There’s something to be said about being a process-oriented, flowchart-obsessed person stuck with the soul of a hopeless romantic. On the one hand, I never thought I’d be caught in a complicated almostbut-not-quite-relationship that will eventually end without explanation.
I’ve always thought of myself as quite rational and level-headed. I knew my “theories”. I like definitions and certainty. On the other hand, I should have seen it coming. I should have known that once I opened myself up and allowed myself to be vulnerable, things will spiral out of control. That is exactly what happened. Before I could catch myself, I was falling for a non-committal guy who always ran the risk of leaving.
Finally, without warning, things stopped. He left. And I am left to keep on asking myself why. Here are 7 truths I’ve learned from this almost-but-not-quite-relationship I’ve had:
1. The truth is, things would have probably turned out different if I had ‘taken it slow.’
“Guys love the chase. They like it when girls keep them hanging and guessing. They think love is a game and the girl is the prize they win. You, coming on too strong, overwhelms him.” I have been told this so many times. And yet, I can’t quite reconcile it. Now I understand that I will always come on too strong. I will always be clear with how I feel and what my intentions are. I don’t know how to play and I don’t want to. If he cannot accept that kind of honesty and clarity, it is not my fault anymore.
2. The truth is, he doesn’t love me. But then perhaps, I’ve never loved him too.
Instead, I loved the idea of what he could be. I loved what we could be. How many times did I try to impose my thoughts and projections of “what should be” with him? Didn’t I try changing him? Eventually, would I have been happy if I ended up with him only to find out that he cannot live up to my expectations? At the end of the day, he is not what I want him to be, and we are not what I wanted us to be.
3. The truth is, he is most likely in love with someone else.
It might be an ex, a girl I don’t know about, a girl in the future… And I can make logical comparisons as to why I am better than that other girl. But at the end of the day, love is not about meritocracy. It’s not a matter of who gives more, of who fits the definition of perfect partner. Part of the magic of love is that people just fall in love with each other regardless of context. And sometimes, effort has nothing to do with improving how someone feels for you.
4. The truth is, he has other priorities.
And why wouldn’t he? Isn’t life beyond romantic relationships? At the end of the day, you define who you are, you must create an identity for yourself that is outside who you love. Isn’t it a good thing that he has a dream he wants to pursue? Looking back, it is a lesson I have learned from him – to search for my dream and pursue it; regardless of who is beside me as I work towards my goal.
5. The truth is, life happens.
I have a strong internal locus of control, and I mostly believe that we create our own circumstances. But when it comes to love, so many things have to come together for two people to end up with each other: the timing, the context of the two people in a relationship, and so much more… A butterfly flaps its wings and a storm brews thousands of miles away. Each action has infinite possible consequences. All has to be somehow “right” for people to come together – it really makes me believe that it is “magic” when two people fall in love.
6. The truth is, not all things need to have closure.
I have always had a need for plans. I have always been goal-oriented, acting with the end in mind. Closure is an important element – whether it is to formalize goodbyes or to share lessons learned or identity next steps. But sometimes, having “closure talks” preempts everything. It inevitably tells me to plan, to expect, to foresee a future when this or that will happen. “Maybe, we’ll become friends? Maybe, we can try again when we’ve changed?” These “plans” give birth to expectations, and make it difficult for two people to move on because it eventually dictates how two people should interact to achieve a desired goal. Moving on means truly acknowledging that I CAN and WILL live without this person. That I can live a full, happy life even when he is not in the picture. Only then can I even consider having him back in my life – whether as friends or something else.
7. The truth is, his life goes on without mine.
And so does my life. Of course, I am still tempted to look back with a hint of nostalgia and remember the happy times we’ve shared. But dwelling on these makes me forget that beyond those times with him, I’ve had a lot of other wonderful moments without him. I look back to a time when he wasn’t a part of my life. I had a life before him, and I certainly will have a life without him. I believe in choices – and, to a large extent, it is up to me to choose what to make of that life. The truth is, life is not perfect. And it doesn’t have to be. Because imperfect, painful moments allow us to learn and to understand that we are capable of surviving, growing and thriving despite our wounds and brokenness.