“If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t love,” she tells me. And she sounds so sure of herself as she says it.
But I don’t agree. Instead, I find myself wondering about the veracity of such a thing. It’s true that being vulnerable doesn’t always go well. Even in circumstances when vulnerability leads you somewhere good long term, there are still moments here and there in the short term, where moods clash, wires get crossed — and it’s possible, nigh inevitable, to have a momentary misunderstanding with someone you truly care about. One that guts you.
There are moments when you stop and ask yourself, “Am I making a mistake here? Should I not have been vulnerable with this person? Am I just going to get hurt?”
And sometimes the answer is yeah… it was a mistake. You shouldn’t have opened up to them. They’re not right for you, you’re not right for them, or both.
But other times, the doubt isn’t the whole picture. It’s just a momentary doubt. And if you think through everything, it’s easy to see that this is just an isolated hiccup. That the juice is worth the squeeze (as they say). That the relationship has much more positive in it than negative. And that being vulnerable with this person generally benefits you.
As I talk with my friend, this is how I can see what she’s saying to be true. That if you get close to someone, there will almost certainly be times when that closeness hurts you. In a good connection, it almost never happens — but there’s a world of difference between never and almost never, when it comes down to it.
Still, I’m not eager to agree. To sign off on “if it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t love,” because I think there’s a bigger danger to using pain as a test for love. Because there’s plenty that can hurt you that isn’t anywhere near-approaching love.
And to seek love by seeking out pain seems the surest way to ruin.