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Winston Churchill is known for his witty and pithy comments. One that recently struck me is the following: “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”

In the past year, we have all had to deal with a certain amount of fear, fear that we may get infected, or someone we care about may, and illness and death have been all around us. Some of us lost loved ones, friends, or neighbors, and dealt with all the grief those bring.

With the pandemic, a separate layer of issues has permeated the dating scene. How do you meet people? Online? Then what? Keep your distance?

We are now a year into this challenging period in our lives. With vaccination becoming more available, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but even then, we are advised to be careful, to be on the alert. This certainly brings to mind another period, especially in the LGBTQ+ community, where fear was rampant in relationships and forming new connections. Many did not survive that pandemic, and others dealt with (and still have) a chronic condition. Today, we read about the nightmare of “long-haulers” who suffer from debilitating conditions after surviving the coronavirus.

So how do you assess the risk in meeting new people? Then too, there is the risk in your partner being exposed to others who can then bring it to you. Where does the decision to be courageous appear? Is it in those who defy the protective measures and possibly expose others? Or in those who care about themselves as well as others and can reconcile that protectiveness with the need to connect?

It seems to me that any time and every time we act to seek a partner, to respond to someone who expresses an interest, to go on a date, and eventually, to make ourselves vulnerable by loving, we are acting with courage. Why? Because that old spot, that r-word, REJECTION, and the fear of that hurt, lurks in the shadows. So know that it is brave to seek connections as when it does happen, the reward is fun, joy, and good times. Human hearts thrive on emotion, even when negative. In nature, as in our lives, we can find balance between the good and the bad if we put that mind to work.

Here is to better times…

Author Profile

Janan Broadbent, PhD
Janan Broadbent, PhD
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577