimes I used to think that Indian culture was too oppressive, and that they should be able to walk away if they were not happy with each other, but if I asked them now, they would have been glad they did not give up.

There are some relationships that you can’t undo. I can never be an ex-daughter or an ex-sister. Whether I am on good terms or bad, whether I speak to my family or not, they will be my family. And the fact that they are gives me an incentive to make sure things are on good terms.

I’d view my future children on the same level. Once you have children, you can’t undo that, you can’t become an ex-mother again. Even if you disown your children, give them up for adoption, the relationship never changes. They are your kids, it’s a fact. I would want to have the same type of relationship with the person I decide to marry and have children with. I don’t want there to be a “get out” clause. I don’t want there to be the option of being an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife. I’m sure nobody wants a relationship to end but I don’t even want the option of walking away to exist. I think to really love someone means to stay sometimes when you want to go. Not of course in situations where you’re being mentally or physically abused or you are being devalued and made to feel bad about yourself.

Sometimes the harder thing to do is to stay and work through it. You don’t always feel like you love your parents, you’re not always going to feel like you love your significant other.

I suppose I feel this way because I don’t understand what people mean when they say they fell out of love. I mean duh! Those lovey dovey feelings never stay the same, but they change and evolve to a deeper, more companion-type feeling. You also do your best to keep the romance alive. Maybe it’s that there are other issues in the relationship that the couple doesn’t know how to deal with, so they start becoming emotionally disconnected, and rather than addressing the disconnect, they assume that there is something inherently wrong in the relationship. And next thing you know, the love is supposedly gone and there is a reason to walk away.

I’m not saying that all relationships can work. But if you have a good foundation, someone who has the 4-5 core traits you want in a partner, then I don’t see why the relationship can’t be fixed. You just need two willing people….and you need to get the “get out” clause out of your head!

Or am I being too naive?