Fear of falling in love

   “I met a guy,” my girlfriend confided in me yesterday.

“That’s great!” I squealed. “Tell me all about him!” 

In the world of single women, gossiping about our new guy is a favorite pastime. When a girlfriend meets someone she’s crazy about, we love to live vicariously through her. It gives us some glimmer of hope that our soul mates do exist

“Oh he’s great – it’s great,” she said. “I’m just afraid.”

“Afraid of what?” I asked.

“Of getting hurt,” she replied.

That sounded so silly to me. Getting hurt is just one of those things that’s inevitable when you’re in a relationship, isn’t it? But, maybe, that explains all my single friends. Am I any different?

After a few heartbreaks, most people tend to get skeptical. Generally, I think men are the self-preserving sex and women are more open and trusting. But talking to my girlfriend yesterday changed that theory.

Maybe women are the more jaded sex. Maybe there are so many awesome single women in their 30s because they’ve been hurt before and choose to not get hurt again.

My girlfriends and I talk about imaginary Mr. Rights, but more often, we talk all our real-life Mr. Wrongs. We say we want relationships and we’re ready to settle down. We get excited about the “potentials” and wonder if he could be our Prince Charming. But perhaps we’re just sabotaging ourselves – adding that potential Mr. Right onto the list of Mr. Wrongs.

My boyfriend and I got into our first fight the other day. Sunday is our only day together. We both work all week, including Saturdays. Sunday is also my only day to get “things” done: shopping, laundry and errands. I canceled my morning yoga class and changed my plans with my family so “Max” and I could spend the day together.

At 7 a.m., the phone rang. His paddling buddies had lost a guy and needed someone to fill the spot for a race that morning. Did “Max” want to paddle? Like a good boyfriend, he asked me. I said he should go, and I meant it. He loves paddling. He said he’d be back around 1 p.m., gave me a kiss and ran out the door. He returned at 4:30 p.m.

By then, I was upset. I thought of all the things I could have and should have done with my day. I thought of the sacrifices I made to be there – waiting for him so we could spend time together. I thought about how tired I was from my 70-hour workweek.

And mostly, I felt this pit in my stomach. Sick at the thought that I was becoming vulnerable.

Normally, I would’ve walked out and not thought twice about it. “Time to move on,” I would have said to myself as I cheerfully packed up and drove away. I learned from my last heartbreak: It’s not worth hanging on when the ship starts moving and doesn’t want you on it. After that, I worked hard to become detached (although I call it “free-spirited.”)

My girlfriend’s fear made me think of my own. I’ve been “free-spirited” a long time. Maybe it’s time to try the vulnerable route. Any fear can be paralyzing. But once you get over the fight or flight stage—I hear incredible things can happen! I’ll letcha know.

KHNL News 8’s Melisa Uchida is a Boston University graduate. Catch her Monday through Friday on the evening newscasts.