How Long Can I Stand Outside The Fire?

When the foundation of my world suddenly crumbled beneath me, I stuffed my heart into a protective bubble, vowing to never again let it feel.  It felt like it had been fed through a meat grinder, and I’m fairly certain major pieces were lost or beyond repair.  It sat in ICU on life support a long time.  While my kitten helped me to heal and love again when it came to HER, men were another story.  I just don’t trust them, most all seem to be complete pigs (MOST not all).  Friends with benefits became the name of  the game for me, sex with no emotions.  I stayed in the swinger lifestyle a bit, thinking perhaps as a single I’d feel differently about it.  But I found out quickly how empty that still was, how much I felt like a blow up doll to be used then passed on.  Swinging wasn’t any different single than married, except now I didn’t have someone who at least CLAIMED to love and adore me when I got home.  Empty sex wasn’t cutting it, they make ‘toys’ for that sort of thing with less  hassle involved.

Friends with benefits works in theory, but “friends” without the emotion reminds me of visitors in prison.  They sit on either side of a window, they can talk,  laugh, etc, but  when it comes to touching there is a clear barrier between them.  Everything special is beyond reach.   Hand to hand coldness with glass in between.  In this case it is the hearts that sit across from each other, but cannot reach out and touch, they are blocked by a clear fortress wall meant to shield and protect.  This was what I thought I wanted, but instead my heart wants to feel after all.  However, I am terribly afraid of my emotions, and afraid to trust another with my heart or trust myself with someone else’s,  the pain of the marriage ending still very fresh in my mind.  But my heart rebels against the restraints, is pushing against the protective bubble despite me.

I’ve talked about my great aunt Ruth before, how she divorced and raised her kids alone at a time when divorce was NOT acceptable.  She did find love again but for whatever reason never remarried.  She was engaged, yet did not live with him.  She kept her own place, he kept his.  They stayed nights with each other but each had their own sanctuary to go too, their own ‘place’ and independence.  I have not yet found out why this was but I plan too, I want to know how that worked and why they did it that way.

I  don’t know if that is the sort of relationship I want or not.  A long term, deep friendship/companionship type of relationship seems appealing.  Exclusive but not bound by anything but trust that there is  no sharing of oneself with others.  Trust without a commitment.   Trust is a tough thing for me right  now, but I’m working on it.  Just one day at a time.

I  don’t believe any longer that you can have a friendship that includes intimacy on a sexual level and have it be void of emotions.  There is going to be a bond that forms, there is just no way to look another person in the eyes during those moments, to hold and kiss them, to share something so personal and not have some sort of feeling developing, not be touching each others hearts even if ever so lightly.  Even on just the friendship side, without the sex, there will be feelings that develop and grow.  Not necessarily love in the sense of being romantically in love, but you cannot have a friendship without caring.  The foundation of any friendship is built on caring.  Not the intense, burning love that takes a while to grow, but there is feeling there, and emotions do come from our hearts.  Add sex to that friendship and fragile hearts will be risking hurt all over again.  Love can and will grow when least expected.  Time + friendship + sharing + companionship + sex has a really good shot at equaling love.  That is evident in arranged marriages that over the years of being together, working together, being physically intimate together grows a love like no other.  One of my favorite places to eat is owned by a couple a number of years older than myself, that were married by arrangement in Greece when they were very young.  They came here and established themselves and are still married.  No it wasn’t a match made in heaven but even when grumbling at each other it is SO evident that they very much love each other.

How long can two people  share pieces of themselves, share intimacy, standing outside of the fire, before they are drawn in without even realizing it?

One  of my favorite movies is ‘Fiddler On The Roof‘ (I’m a sucker for musicals).  There is a song in there,  when Tevye asks his wife, Golde, if she loves him.  Here is the song:

“Golde, I have decided to give Perchik permission to become engaged to our daughter, Hodel.”

“What??? He’s poor! He has nothing, absolutely nothing!”

“He’s a good man, Golde.
I like him. And what’s more important, Hodel likes him. Hodel loves him.
So what can we do?
It’s a new world… A new world. Love. Golde…”

Do you love me?

Do I what?

Do you love me?

Do I love you?
With our daughters getting married
And this trouble in the town
You’re upset, you’re worn out
Go inside, go lie down!
Maybe it’s indigestion

“Golde I’m asking you a question…”

Do you love me?

You’re a fool

“I know…”

But do you love me?

Do I love you?
For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes
Cooked your meals, cleaned your house
Given you children, milked the cow
After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?

Golde, The first time I met you
Was on our wedding day
I was scared

I was shy

I was nervous

So was I

But my father and my mother
Said we’d learn to love each other
And now I’m asking, Golde
Do you love me?

I’m your wife

“I know…”
But do you love me?

Do I love him?
For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him
Fought him, starved with him
Twenty-five years my bed is his
If that’s not love, what is?

Then you love me?

I suppose I do

And I suppose I love you too

It doesn’t  change a thing
But even so
After twenty-five years
It’s nice to know

I  have always loved that song and thought of the couple I spoke of above when I heard it.  Love WILL grow over time, when life and times are shared, good and bad, and intimacy.  It cannot be avoided.  It makes the entering into a long term friendship something not to be taken lightly, as the longer the friendship lasts, the more the bond will form,  and fondness will grow deeper and become love.  The only way to avoid this is to run away when the heart starts to feel something, or be a hermit, become an island and simply exist.  But that isn’t living.  I don’t want to  just exist in this world, especially when I feel God gave us a heart so that we would love and care about others.  Him first of course, but then others.  He even said it is not good for man to be alone.  Perhaps that is why when we are alone it doesn’t feel right?  We’re made for mating, two people becoming one together.  But in the imperfection of this world, many don’t last forever as intended.

I just feel that I cannot give up on love, it can and does work the way it is supposed too.  Forever does mean something to some, it meant something to me before.  I didn’t chose to bail, I meant every word I said when I got married.  While I don’t know that I would ever marry again,  I won’t say ‘never’.  But I will love again, and relish it while it lasts knowing full well I will hurt again.  Love will either end by man’s doing or death, but sooner or later there WILL be pain again.  It is part of life. And I want to LIVE life again, be it with a long term companion/friend or more….I will one day let someone hold my heart, and I will hold theirs as well,  and guard it with all that is in me.


We call them cool
Those hearts that have no scars to show
The ones that never do let go
And risk it the tables being turned

We call them fools
Who have to dance within the flame
Who chance the sorrow and the shame
That always come with getting burned

But you got to be tough when consumed by desire
‘Cause it’s not enough just to stand outside the fire
We call them strong
Those who can face this world alone
Who seem to get by on their own
Those who will never take the fall

We call them weak
Who are unable to resist
The slightest chance love might exist
And for that forsake it all

They’re so hell bent on giving, walking a wire
Convinced it’s not living if you stand outside the fire

Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried it is merely survived
If you’re standing outside the fire

There’s this love that is burning
Deep in my soul
Constantly yearning to get out of control
Wanting to fly higher and higher
I can’t abide standing outside the fire

Repeat Chorus(twice)

~ Garth Brooks ~


  1. another hit…great perspective…as always … and it’s not time that heals will heal in its own time. …and so will you Marvi (aka ) best of the holidays wishs your way ..

  2. Beautiful post! I’m 28 years old and have been with my husband since I was 15. There have been times where I have wondered what my life would be like without him but I can’t imagine it. My life, my world, my heart revolves around him. I image that if anything were to happen than I would be in ICU as well.

    Your post is a testament that there is ‘life’ after ‘death’, you just have to be strong enough to pick up the pieces. And you my dear seem very strong to me. Love WILL find its way back to you. 🙂

    I really want to watch Fiddled On The Roof now. I’ve never seen it.

    • OH you have to see it, very good movie full of great music/songs! 🙂
      Thanks…I’m inching closer and closer to the fire..

  3. I thank you once again Marti:) This time for the Fiddler on the Roof reference. (My all time favorite musical, btw) Far too many forget that it is absolutely the little things that add up to true love. Some don’t bother w/ them at all and expect the world (us) at their feet (in their bed or wherever). Forgetting that it’s a two way street. I, personally wouldn’t do the day to day bull-shit for someone I didn’t love with “all my heart and part of my gizzard” and know you wouldn’t either! So yes, I suppose I do.

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