I recently got my heart broken again. We only dated for a short time, but I truly believe that it’s not how long you are together, but how deep your connection is. I was with someone for 5 ½ years and didn’t feel as deeply connected as I did with this man. It was fast and furious, as many of my connections have been. I don’t meet many guys who can keep up with my quick wit and fast thinking, who can appreciate my sensitivity, who can travel to the depths of the emotional pool that I like to swim in. I don’t often meet men who can communicate openly, express themselves clearly, and say they are ready and looking for a relationship. But when I do…”oh the places we’ll go!”, I think in my head. I get so excited, and then immediately try to tamp down that excitement and play it cool, because...what if it doesn’t work out? What if they ghost? What if they disconnect and pull away? I try not to tell friends and family I’m dating someone until it looks like there could be some potential. And yet my most recent experiences have been with men who come at me with such a wave of desire, enthusiasm, passion, and adoration, I get swept up. I’m of the mindset that it’s always better to open your heart, when given the opportunity, then to hide it away or throw up walls, even if it means getting hurt.

The best thing about being in these relationships is not the companionship or the attention or affection (although those are lovely, let’s be serious). It’s that I feel that I am my best self in them. I try not to let my head run away with thoughts of the future and what could happen, but to think to myself “I just want to enjoy this moment, and enjoy being someone I love while I'm with someone I like.” Because for so long, I didn’t like who my relationships turned me into, because I chose the wrong partners: I was dating men who triggered my wounds, who didn’t respect me enough, or were too emotionally unavailable to give me what I needed. I’ve learned to give so much of that to myself, and I believe my desire for a partner is because I’m ready to move on with that part of my life and because there’s only so much growth you can do on your own, as I've said before in a past post.

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And yet it’s heartbreaking to date, and to date in Tel Aviv, and to do it at 31. You get your heart stomped on over and over again, intentionally and unintentionally, by stand-up guys and by jerks. And the only thing you can do is piece yourself back together again, build your heart up stronger than it was before, keep the faith that the right one (at the right time) won’t leave, won’t get scared, will be a good match. And do your best not to shut down, not to close your heart, not to get cynical or despondent. I know women who became suspicious of men, put up their guards, and met the loves of their lives anyway. I’m not a cynical person by nature , but I am reflective, and I’ve asked myself if opening my heart so fully, so quickly is a smart idea. But despite the pain, despite the aggravation, despite the loss...I think I’d do it all over again. Because I’ve shown myself that I’m capable of giving and receiving love, and I’ve gotten a taste of what that big love is all about. And I’m not willing to settle until I find the real thing.

May we all be open and vulnerable with our hearts. May we heal from the things that have hurt us, and become stronger because of them. May we all find real, lasting love that helps us to become better people.

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