My fear of being jaded and hurt when it comes to love and relationships is that I will lose that vulnerability, openness and trust that's required to really love someone else.
We were raised to believe in falsehoods. Movies with Doris Day & Rock Hudson are all lies. He is not out there. The fantasy is just that. There are no happy endings. There are exceptions but few. Stop deluding yourself. Enter into relationships because they contribute in a positive manner. Not with false expectations.
I've always had difficulty deciding who it's safe to be vulnerable with. Since we can't know the future it's impossible to be completely safe while functioning in the real world. I guess it's another high risk/high value balancing act with lots of variables and unknowables.
That makes total sense to me. I think of it sort like an inflammation: if we get hurt over and over our ability to open up gets raw and sore and we want to be self protective, just like with a physical injury. It takes time to heal and feel safe again before we're willing to risk after being hurt. At the same time we crave the connection and comfort that being with someone provides so sometimes we go back in too soon or not wisely. I try to give myself time and respect my body's signals. But it's not a perfect system.
It takes courage and strength but you can do it. I do it every day. I've been hurt and unfortunately I've also hurt people by ending relationships that weren't working for me. Some of those endings we very painful and it took Herculean effort of discipline to stand myself back up and make myself vulnerable all over again but I did it and it paid off. It always pays off in the end.
I am here cheering you on. I know you've got this. If you every start to doubt, pm me. I'll regale you with stories of how wonderfully it can and will work for you if only you hold tightly to hope.