Since I turned 24 recently (not too late to wish me a happy birthday), I have had multiple episodes of existential crisis. I kept asking myself if I am living my best life, if I am behaving towards my truest self in achieving my biggest potential. I started analysing my past, calculated my near and far future meticulously. Desperate to gain control of my spiraling state of self-knowing, one day at work I completed a 5 year life-plan – planning everything from career and financials to bucket lists and relationship. Out of 11 aspects I had to envision, relationship was the hardest for me to gauge.
Looking back, I often compare myself to my sisters when it comes to relationships. They both had a small number of partners with a significantly longer duration. If I could count – I have had almost 10 “serious boyfriends” and many more flings in between, the longest being 1 year and 8 months. I carried myself with this carelessness which I disguised as confidence – I acted however I wanted, wore my emotions on my sleeves, pouring love and more love from one person to another. At the end of every single one of these connections, I lay spent and tired, feeling empty and frustrated as what they gave back to me fell short on my expectations meter. I ended it all as soon as I felt that it was not working, and I knew putting in more effort was pointless. I decided then to take a short break from relationships to understand what was wrong. (Spoiler: the short break is now 4.5 years and counting…)
If I had blamed anyone for this losing streak, I would say I initially blamed the men. They were all not competent, not understanding, not capable of anything. Useless. Until one day, 3 years into my hiatus, my mother said something that startled me. She was lying on the bed in my room, pouring discontent over her own marriage and confessed that she wanted to end it. Being the child of her first divorce, I told her “think of your children, it wouldn’t be easy for them”. I was reminiscing the hardships I went through with my sisters when she responded, “I divorced your father and I didn’t think of you. Why should I think of the kids now?”
Then it hit me.
I gave up on relationships easily because my parents never tried to keep theirs going. What was the point of saving a relationship when not even marriages last? The reason why all these men fell short was because I had to be selfish and put myself first – just like what my mom did. That conversation has led me to discard any ideas of a relationship that I had hoped to have in the future. Relationship is a bait for self destruction and marriage is a scam.
Now before you hate on my mother for making me lose hope in love – let me provide you an insight: she presented me with an opportunity to discover myself without the element of a expecting love from a third party.
I started going to therapy after that for a whole year and I learnt how to solve my problems and get rid of the things that held me back. I learnt how to be the ideal person that I wanted to be. I learnt that my expectations were indeed not too high and I deserve to demand to get exactly what I give. I learnt to compromise and I learnt to put myself first. I learnt to love myself, just myself as a whole and I allowed room for mistakes to exist. I got insightful and I started developing myself more and more – to the point where I could now confidently build a 5 year life plan.
Good news for you too, I think I discovered what was wrong. It wasn’t the men. It wasn’t high expectations. It wasn’t my mother. It was the lack of self-discovery and self-love. I have discovered what Kim Seokjin from BTS meant when he sang his solo Epiphany “I am the one I should love in this world”. And although I still have so many more pages to read about myself, I think I am ready to try again.
Another good news; I went on date yesterday.