I was thinking about what my life would be if I did not marry my husband.
If I married my first boyfriend, it would’ve been a loveless marriage.
It was a one-sided relationship which started wrongly — with Michan first being head over heels in love with me, then when I turned away, it was I with him. It was a seriously fucked up relationship dynamic with two people falling in love with each other, but not at the same time.
We were together long distance for 6 months, and were together for a year before breaking up on our first year anniversary.
If Michan and I married, I would’ve lived in Japan. Since Michan didn’t have a college degree, he would’ve worked as a cook or waiter or a massage therapist, the latter of which he ended up doing.
In Japan, there would’ve been a glass ceiling for educated women so I’ll probably just end up teaching English to Japanese kids, or working as a secretary in a big company somewhere. I would earn enough but I won’t be rich.That is, if I worked.
Another option was to be a housewife. To cook Michan’s food and to take care of his children. In Japan, it’s not likely that a woman is better than her husband. Michan’s pride wouldn’t had allowed it, and to save the marriage, I would’ve made sacrifices.
But hey, that’s the cost of being with Michan.
If I married Mark, it would’ve been another story.
Mark was a nice guy.
He had a stable job working as a Head of IT for a big global bank. He was paid very well, and lived well.
Mark was the first one who introduced me to the delights of fine dining and delicious wine. He taught me that money was supposed to be enjoyed, and one has to spend in order to make life worthwhile. I even remembered he offered to fly me to Hong Kong for the weekend just to have a nice dinner at the Mandarin Grill in Central.
It was a very nice relationship.
Whereas Michan and I were imbalanced, Mark and I were more like equals. We were both educated, with good stable jobs, and can talk for hours and hours. We spoke the same language, and it was at that time that I realized just how important it was to be with someone who shared the same culture as I did.
We never fought, and shared the same interests. We loved to socialize, spend time with friends, and became healthy by going rock-climbing. We would rock-climb three times a week.
If I married Mark, we would’ve been blissfully happy. It would’ve been a peaceful relationship, and I would’ve been content.
However, he was also 18 years older than me.
Stop looking at me like that! At the age of 24, it was fine to date a 42-year old man.
Anyway, he looked like he was merely in his early 30s (no kidding). People would ask him to bring out his ID because nobody believed he was already above 40.
Whereas we can date the pros and cons of dating an older man, I only saw the good. He was happy, stable and had his life in order, different from Michan’s lost life. For once, he talked to me like an adult.
We broke up after six blissful months. Don’t ask me why — I think he realized the folly of dating somebody younger than him, and he was more concerned about what others thought than what he believed.
In the end, it would’ve been good.
If we got married, he would now be in his 50s. Marriage would mean I would be a mom earlier when I am not really prepared for motherhood, and it would’ve mean that he would die earlier than me.
So while I’m still relatively young at 42, he would’ve been a senior citizen already.
It would mean that I would’ve taken care of him more when his health gave way. That would mean more visits to hospitals. Even at the age of 42, he already had a bit of arthritis and he wasn’t as sprung as he was in his youth.
Mark ended up marrying somebody else closer to his own age. They now live content and happy in Taiwan. 🙂
Personally, breaking up with him was honestly heart-breaking. It took us six months to get over each other, and a few more months for me to get over him.
But it did give me around 2 years of awesome freedom!
Party… party… party…!
My relationship with next dude was a short one, and was with a colleague.
Aiyo, that was a mistake.
I have nothing against office romances, but it sure was a bit difficult trying to keep this relationship under wraps.
It wasn’t entirely because I was ashamed of it, but rather because I was already getting ahead in my career and I didn’t want anything personal to tarnish my work. Like many women, I didn’t want to be identified because of my relationship. It would rather be best to keep personal and professional life separate.
He was part of our regional office, while I was in another country, and yet we connected well. I liked his fast confidence, smart wit and his wide-range of industry experience.
He was also quite senior in our company, although we had different bosses. You can say we were in different departments.
I just went out with him just for the hell of it. He was available and I was curious. Hey, sometimes, relationships don’t need a lot of explanations. You just give it a go and see where it goes.
Unfortunately, the relationship fizzled out.
Maybe it was the long-distance, or maybe it was because of the absurdity of it all?
But right before it fizzled out, I thought to myself, “My, this person — after looking through his immense confidence and abilities — is actually quite boring.”
That’s the problem with people: Strip them of their achievements and you realize that they can be quite one-dimensional after all.
Boyfriend for the meantime, sure. But for a lifetime? Well, how else could it have last? I don’t think we could’ve tolerated each other for a week straight after the newness was gone.
He tried three times to get us back together, even coming to Manila to ask for another chance.
This is one relationship where “No” really means NO.
And I am so glad that I declined.
I think it would’ve been an empty shell of a relationship if ever we pushed through.
Then there came Trader.
I was three years older than him, and I remember when I was in college, he looked up to me. He said he had a crush on me then, but these get bungled up along the way. All I can say was whenever I needed a ride home from school, if he was there, he would offer saying that it was on his way.
He was quiet, conscientious and a bit nerdy.
He liked watching Chuck, playing video games, and working on Macros in Excel.
Trader was like the kid you’ve always wanted to have: Never really got into trouble. Got top marks from Xavier, graduated with a double degree in our university, and is working as a derivatives trader in Singapore when I met him.
Impressive resume for a kid from Manila.
If you saw him, you would think of him as a nice guy. He honestly looked the part. Polo, jeans and nice nerdy glasses… yes, that was Trader. He dressed neatly, was careful about what he said and how he acted, and ruffled no feathers.
We were so cheesy then and called each other “Bee,” for baby. Yes, that was our nickname for each other. A bit embarrassing I know, but hey, that’s what people do when they’re in a relationship.
Even though we were in a long-distance relationship, we would see each other every month, alternating trips between Hong Kong and Singapore.
It’s funny though — despite flying across countries, when we get to see each other, we do boring things. — Like go to the mall, buy books from the bookstore, watching a movie and eating cheap food at hawker streets.
It was a very practical relationship, and though I was somewhat bored, I felt that it was a good relationship to have.
Women were supposed to marry the nice guys right?
After years of partying, having fun and moving forward in my career, maybe it’s time to settle down with a nice boy.
And Trader was truly marriage material.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
First, his parents didn’t like me. “You are too bossy,” Trader said, explaining the obvious. “They would prefer someone who can be more of a housewife and take care of me and the kids.”
I asked him if that’s what he would want, as I am not at all housewife-material. My parents were both businessmen. I was already working abroad. Being a housewife was not something I planned to have since I was born.
Two, I think that we realized a few weeks in the relationship just how different we are.
Trader was peaceful, but our relationship was not. It truly brought the badness outside of me. I remembered being a total brat, and expecting to get away with it. To Trader’s defense, he usually let me have my way.
I think I acted out because I was less than satisfied with this relationship.
But since he was a great guy, I didn’t have the guts to break it off, thinking that this was the last chance I may have with a decent guy.
It’s sad I know.
I was with a decent guy who gave me most of what I wanted, and yet I wasn’t content.
I wanted more.
In the end, I found out that Trader was not as nice as he claimed to be.
In fact, I realized he was in a way very manipulative. Whereas I originally thought he was quiet, he was actually surveying the entire room and trying to observe a situation, trying to see if he can move the people around him like chess pieces.
I also found out that his trips to Hong Kong were just not to see me, but to conduct his family’s personal finance issues.
He was definitely not the most forthcoming guy I know.
Even after we broke up, I realized that whereas I was such an open book, he was not. I came away from the relationship not knowing too much about him. Like seriously, you can spend hours with him and not know him any better than when you first started.
I shudder at the thought of actually being married to him.
If he can keep a lot of secrets when we were dating, how worse it is if we got married? Then I would’ve been sucked in a place I cannot escape, and I have to be part of his secret world and live in fear of being discovered.
In the end, we broke up because there was another girl he met when he visited home.
The breakup was swift: As soon as he found out he had a chance with her, we broke up via Skype while I was in London. Exactly a month later, he was already in a relationship.
See? I told you he was a manipulative bastard… 🙂
I dodged a bullet on that one though. No offense to Trader.
Let’s just say I chock it up to experience, but every failed relationship I had paved the way for my Husband today.
Whereas Michan was lost, hubby had a family and a business he built from scratch.
While Mark was bothered with what other people thought, my husband cared nothing about what others felt, sometimes to a fault.
While my relationship with my colleague was a secret, this wasn’t. And it was great being paraded as the One and Only Girlfriend. Such freedom is something I really yearned and wished for!
And while Trader was a manipulative nice dude, my husband despite his rough exterior was truly a nice person. He would give his last salary to someone in need if he felt they needed it more. I remember him buying a breast pump for his secretary who just recently gave birth. It’s these little acts of genuine kindness that had made his people so much more loyal to him.
So for those who are single, and with failed relationships, my heart goes out to you.
How many days have I also cried and shouted? How many times had I been disappointed when a guy I put my hopes on disappoints me? How many times have I been hurt when a relationship ends, be it in my hands or his?
It’s not easy finding the One for you.
But as I look back on my own life, I realize that every failed relationship led me to my husband. Somehow, some lesson stuck and I learned something that moved me closer to where my husband was.
If I married Michan, I would be in Japan, alone and helpless. We could also not communicate in the same language. Michan taught me how important is language in a relationship. If you can, speak the same language!
If I married Mark, I would’ve been the child in the relationship. He would forever take care of him, and only I can take care of him when he’s old. The age gap does exist and it’s not optimal. Sometimes, it’s good to be with people more similar to your own age. The common experiences and thought process would’ve been beneficial in making you closer to each other.
If I married my colleague, it would’ve been a mess. We were simply not right for each other. Why force it?
If I married Trader, I would’ve been stuck in his secretive life. I would not be really happy knowing fully well that my husband is plotting many things behind other people’s backs.
I am fine where I am. It’s not happy all the time, but I am here, right where I belong.
So I end this post with a quote, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
The future is here.
I hope you can also benefit from my experiences as well.