Perspectives 2.0 – Why do all good things come to an end?

I’m back with another relationship blog post. These past few days I’ve been receiving unwanted messages from this person I always dreaded because of how unecessarily dramatic he always is. I was super annoyed seeing his texts.

The thing is I haven’t seen him for so long, and it’s just creepy how he hasn’t moved on and still holds grudges on something that couldn’t be any less significant. Well, maybe it’s just me. I’m in no position to speak on his behalf anyway.

Well, let’s just say that during some short and confusing period time of my life, I found this person rather interesting and reliable, and I decided to casually date him. Everything was ok. I was never invested, but I guess he was. But after a while, I realised that we had nothing in common and I needed time for myself. Moreover, I didn’t have anything to offer and so did he. So, I broke it off, with a clean cut, or so I thought. He is not a mean-sprited or a horrible person, but he was (and I think still is, somewhat) obsessive of me. To be fair, you must care about someone (a lot?) in order to be obsessive of them, but when it becomes a burden, it’s not cute. Except the person is Justin Bieber, and you’re a 13 year-old teenage girl. I have to say that I’m pretty annoyed with his obsession, and I’m glad that I managed to tell him to spare me with meaningless messages that do no good to anyone. No one has really done any harm to anyone anyway.

What do people usually say? Be with someone that makes you a better person. And if you try too hard in the relationship, it isn’t right. It is easily said than done, and seems like such a general & sensible thing to do but I don’t think everyone fully understands it and is able to do it. Of course, I myself included since I’m probably the most flawed person on planet Earth.

I never really put my mind into those relationship advices until I recently had a major relationship failure which, to be honest, did not only cause great emotional damages to my partner and myself, but also to some few family members involved. My partner was and still is a decent person, who has been my best friend for almost 15 years now and has a heart of gold. I don’t have anything bad to say about him.

The two of us started off as friends in high school. We had a lot of things in common and always thought the world of each other, and it seemed like a right thing to do, being with each other or at least that’s what I thought. He was my high school crush. I was his best friend. We both dated different people, but we always remained best friends. At the point where both of us were single, we got together because I thought it was the right thing to do. We’ve always cared and loved each other so dearly and time seems to stop when we talk. So, I thought, why not? He was hesitant yet couldn’t deny how attracted we were to each other.

I have to admit that it didn’t feel entirely right for me, and transitioning from friendship to a romantic relationship really took a toll of me at that time. We never had that honeymoon stage. We couldn’t seem to agree on anything. Things were frustrating, and I cried a lot. The only peaceful times in our relationship were when we were apart and missed having each other around. We were together on and off for a long time. There were times I sort of realized that despite our sincere love for each other and our common interests, we were just not right for each other. We both tried. However, the idea of being in a relationship with your childhood best friend seemed too perfect to me that I always came back to him no matter what. This, I regret. I’d always come back to him, thinking things would get better although I kind of saw that our values and priorities will never be compatible although we both longed for our forever “home”. It was always the best thing in the world when it was just us two together, just talking and sharing, as two best friends. It wish I could have kept it as just that.

Our story was always the best friendship in the world, but it was honestly, never an ideal romantic love/relationship. Our first date, our first kiss, the first time I met his family, our getaways, how we decided to get married, the date he proposed, our wedding day… they never seemed right. Don’t get me wrong, we had some of the best memories ever created, and no one will be able to compete against but it was never that magic “jinx” and “the missing puzzle piece” kind of feeling. It both felt right and wrong at the same time. The wrongness in the relationship caused me to really lose my mind in the later stage into our relationship. It became suffocating and tiring for both of us; and my anxiety reached its worst.

After 1.5 years, I finally broke down, hard. I did everything to get out of it, regardless the consequences. I just collected my stuff and left. The moment I was set free from living in tears, insomnia and exhaustion, I never felt so alive. I could finally breathe again. I think it would have helped if we had moved out from his parents’ place to give us some space and resolve our differences. But he never agreed on that, being a good Asian boy to his parents that he is. And my hopes of finally having a life for ourselves were crashing down since his parents decided to stay with us… forever. I just couldn’t do it. I gave up. A lot of people will be fine with this living arrangement, and won’t mind the in-laws being on them all the time, telling them what to do and how to behave, and basically want you to erase who you are and blend in their family, but not me. Yes, I married your son, and did wish to come visit you once a week, but I didn’t sign up for 24/7, 365 days per year kind of dosage. It was just too much for me. Especially when my partner was not around and I was left alone with them, it was the worst. I had to hospitalise myself and was given anti-depression medications (which caused me to throwing up constantly, and always got dizzy for a long time). I couldn’t get any worse, I had to free myself. I had to leave.

Am I happier now? I’m still mourning this relationship a year after everything ended, but I know it was the right thing to do. There might be a lot could-haves and should-haves but nothing would have changed. Call me a selfish bastard but I didn’t regret A THING I did. I wish this hadn’t upsetted my parents as much, but aside from that, not in a million years would I want to go back to this relationship. We both have had enough. If I hadn’t been that dramatic, things would have dragged on and become much more complicated. I needed a fast & clean cut.

We had a friendly talk another day about how we’ll never be able to hate each other, how we’ll always love and care for each other and we’ll always talk as good friends. We’re simply incompatible as a couple, and I guess the love was never strong enough to overcome complicated obstacles in life. We both refused to change. He was not brave enough, and my ego was too high.

So what does a person like I am perceive as a perfect relationship, so you ask? After years and years and a lot of comtemplating, I realized that my ideal relationship is either being with someone who makes me a better person, who thinks the world of me and cares about me (without being obsessive in a bad way) truly. If I ever get in another serious relationship: 1. This person has to be independent and strong-spirited, and I have got to look up to and idolise him. 2. It has to be feel right when I meet his family (if his family plays a big part in the relationship). 3. It must feel instantly right at the beginning, especially when we first kiss or hold hands, and nothing matters when we’re together. Well, I’ve met such person and let him go. So, I don’t think that I’ll ever be able to come across such a person again in this life time.

Another ideal scenario (to me) is to be in the (perceived) toxic kind of relationship where two people (with commitment issues) are together ONLY when they feel lonely, with no strings attached. Usually, there’s no such thing as no strings attached, someone will catch feelings, or both. And if you insist to be together when you’re not supposed to, it’ll leave a nasty scar. Damages can be avoided when no one in the relationship wishes to enter a serious relationship, which is very possible. It doesn’t have to always be physical with this type of relationship, but people in this relationship long for intimacy, which is a lot worse than casual hookups or “friends with benefits” kind of relationships. It’s the relationship of the mind, which will be forever beautiful. With this kind of relationship, the highs are worth the pains (or no pain involved, if one can take this lightly). Of course, these two people must have crazy chemistry with each other to start this off with.

This kind of relationship is perfectly described in the song “Wildest dreams” (another song by Taylor Swift, are you really surprised?) and the movie “Up in the air”. In “Wildest dreams”, the affair is beautiful and haunting. It was soooo good and dream-like while it lasted, but the girl ended up hurting the most in the end. In “Up in the air” (with George Clooney), the chemistry between Ryan and Alex was crazy, but in a nutshell, it was again, nothing but an affair, at least to the woma. Ryan was an escape for Alex from her life, bringing her intimacy, laughters, all the exciting and thrilling feelings she never got at home. It’d be forever exciting and thrilling that way if Ryan didn’t decided to fly to her city and arrive at her doorsteps just to realize that she’s already married and had no intention to move forward with that “relationship” that they shared.

Reality will eventually hit you in the face and damages will (likely) be done – if both parties fail to handle it delicately and discreetly. The best thing with this relationship is that it is quite easy to end, and it’ll forever be beautiful looking back at it even when it has ended. And every time you if you come across the person again, you’ll remember instantly every memory, every word, every breath that made you feel alive, desired and loved again.

But come to think about it, affairs that happen between two people who are both completely drained at home or if one is unhappy at home and the other one has commitment issues totally make perfect sense. One will be happier, more relaxed and guilt will likely make them a better person at home. One will be able to live his/her life without being committed  to anything official. I remember in “Friends” – the all time classic tv series, Joey’s mom told him she’s perfectly fine with his dad having an affair because thanks to her, or the guilts he has from the affair, he had become a better husband to her, and father to her kids. It works both way, for some people, I guess. Or some special arrangement has to be put in place, for the sakes of everyone involved to minimize any possible damages.

I don’t know how some people can have affairs while being married. Well, I guess stability and responsibilities play big parts of it, but it’s not for me. I’ve got to end one of the 2 relationships or I’m gonna go utterly mad. When my mind wanders, that’s it. It’s the end. I’m the kind of person who always ends things when I realize I have feelings for some other person. A crush won’t be worth it, but you know, when the other person is all you think about for such a long period of time, and you always want to be with that person, it is not fair for either party if you pretend you’re still in love and stay in the relationship for the sake of your own stability. Maybe it’s just me. I once prioritized stability, and decided to stay with someone I felt “safe” with, hoping that things would change once I’m with him long enough, but turned out, I was dead wrong. And I ended up hurting my partner badly. After breakups, someone will be disappointed, but everyone will eventually move on. But to me, although my partner is my first and foremost best friend, there is just no point trying too hard and prolong the pain for both parties. The breakup just left me wishing that we never got together, or we never got back together. But que sera sera.

I guess you’ll never know, no one enters a committed relationship wishing things will get bad, but things happen, I guess.

I just came across this following post on Quora, which think describes affairs the best. What does it feel like, the highs and the lows. I really have nothing more to add.

It’s like a drug. I don’t mean that in some trite or contrived sense. You feel younger, your heart beats a little quicker, you get the feeling that you are “awake, truly awake” for the first time in years, like the flowers smell a bit sweeter, and colors are a bit more vivid, and music is more deeply stirring, etc.

This continues for a while. Sneaking out (or making elaborate plans to rendezvous) is exciting. Seeing your (extracurricular) partner gussied up for a good time is exciting. The illicit thrill of “I’m out somewhere with this new person, and we look so happy and vivacious and perfect together, and NO ONE KNOWS we’re not longtime steady partners” is exciting. Your brain is literally doping itself up on endorphines; it’s a natural chemical high, but it is still a high.

Some cheaters call this ‘the fog.’ The delirious drug-like high leads you to believe that this illicit-on-the-side relationship is TRUE ‘happiness,’ and that the other life must be unhappiness, because it doesn’t feel as good as this new thing feels. A lot of radical life-distorting thoughts and perspectives occur during this time — some people act on them, some people only entertain them inwardly — things in the I-can-run-far-away-and-have-a-new-life, I-can-have-a-second/third-family stripe. Probably there are some well-known tropes like “being free” or “starting over” here.

This can go on for months — years, if the conditions are right, or if the contacts are not frequent. Eventually, something will (almost always) go wrong; the first hints of imperfection will arise, over time spent with the new partner, as that relationship becomes more “everyday” and “real,” and not so idealized or perfect anymore. Perhaps there is friction between old-partner and new-partner, some blackmail or threatened contact. Perhaps someone is diseased, or gets pregnant. Perhaps a real significant neurosis surfaces, the new-partner is just as flawed or undesirable as the old partner, or impatient/angry about being kept a secret. This is the not-so-good part; usually one or both participants realize the relationship is not going to last, but it’s not over yet, and a slight doom-and-gloom vibe permeates.

At this point, one or both relationships are lost. The new partner (perhaps the cheater) gets thrown out like old trash, with heated sentiments like you-never-made-good-on-your-promise or you-never-really-loved-me. The old partner (spouse) maybe gets ditched, because due to ‘the fog’ (s)he could never really have been the source of happiness when this NEW happiness was so much bigger and better than the prior domestic situation. In particularly stellar cases, the cheater leaves the old partner, committing to the new partner, only to find out that the relationship with the new partner wasn’t that strong either, and can’t survive the time period when the newness wears off and the everyday things are just as irritating. Or, of course, the old partner can find out what’s going on, and leave.

In a minority of cases — whether or not the affair is discovered — the new relationship ends, the cheater goes back (somewhat begrudgingly) to the old partner, and a sort of malaise sets in, like being fired from a dearly-beloved job, or having a best friend move far away, or even experiencing a death in the family. A huge part of “delirious happiness” (‘the fog’) has suddenly been yanked away, and what’s left (the old relationship, the old partner) seems bitter and lackluster by comparison, like the dregs at the bottom of the glass, or the remains of the day.

From this point, either the (old) relationship will slowly strengthen (maybe never becoming “as good as it was,” but perhaps something known and comfortable), or the unhappy-then-cheat pattern will recur, with various consequences. We know from Western societal statistics that something like 95% of affair-relationships do not last five years (things do not work out with the new partner), and, more interestingly, when cheaters decide to stay with their old partners, if they can stay together for five years, they are (somewhat) ‘happy again’ 95% of the time. Which seems to corroborate the drug-like high and illicit have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too excitement factor.

SAM_1052

This is some random art work at the Museum of Art and Science in Singapore, taken a long time ago which I think kind of makes sense for this river of thoughts…

Until the next time.

Rosie

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