The only obsession everyone wants: ‘love’. People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you’re whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You’re whole, and then you’re cracked open.
— Philip Roth
I’ve always imagined that if I were to write a post on my love life and romantic relationship, it would be one that is stark with an arrogance of been-there-done-that and a know-it-all attitude. I would probably begin with how ours have weathered every single kind of relationship hurdle out there: infidelity, deception, a significant age gap of nine years, betrayal, miscommunication, insecurity and the mother of all roadblocks, long distance.
So it’s quite disbelieving even to me right now, that I’m sitting here, contemplating about the twists and turns of this relationship and just how wrong I am. Yes, I was wrong in thinking that we’ve somehow reached the finishing line after claiming the victory of having triumphed over all the hurdles, emerging stronger than before with each one. That there is nothing else waiting for us but a life of marital bliss and cute babies.
And then there is this harrowing impediment that quietly crept up behind our backs and devoured us alive, and this, will henceforth be known as my boyfriend’s Mid-life Crisis. For most parts of our relationship, he has always been preoccupied with the conviction that what he does defines him completely, and loves his work more than he loves me. Very typical alpha male thinking. I understand and I support him, by not asking for more than what I’m already receiving, frequently hushing down any resentment and disappointment fueled by his maniacal quest for professional success. All I needed was his understanding of the undertones of some of my more vindictive comments, but have instead been mistaken as grouses of an unsatisfied seeker of impossible things.
He was also the same person who infamously expressed over Twitter, that “in the pursuit of happiness, sacrifices have to be made”. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what the alleged sacrifice was. Swept away by the currents of ambition, he has no qualms getting rid of anything that stood in the way, of his way. Hence, it wasn’t entirely startling for me to be ruthlessly shunned out of his big picture of a dazzling future. On hindsight, the warning signs have been waving around like neon lights, bright as day. I suppose this is what we do for the people we love, we make excuses for them, we cling on to hope, we quietly tell ourselves that we’re reading too much into the slightest hint.
Having said all that, I have never met anyone that I am so compatible with on so many levels. I fell deeply and madly in love with him. I felt like I could take the plunge into a lifetime of commitment with this man. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him, no matter how strong and detached I always try to appear during our shaky moments. The delirium was real. I believe that we were at a point beyond giggly date nights, where even love could not sustain. Our genetic differences intensified the feelings of irritability that later overshadowed whatever affection that we have left for each other. What we lost our battle to was the absence of a greater consciousness to overcome these asymmetries. Our biggest enemy was not compatibility, but ignorance.
It’s a perplexing state to be in right now – groping in the dark for a sense of mature understanding to explain how, what, when and why these can spiral down to such a harsh outcome. I would be lying if I said I didn’t spend many waking hours hitting the rewind button and let every conversation, every encounter, play out slowly in the vacuum of my mind so that I could pin down specific moments that may have led him to an impetuous change of heart. Was it something I said? Or did? This brings me back to the time when we first started dating, enthralled by its romantic prospects, but which also came with a parcel of hurt and pain that is reminiscent of many crying-in-the-bathroom episodes.
I’m bewildered, and my heart seared, to know that I was even denied of a proper goodbye; the one I got was devoid of any trace of tenderness that I thought the disposal of a three year plus relationship would have at least deserved. He was unflinchingly cold and cruel, almost juvenile in its execution – a telephone call, two sentences, and a hostile aftermath. You gotta give it to men for their innate ability to withdraw into their cave of oblivion without a rhyme or reason. But I am certain that it is also this brutal dismissal that made me see now with crystal clear clarity: here’s a man who sold the idea of a fantasy to me but gave up and fled when he was exhausted by the labours of his own proposal.
Amidst this caustic backdrop of broken promises, it made me realize that I cannot be with someone who doesn’t even know what he wants and strays at the mere thought of a reconciliation with a seemingly more perfect destiny, perhaps with a girl who would not intercept his world and interfere with his contrived sense of self. Also, I figured that since we’ve reached the end of the road with this relationship, there really isn’t much of a need to be protective over these pictures that Fazil took of us exactly a year ago in Melbourne, depicting much happier times. I no longer see them as photographs that encapsulated the romance between two people; they are nothing but a work of art now, and we are nothing more than sheer subjects.