No, I’m not a huge Poison fan, never was, but I do remember when the song “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” came out, and that line has always stuck with me because it is just so true.

Everyone to me is like a rose in the beginning– especially on a first date, when we are all on our best behavior.  But here is what I always know– sooner or later, no matter how beautiful that rose may be, you will hit a thorn.  The key to understanding why this happens is that we all have a vulnerable side, and usually it’s when you hit that spot that you see someone become like a porcupine– that prickliness is his/her protective mechanism.

Now, I’m not suggesting you jump in the sack with every porcupine you encounter, but what I am proposing is cutting each other a little slack in the beginning.  If someone says or does something that makes you pause, try to either ask what that is about or file the incident away for review at a later date.  When you are dating, your mission is to gather information, and it’s critical not to pass judgment too quickly until you have enough data.  Of course, this assumes you’ve found an intellectual connection and some chemistry, because if you don’t have that it is just game over, no need to waste anyone’s time (or money.)

Visuals often help, so in dating here is an easy one to remember: picture a child plucking at the petals of a rose, except rather than asking yourself whether that person loves you or loves you not, what you need to ask is whether you love them as you learn more about their inner being.  The fact is the real thorns are never easily visible, they are hidden deep inside and surface slowly.

The final point I want to make is that we all have past wounds, and some people will remain scarred by these injuries for life, while others will use the experiences to just grow stronger and take no prisoners going forward. With those that have been deeply wounded, they may simply no longer have the capacity to let anyone in.  This is not about you, it is about their own issues.

Life is all about choices, and we each get free will to define our own existence.  So, if someone has made the choice to allow their own spirit to break, it is NOT your job or duty to try and fix that.  If you keep running into thorns, and you feel like the person you once melted over has now become a thorn on your side, just remember that line– every rose has its thorn.

If I had a thorn stuck to my side, there would be no hesitation in pulling it out.  The real question is what to do with the rose?  Only you can decide if that rose is worth keeping.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.