Are You a Fool for Love? Exploring the Art of Creating Intimacy

Woman wearing bike helmet and sunglasses blows a kissNo one wants to be a fool, least of all a fool in love. But what of being a Fool for Love? Is there any difference? Foolishness, folly, fool-hardy. We know it all too well. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. This is true of gambling with our hard-earned dollars. Might it also be true of gambling with our hard-won hearts? Shouldn’t we be just as careful and cautious about how, when, where, and why we choose to invest our love? And yet, we can be smart, brainy, canny, and wise in the ways of the world. Too smart to be taken in, too smart to be trusting. Smart enough to value safety and avoidance of pain and a broken heart above everything else, even with the one we love. Too smart to allow the vulnerability that openhearted love demands.

Every day I work with couples who are just “too smart.” Too smart for their own good, to love, to risk opening their heart one more time. All of our investment in self-protection backfires and leaves us smart, brilliant even. But alone, even with our partner. Even with the one we long to connect with most. There are few things as isolating as not being able to reach out to a person you love. Few things are more painful than using all our energy to keep our heart safe, only to find it  shattered as a result of our efforts.

The wisdom of The Fool. Let’s be clear here. I’m not talking about driving the wrong way down a one way street. This isn’t about picking a mate with “great potential” and dreaming of loving them into a different person, or saving them with our love. That is self-delusion and denial, really foolish, and all too common.

This is about the openhearted wisdom of allowing love to be received and given. This is about the conscious, risky, perilous journey of allowing our hearts to open to each other. Allowing the possibility of hurt and vulnerability. Allowing for the imperfection of our lover and for our own faltering self. This is about overcoming the habit of being shut down to ourselves and to each other. This is about moving from a state of distance and silence toward a new way of falling into loving and loving behaviors. It is a raw, undeniable fact that love cannot be exchanged without an openhearted willingness to take a fall every now again. In fact, breaking hearts wide open is what love is all about. It isn’t until we are willing to lay our hearts open that we are able to give and receive the lushness and depth of love. Anything else is merely a pale shadow.

The posture of Love. So, suppose you decide that you are willing to love again, willing to risk being loved, willing to bridge the gap of resentment and disappointment that seems to well up in so many long term relationships. Or, perhaps you have sought deep cover and safety and you aren’t even in a relationship now, but you figure, “What the Hell! Bring it on! I’m ready to take a chance on love again. Ready to be a Fool for Love.” Then what? What does the posture of Love look like? What are we really talking about here?

Take the risk of loving first. Take the risk of being unseen, unheard, unreceived. Misunderstood. Take the risk of being rejected, and then take it again without keeping score. Without telling yourself a story about what it means to be unmet by your partner in any one particular moment. Without investing in creating a litany of proof about the way in which your mate is not loving you “enough.” Or the ways in which it all means you are simply unlovable. Take the risk to open into each new moment fresh, a fool, with your knapsack ready for the next new journey into the new day because of openhearted love. The joy of what open hearts can feel and radiate is far brighter and more lovely than the cloudy, stale illusion of closed-in safety we so often create around us in our hearts and in our homes.

The heavy armor of our cautious hearts creates a foolproof barrier to love. In seeking absolute safety, there is no way for love to find us; no room for love to expand within us, yet we yearn to expand fully and deeply into love. It is simply impossible for us to love each other without taking the risk of loving first. Despite our wish to be loved without having anything to lose. It is our vulnerability, in fact, which allows us to receive and give love at all. We cannot really love anyone, even ourselves, when we are trapped in our “safety first” lifestyle.

Find The Fool in yourself and champion The Fool in your partner. Take the road only a fool would take. Take the road of Love directly into your heart and the heart of your Beloved. Take a chance on believing love and trust are possible. No, it isn’t smart, but it is wise. Wise in the ways only a Fool for Love can be wise. Wise in the only ways that count.

© Copyright 2008 by Victoria Wallace Schlicht, LMFT, SEP, therapist in Santa Ana, California. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • amyhop


    May 23rd, 2008 at 6:44 PM

    I have had to learn the hard way that you have to be receptive and have an open heart for love otherwise it is sure to pass you by. You have to be receptive to it and allow it to be a prt of your life. That means you have to be in a good place both spiritually and emotionally so that you know you are good enough to receive that love.

  • Jeanette


    May 24th, 2008 at 3:32 AM

    How do you ever return to that place of being unafraid to open your heart and love someone else again? Maybe I have just been burned too much in the past but i have to say that I am really scared just to put it all out there again.

  • ashley


    May 25th, 2008 at 9:15 AM

    It is hard when all you have experienced is pain but it can be so perfect when you find the right mate.

  • Donna


    May 26th, 2008 at 7:33 AM

    Falling in love does not have to be clasisfied as being a fool for love. It should be aout mutual respect, honesty, and trust- believeing in someone else and the knowledge that he or she will be there to catch you when you fall. It does not all have to be so premeditated.

  • Steve H

    Steve H

    May 27th, 2008 at 2:37 AM

    Are we all so disenfranchised with love that we carry this armor around our heart so that it will not get broken? Is that what it has all boiled down to? We need people to tell us how to fall in love?

  • Victoria Schlicht, LMFT

    Victoria Schlicht, LMFT

    May 28th, 2008 at 11:13 AM

    Jeannette, I hear you. It can be scary to take risks with our hearts. Opening our hearts to love, either in the context of our committed relationship or in opening our lives to new relationships, is an act of courage we can choose to engage in despite our painful experiences in the past. I think it is often true that we will avoid that vulnerable heart-open stance until our pain of being heart-closed becomes so intense it moves us forward, almost in spite of ourselves. Courage is not about being unafraid, it is about acting despite our fear. In my experience, my fear and moving through it (not necessarily discarding it or rising above it) is what allows me to experience myself as courageous in life. Cultivating a vulnerable heart has a lot of potential to allow us to receive more love in our lives and in all our relationships.

  • Sodabeh Miller, LMFT

    Sodabeh Miller, LMFT

    May 28th, 2008 at 7:34 PM

    what if we just love to love others and not so much worry about receiving love in return? Because if we love freely and don’t expect anything in return and we receive love in return it is like a bonus that cheer the heart even more.

  • Jeni


    May 31st, 2008 at 3:01 AM

    That is a great thought but it is hard for many of us to do that. We always expect something in retunr, even if that is subconciously and end up getting hurt when we do not get the return we had anticipated.

  • Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

    Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

    June 9th, 2008 at 8:07 AM

    Being open to be vulnerable again is a daunting task for many – but well worth it if you find a partner who’s willing to take the journey with you. As difficult as this can be for any of us, it’s even more challenging for those who have old attachment wounds and unhelpful core beliefs such as, “I’m not good enough.” How does one open up if they don’t believe they deserve to receive love in the first place? A quandry indeed.

  • Cindy


    June 11th, 2008 at 6:52 AM

    That’s how I see it. We are all ready to open up our heart for sincere relations when we are young maximalists but then we burn ourselves and experience several heart brakes we become stiff and defensive.

  • Nikki


    June 29th, 2008 at 11:09 AM

    And that is such a hard place to penetrate isn’t it? But I think we just have to be willing to learn from the mistakes of the past and hopefully get to a better place where we can find love again. What is life without having love in it?

  • Lisa Kift

    Lisa Kift

    July 2nd, 2008 at 4:54 AM

    Absolutely – it’s clearly not helpful to stay “stuck” in the past. Those who are – and then have created defense mechanisms to protect themselves from being vulnerable again – risk lacking intimacy in their lives which can leave them unfulfilled and very lonely.

  • Victoria Schlicht, LMFT

    Victoria Schlicht, LMFT

    July 2nd, 2008 at 7:34 AM

    As I experience it, the human heart is constantly in a process of either contracting into closure, pain, defense, or expanding into openness, warmth, receptivity. And while it is true that some arrive in the moment more defended and fearful than others, it is a hopeful stance to intend to tease your heart open a bit more each day. No one needs to be perfectly heart-open in order to start benefiting from and enjoying small incremental changes in their willingness to engage in life. I find “opening” to be an experimental and often tentative process that can be part of a daily habit or practice and yields rich results. Experiencing “stuck” can be such a great contrast and teacher about experiencing “open,” just as experiencing a tightly held muscle (such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercises) has much to teach us about the unexpected pleasures of a completely relaxed muscle or body.

  • reza


    October 25th, 2008 at 1:07 AM

    i dont know why you came in my thought ,when i was watching ayla,s pictures .then i find ur writer about love,i read it twice and feel pain,i cried and it this true ,it is the life and we cant change it ,in the old time didnt knew that and the life for them was more sweet but there is other sulotion that make the human more happy in life,can you see what is happaning ,there is a huge god energy will appear and our life will get a new path of happiness,dont forget the real god,take care..

  • Victoria Wallace Schlicht, LMFT, SEP

    Victoria Wallace Schlicht, LMFT, SEP

    August 20th, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    I’m continuing to write about relationships, healing, and anxiety. Check out my latest blog, Top 10 Tips For Happy Couples.

  • Danny B.

    Danny B.

    February 9th, 2015 at 7:16 PM

    I spent several years afraid to take a chance on love after my divorce of 17 years. I finally decided it was worth the risk and just became open to the idea of finding that special someone. After some months of being available I met the most promising woman. We began dating and very quickly became very close. I was a fool in love and by all appearances she was as well. Everything was wonderful, she was educated, intellectual, a great conversationalist, beautiful and more. Time passed and things were only getting better. No fighting or disagreements only love and good times. Then I went to pick her up one night and when SHE answered the door I did not know who she was and three hours later I was discarded like a piece of trash. After months of research,study and self reflection along with lots and lots of pain, disbelief and bewilderment I realized I had been a fool indeed. That’s why I’m leaving this comment to this article… Go ahead and be a fool for love, but first make Damn sure you’re not falling for a hard to spot charming psychopath. Please educate yourself on the traits and red flags because regardless of your healthy boundaries self esteem and self love and intelligence some of these predators are very very talented and being a fool for love is not worth the pain. Good luck and lots of love!!!!

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