That Most Ancient but Popular Concept Called Love

‘It is lonely to be alone, but it is stupid to be with someone you don’t want or who doesn’t meet your ideals, or someone you can’t imagine yourself growing old with.’

Not too long ago, I questioned myself why my relationships failed. Both started out easy– friends at first– but became complicated over time.

I’ve been single for almost nine months now. Actually, if I really think about it and reconsider the last relationship I had, it is fair to say that I have been single for quite a while now. Four years? Yes, four years.

My last relationship was sort of a not-very-long distance relationship because we were not so apart from each other, and yet remained so distant– from 13.1 to 199.6 kms as I switched from one job to another while he remained a bum for four years. For four years, we broke up, got together, seen-zoned each other, ended things only to rekindle the romance again. It was like a big joke, no kidding, and no pun intended. I even stopped bothering to update my friends about our constantly changing status because they got too tired of it, mostly of me juggling between getting messed up and happy and sauced, in-between break-ups. It was stupid, plain stupid of me to let that happen. It was draining. We didn’t even bother explaining ourselves to each other anymore. Most of the time, the break-ups happened while we were talking on the phone. We would start telling each other how we missed each other and tell stories about everything that had happened in-between that and the last phone call, which was sometimes two months of not hearing each others’ voice. It used to tear my heart apart. It’s not like we were a hundred miles apart but neither exerted enough effort to at least narrow down, at most, every fortnight, the distance between our bodies, to an inch or to zero. I was too busy with my job, or at least, pretending to be so busy. We were so busy minding each other’s business. We were so busy thinking that we were ‘together’ when we weren’t, physically and emotionally. What is a relationship without the security, communication, and companionship?

Sometimes, I would pick up my phone and start dialing his number but something always stopped me– a friend inviting me for a singles’ night out (even though I wasn’t technically single), a book I would resume reading (even though I had already read it more than once), a new movie (even if I was not a big fan of the big screen), my roommate (even if we’re not really that close), my job (okay, I didn’t even want to talk about that) and most of the time, my pride (even though it never did me any good). So, when we did talk over the phone, one of us would say, “Can you come over?” Sometimes, we would ask that at the same time. Either way, there was tension thereafter because we were both stubborn. The fights would always start like this: “I have a job, you don’t. By the time I get there I would be so tired and I would just ignore you and you wouldn’t like that.” “I can’t just leave my grandmother alone here with the maid. You are so stuck up just because you are earning. And when did I ask you to spend for us anyway? It was always me or us going Dutch.” “I always offered to pay! But oh yes I forgot, you are so goddamn rich you don’t need a job to pay for everything!” We always fought about his unemployment. I just wanted him to learn a thing or two about the real world. One day, our parents would be gone and unless you learn how to earn for yourself, you’ll never survive, or raise a family of your own. Or sometimes, it would go like this: “I really miss you so much babe.” “Yeah, you have a really ornate way of showing that.” “Just what do you mean by that.” “I am saying that I prefer you doing something about it than merely saying it.” And my voice would start trembling and his irritation would show in his voice so I would raise mine and he would be so calm and would sometimes try to placate me and I would get mad even more and tell him why are you so damn calm, you’re not taking us seriously I don’t want to see you or talk to you again. Ever. Then I would hang up. Give it three days, he would call again. Sometimes I wouldn’t pick up, sometimes I would, after a week, three weeks, a month, or two, but when I did, one or the other would be so eager to bridge the distance between each other and rekindle the fire, if there was any left. Until one day, there was none. We finally ended it (or, at least, I did) when there was no more fodder readily at hand to relive the romance that started simply as a friendship between two friends who started out as strangers, and in the end reverted back to being strangers again.

I am a hopeless romantic. Every single gene I have in me is forever stamped with that label. So I started hiding that fact but I didn’t really quite succeed try as I might. Though there were friends of mine who would look up to me and admire me for being ‘so modern’ just because I wore this hypocritical facade. So hypocritical that my boyfriend-ed friends would tell me, ‘I wish I was like you who can remain single for so long and that you don’t need some lovin’ from a man,’ to which I responded with a non-committal shrug, because it was not true, and all the single ones would complain and ask ‘What is wrong with me? Why am I still single? How are you doing it?’ And I would tell them, ‘Why are you so afraid of falling into that trap of being single forever? Trust me, we can live without men. There are only the assholes and the jerks, or the good ones who are already taken.’ But deep inside, I would be answering their questions as though I was asking them myself. I would tell myself, There are so many things wrong with me I can not even begin telling you what these are because for crying out loud I have no idea where to start. I am still single because I am afraid that the next man will see through me and see all of my flaws and I’ll be dumped and I’ll be single again so what’s the use of even entertaining any guy who shows interest in getting to know me more? Most of them are after the booty anyway. And a few just wanted to get hitched because they feel like time is running out on them and so they have decided to settle for whoever they happen to like at the moment. Like this guy who became my friend and confessed that he liked me from the very start and scared the wits out of me when he started telling me about how he loved his ex-girlfriend and got her pregnant but the girl decided to get rid of their unborn child and left him for a fifty-something year-old Viagra user. I am kidding about the Viagra part. So, anywayss, he scared the wits out of me when he told me that I am the last and only girl he’ll fall in love and have kids with. Oh, gaaahd, we hadn’t even known each other for three months!

And there’s also this guy at work who was, is, such a gentleman and took me to the clinic when I nearly passed out perhaps due to exhaustion. I was so grateful and I felt forever indebted to him. Until he started visiting me on my station and flirting and appearing all of a sudden wherever part of the workplace I was, and just recently, popped the indirect question used by people, in the industry I am working at, to express their interest in girlfriend-ing a person readily available, no matter if the girl already has a boyfriend or husband. He leaned on my desk, and asked, “So, do you already have a boyfriend?” What he meant to say was, “Can I be your boyfriend so we could start hooking up?” Or maybe that was just my overreactive imagination. I quickly evaded him by faking a very unproductive cough and quickly headed to the rest room. That was rude, I know but I just didn’t have the nerve to reject him outright. He was, is, a nice guy. After all, he was, for once in my life, my savior. He was a guy who was once a stranger and held my hand, wrapped his arm around me, reassured me that he knew me– ‘a girl who was always with a large and noisy group of friends’, to which I responded with a series of hampered giggles despite of the body malaise I was feeling– so I trusted him to lead me twelve floors up to the clinic, and stayed with me until I was well enough and ready to leave. He became my friend the moment we stepped out of the clinic. And he is there to stay on that zone. He is not my type.

So going back to the second question, yes, I am still single because I choose to, because I have my standards and because fuckit I don’t care if I stay singlezoned forever if I didn’t meet the man of my dreams. Or something to that effect. I realized something, sometime in July, that has become my mantra for two months now: ‘It is lonely to be alone, but it is stupid to be with someone you don’t want or who doesn’t meet your ideals, or someone you can’t imagine yourself growing old with.’

So, yes, I am single and I am loving it, though nothing still beats being the other-half of someone, nothing beats the feeling of love and being loved. I repeatedly asked myself why my relationships have failed. Yes, they were complicated but edifying at the same time. But mostly I think they failed because I myself didn’t know what I wanted for myself. I have learned. Nine months is more than enough for me to reflect on things. I have been slowly inching towards the answers. One of the most important aspects of a relationship is time. Really, it is time. You make time for the people you love, this doesn’t only apply to couples, but also to family and friends. And acceptance. Right now, I am on the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ part. Yes, it is me. It’s a little too late, yes, but however clichΓ© it may sound, it is better late than never. I had my own share of misgivings. I was at fault one way or another. Another clichΓ©: It takes two to tango. And a pair can’t even tango if neither wants or knows how to. My ex may not have done anything to save the relationship but I didn’t do anything either.

Then there’s patience. I’ve tried and tested that. It certainly pays off, patience does. Nine months? It’s really not that long to some but it felt, feels, like four years to me. I think I have waited enough. I think there’s nothing wrong with getting frustrated and asking yourself, “What is wrong with me? Why am I still single?” as long as you do something about it by knowing what you want, by asking yourself first what you really want, and patiently waiting for yourself to reflect on the questions and slowly coming up with the answers that make sense.

I want to be happy. Be happy to feel alive.. And be proud of myself, be full of hope, and be less insecure.. But most of all, be happy in love– both with myself and, hopefully, with someone.. Be happy and fearless of falling in love, and falling apart– a consequence worthy of its’ price. After all, I am a hopeless romantic. I am finding love yet again and waiting for it to respond.

And once it does, I’ll never look back.😊

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12 thoughts on “That Most Ancient but Popular Concept Called Love

  1. “One of the most important aspects of a relationship is time. Really, it is time.” Love this line. Simple, but it speaks the plain truth.

    So, you know what time it is? πŸ™‚

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