30 July 2007

how do you know when it's right?

Originally uploaded by Krali

do you remember that episode in season 4 of sex and the city, where aidan bought carrie the ugliest engagement ring ever, thank you miranda?

"how can i marry a guy, who doesn't know which ring is me?

is it true what charlotte said? does anybody really know when it's right? and how do you know? are there signs? fireworks? is it right when it feels comfortable? or is comfortable a sign that there aren't any fireworks? is hesitation a sign that it's not right, or is it just a sign that you're not ready?

in matters of love, how do you know when it's right?"

i've been thinking about love, the past few days. weeks, even.

i'm single now, and very happy being single. i love not having to compromise, i love spending time with friends when i want to, with myself when i want to. i love having my "me" time whenever i want it.

many of my friends are happily single... and many of them are unhappily attached.

i look around at all my friends with boyfriends or husbands, and most of them aren't even happy. i just met a friend last week who came to meet me with swollen eyes. another friend of mine argues with her boyfriend all the time because he's in a constant bad mood. i feel like he's making use of her, but she says she feels he has been wronged. then there's another friend who's about to pop with her 2nd baby, even though she felt her marriage was already on the rocks before she gave birth to her first... but she's hanging on, holding the tears back, and hoping that one day everything's gonna turn out right.

why do we do this to ourselves? are we all closet masochists? why do we hang on, tell our friends "he's really not like that. he really loves me. you just don't know him."; why do we cry in the dark, when all we really want is just to be loved?

i'm not a relationship guru, and i haven't been enough relationships to be able to give any good suggestions... i've had 4 boyfriends, although i wouldn't even count the 1st, because we were only together for a while before he had to move back home to england; and heck i was only 14. my 2nd boyfriend was 3 years older, and we were just having fun, but turns out, he was the hugest immature baby i'd ever met and i actually grew sick of the mere sight of him, and he became one of the rare memories that i shudder at.

my 3rd boyfriend was a friend, and we got together after knowing each other and being good friends for 3 years. he was a dear dear friend and i had so many laughs with him, and i did like him a lot. but months after we started "serious" dating, he started getting jealous of all my friends. he didn't want me to go out with my pals, he wouldn't even say hi to them when they waved at him, so because of that, i couldn't bring him along when i wanted to meet them. and worst, he hated my best friend alex, whom i've known and grown up with since i was 8, because he hates the fact that alex is a guy. i treasure my friendships more than anything. and him hating all my friends made me so angry, because no one talks shit about my friends like that. he hated seeing me even talking to my guy friends, and i was like, "what's your problem? we started out with you being my guy friend as well so you know i have many male friends! that doesn't mean i'm gonna start dating all of them! i can't stop going out with them just because of you!"

i hung in there as long as i could, but he was so possessive and unreasonable. i decided that i couldn't love a guy who didn't love my friends. we were together for about a year and a half, before i drew the line and told myself i had to stop. in the end i chose my friends over him and i don't regret a thing.

after all, boyfriends come and go, but your friends are gonna be the ones who are there to hold your hand and give you a hug when you want one.

i dated several guys while i was in japan. hell, how could i not? do you know how many cute guys there are in japan? there's too much eye-candy!

then i became infatuated with this one particular guy. we dated for 4 to 5 months, before i started finding out all this shit about him, and it was bad. he had so many problems. money problems, gambling, debts, people knocking on his door and asking for money... i had never faced problems like that before. i couldn't believe i had fallen in love with a gambler, and i couldn't believe he had lied to me. he also had a lot of psychological problems, and he was depressed. he was working 2 jobs to pay off his debts, but it just wasn't enough. there were days when he'd go without food, and days when he'd walk 2 hours back home from work because he couldn't afford the train fare. the situation got so bad one time, he slept in the park near work, so that he wouldn't have to walk to work, and back home again. at that time, i was slowly pulling myself away from him, because i knew that he didn't love me the way i felt for him, and that his money problems were just too much for me to handle. but when i found out that he started spending a few nights here and there in the park, i was so sad and this shadow of guilt just came over me. guilt that i have had opportunities that he has never had. and just guilt, because even though it wasn't my fault, i felt bad and i didn't know why.

the worst thing was when he found out that he had gotten his ex-girlfriend pregnant. it happened just before we got together, so it wasn't like he had cheated on me. but she was already very pregnant when she called him up one day to tell him. he became suicidal and one day came to tell me goodbye.

i had never been in a situation like that before. what do you do when someone you love comes up to you and tells you that he or she wants to die? that was the one time in my life that i had a panic attack. i was crying and i couldn't breathe, and i didn't know what to do, but i had to stop him. i called home because i had to talk to someone, and my dad picked up the phone and i went crazy. he told me that it would be dangerous for me. but i couldn't just stand there and do nothing and let him die like that. i wouldn't have been able to live with it.

it was a long, cold winter night, so long i thought it would never end, but it did.

when he told me he decided to be responsible for the baby and marry the girl, i was devastated, but not as devastated as i was when i knew he had to go back to his hometown, far, far away from tokyo. we had already broken up, and i knew i had to get away from him, but the thought that i would never see him again killed me.

i had never, ever cried over a guy before, not even when i broke up with my ex boyfriends. but i cried over him for weeks. i knew that soon i'll be smiling and i'd forget about him, and i knew it was actually a good thing that his ex had gotten pregnant and that he had to leave, because i knew that he was bad news and that it wasn't meant to be, and i knew he was no good for me and could never make me happy. but because i loved him, i had to cry.

i was all over him after a few weeks. in fact, after shedding all those tears, i felt a sense of freedom that i hadn't had in over a year since i'd known him. i was finally released. i was free. my friend told me, and i quote, "good riddance to rotten rubbish. that boy was poison."

and he was.

(and what's up with my rotten luck? why is it that i seem to like the perfect guy, only to find out months later that he wasn't what he seemed, what i thought he was? am i that bad a judge of character?)

anyway, since i've been back to singapore, i've been meeting up with old friends, and one of them, keeps bugging me and asking me the same question. "hey! why don't you give (let's call him) ben a chance?"

ben is a friend from junior college (high school). we were in the same class, and we each had our own groups of friends, but our 2 groups were pretty close and we used to hang out together all the time and had great fun. ben and i used to talk on the phone quite often. he was a really sweet guy and i did like him a lot, but in a "i love my friends" way.

5 years after graduating from j.c., i came back from tokyo for my summer holidays in august 2006. i'd met up with ben a couple of times, but the day before i was due to fly off, he drops off a letter at my house. i was running around like a headless chicken and was super busy trying to buy all sorts of things to bring back to tokyo with me, so i didn't read his letter until i'd gotten on the plane. it made me cry. he said he loved me, and has been loving me for the past 5 years. it wasn't until he had gotten into an accident and nearly died, that he realised that he had to tell me, or he would live to regret it, and die one day without having ever told me.

i cried like fuck on the plane reading that letter, the stewardess asked me if i was ok.

i wrote him a letter in reply, i think like 8 pages long. i told him that i was very touched and that although a part of me told me that i should give it a shot, i knew that i didn't like him the way he liked me. i thought that it wouldn't be fair for me to go into a relationship with him, because he'd liked me for so long, while i wasn't sure if it'll work out. i felt horrible and i hated myself for saying that to him, but i thought i had to, even though it killed me.

my sister once asked me, many years ago, after i dumped one of my exes, how i could be so... almost ruthless. it was like i had no feeling. i felt no guilt for dumping him. i'd dumped the guy and asked her if she wanted to go out. i told her that i'm not like one of those whiny girls out there, nah-ah. sometimes i think i'm a boy in a girl's outfit, and maybe i am. i'm a tomboy and i'll never grow out of being one.

i told her it wasn't that i had no heart. i do. and i can love. i had all the love in the world to give, and i have a lot of need to be loved. but i believe that when you're in love, you're supposed to be happy. life should be filled with love, and also with happiness. while we were together, we could talk things through and even out our differences and whatever problems we might have had. but when you've tried all ways and means, when you've exhausted all options, what do you have left to hold on to, when you can't even manage a smile on your face?

after all, if you aren't happy, then what's the point?

maybe i'm naive. maybe i'm still a kid.

but if growing up means that i have to cry all day and "keep trying", and lie to everyone and especially to myself that i am in love and that he does love me, then i don't want to ever grow up.

"maybe there are no right moments, right guys, right answers. maybe you just have to say what's in your heart."

well, maybe i'm a pathetic romantic at heart. but i believe that one day, that someone will come along, and he might not be mr. perfect, but he'll be just right for me. i believe in laughing together, and at one another. and in playing pranks, in holding hands, in walking in the rain. i believe that one day i will find someone whom i love, and that someone will love me back. i believe in hoping, and i believe in believing. i believe in fairy tales, because if you can't dream and hope that things will end "happily ever after", then what have you got to look forward to in life?