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Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani's duet forced me to relive past heartbreak

Lorraine Duffy Merkl is a published author, as well as award-winning freelance journalist and advertising creative director/copywriter in New York City. Her debut novel, Fat Chick, was published by The Vineyard Press in 2009. They publi...

Starting a new relationship after being burned? Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton's duet will speak to you

They fooled around and fell in love.

"I never meant to get so into you/Thought I was using you just to get me through,” sings Stefani, sounding like a natural country songstress.

Shelton croons back: "Maybe we could just hang a while/Maybe we can make each other smile."

The Voice’s power couple and poster children for rebound romance hit the web with their highly anticipated, up-tempo track titled “Go Ahead and Break My Heart,” which will appear on Shelton’s 10th LP, I’m Honest, dropping May 20.

More: Gwen Stefani's 12 greatest accomplishments over the years

The country star’s new record arrives two months after Stefani’s solo comeback, This Is What the Truth Feels Like.

The four-and-a-half minute song clearly draws inspiration from their tabloid-headline, real-life relationship, with lyrics that reveal feeling skittish about leaping into new love after still-fresh heartache.

Stefani announced her plans to divorce Gavin Rossdale back in August 2015, when it was discovered that for the last three years of their 13-year marriage he was allegedly cheating on her with the family's nanny.

Shelton and Miranda Lambert called it quits because reports claim she was not interested in starting a family.

During “Go Ahead and Break My Heart,” Shelton and Stefani are equally hesitant. Neither wants to risk falling so deeply in love again only to end up in pain again. They’re thinking he/she will only leave me like the previous one did. They dare each other: If you’re going to go, go sooner rather than later, before I’m in too deep. But it’s a passive-aggressive dare; each hoping the other will say, “I’m not like him/her. I won’t hurt you.”

Oh, I know this all too well. A boy I knew in grammar school eventually became my high school boyfriend junior year. We stayed together all through college — seven years in total. By the time first semester of senior year was over, so was my interest in staying in the relationship. All couples have ups and downs, but over the years we had started having fewer up times and our downs should have been accompanied by the chant, “How low can you go?” We ended things and I went on a man diet, forgoing dating to focus on getting my career as a writer on track. (A Herculean effort, I assure you.)

After a year, I decided — thanks to an intervention from my friends who referred to me as a workaholic — that it was time to dip my toe back in the man pool. And so I went to a party I didn’t want to go to because it was in Brooklyn. I lived in the Bronx, which meant I had to drive through three boroughs and over two bridges to get there. But since everyone I hung out with was going, the alternative was to spend Saturday night at home with my mother. I got in my car.

More: 10 Blake Shelton quotes about love

I saw this guy across the room. Everything went blurry, except he was totally in focus. (I know this is a real thing because years later I heard Cher describe the same sensation happening to her when she first saw Sonny.) Next thing I knew, he was standing right in front of me, introducing himself. My only thought: I’ve just met the man I’m going to marry. Then I panicked and ran away.

Later that night, we were reintroduced by a mutual friend and talked a bit. Unbeknownst to me, he too had recently released himself from a long-term relationship. After that night, we saw each other in a group for about three months, stealing time to ourselves to get to know each other but with the safety net of being surrounded by others.

Our fear of avoiding coupledom turned embarrassing and we decided to make a date. Others followed, and one night over dinner, like Stefani and Shelton, I declared my nervousness about where this was going and if he wasn’t interested in getting serious we should end it now.

He put his hand over mine and said, “Let’s just take it slow and it will all be fine.”

We now have two children and in June we’ll celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary.

More: 9 ways Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton are totally different people

I think it’s wise that Stefani and Shelton express their fears to each other about getting hurt, but I think they really care for one another and want a future. I hope they, too, take it slow until they regain their trust in love, then make their “duet” permanent.

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani will perform their duet tonight on The Voice.

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