Here I am again exhibiting the quintessential trait of being an introvert: overthinking. If there were a contest for this kind of behavior, I’d certainly be in the running by now—if not outright winning the first place by a landslide.
This piece is actually quite overdue and may be three something years in the making. I could have written all this down maybe a few months ago but then it wouldn’t be the same words or the same feeling or there would be a different glass of scotch behind these thoughts. In any case, it’s come to the point where I can’t do anything but put this down into tangible words and be done with it. Not, of course, just for the heck of it, but rather to hopefully free myself from the heaviness of it all. The years and years of keeping it all in do they take their toll and at least for this one thing, I’d like to just leave it behind once and for all. I do hope you’ll indulge me this one rare time.
To be honest, I did love her. Truly. As deeply as I have ever loved anyone thus far. I can look back on the whole of my life and nothing else compares to what we had. I even entertained the thought of getting married someday. She was that special.
There’s a sense of validation there, you know. That my own thoughts and musings on how attraction, chemistry, love, commitment, and having a relationship all came together were realized in what we used to have still amazes me to this day.
The whole thing was great, you know. I loved her to pieces. My heart would skip a beat whenever she’d text or call me. My insides would do cartwheels whenever I’d see her. She was so easy to talk to, to relate with, reason with, and fall for. It was just so easy to get along with her, you know? She was patient, and loving, and sweet, and funny, and sometimes sarcastic—but in the cute way that only girls can achieve.
We hardly ever fought—maybe once a year in the five years that we were together. I can’t even remember the reasons behind them all; in the whole scheme of things they just didn’t seem that important anymore and were thus relegated to that void where things are forgotten.
It wasn’t always romance and passion all the way. Most of our days went by a routine of waking up, texting/calling, and going about our own lives with meal reminders and assurances that we got home fine by the end of the day. In those moments, these were actually quite comforting. Like a security blanket, the routine was what held things in check because that was the status quo, the new normal by which all other days together were measured by.
Some days were particularly bad by comparison and some were extraordinarily blissful but I’d always measure everything by the norm. Overall, my personal test was if the good moments—no matter how few or far between—outweighed the bad ones, then it was worth it to stay. However, life is way too complex to be shoe-horned into my half-assed test and blindsided me in a way I could never have expected.
Rather than provide a post-mortem I’ll probably leave things at that. I’d rather not provide any more details since this post may become public someday.
In the first place we had promised that we would always be honest with each other especially about relationship issues. If I couldn’t be honest with my feelings, everything that succeeded would be tainted with the same lie and I cared about her too much to live like that. I did have to be honest that at some uncertain, nebulous point, my love for her had waned and was about to go off like a flame on a spent matchstick.
At first, I really thought it was just a rut. Or maybe that we had plateaued and that all this was how things were supposed to normally progress: the needy passion transitions to a monotonous every day. After all, this isn’t the first time this had happened to me, it just took longer than the last instance. In hindsight, I still don’t know why it happened. It’s probably a confluence of reasons but now I like to think that it was being too relaxed with the norm and failing to preserve my initial enthusiasm.
So it had to be done. While I was at the point that I was honest to myself, I realized that I had to be honest to her as well. By breaking up, I’d cause her a world of heartache in the short run but at least I could guarantee her a future chance of happiness and in so doing, possibly give myself that same chance.
So I went out with friends. Some would advise me to try again. Some would tell me to keep away. And a wonderful, patient few, would just listen, give words of consolation, and keep on listening to my pitiful monologues and tearful sobs.
I don’t think any one person really knew how much it broke my heart to finally tell her I wanted to give up. Almost every fiber of my being wanted to hold on because that was the thing you were supposed to do, right? You’re not supposed to throw in the towel when there’s still some fight in you left. You’re not supposed to give up when you’ve got a good thing going. She was blissfully right in so many ways and I would be foolish to let her slip away—nay, stupid to even entertain the thought of rejecting her.
All our lives we’ve been drilled to excel, to be better, to seek perfection (or at least good enough), find your soul mate, to live happily ever after. But maybe therein lay the fatal error that can so terrifyingly split even the strongest bonds.
These societal constructs, norms, types, and archetypes of proper behavior and dogmatic thinking lead us to experience a sense of elation at walking this tight rope of expectations. And when you’re walking that rope, you’re supposed to feel fulfilled, aren’t you? You’re supposed to be happy? For quite a while I was—but why did it fade away?!
For the longest time I’ve been feeling guilty about my failure in keeping that relationship alive. She’s assured me time and time again that I shouldn’t feel that way and while the anxiety lessens to a degree of comfortable numbness—like a cancer in remission—when those same guilty feelings come back, they rush in an even worse way.
To a cynical reader, it may sound like I’m defending my actions here but rest assured that this is in no way meant as a justificatory piece. I’ve well moved past the point of trying to preserve my pride and assuage my ego. This is merely an explanation of what was going through the befuddled mind and tremulous emotional state of a Raymond from three years ago. This is a mere narrative rather than something like an apologia.
So why write this now? As I’ve stated above, part of it is to serve as catharsis in the way that writing my thoughts have done for me in the past. But far more importantly, I think I’m at the brink of having found someone truly worthwhile to pay attention to. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I want to be in something serious again and move beyond these transitory encounters I’ve had since I became single again. I feel like doing more than just substantial compliance and practiced actions. I want to infuse meaning back into each word and action I communicate rather than it be just another rote, memorized line. It’s practically an existentialist’s wet dream.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just because I’m tired of the fleeting interactions (I really, really am but that story’s for another day), but rather a really deep-seated desire to finally go out looking for the one again. Wait, that last’s so important, it has to be written thus:
I may or may not have found her already but for now I’m quite contented in the thought that I’ve finally crawled out of this cave I’ve been hiding in for so long. I’m actually feeling kilig again and it’s both rapturous and terrifying all at the same time which, in context of the larger picture, might probably be whole point of this thing!
I guess that in that sense I haven’t truly rid myself of all the expectations and hopes that Hollywood and Disney and the myths, stories, and novels I’ve been exposed to in this lifetime to from the thesis of what a love life ought to be. I guess that deep down inside I still am, in many, many ways, the same hopeful dreamer whose looking for the one true love to spend happily ever after with.