Yesterday i met a woman who probably changed my life forever. She is non other than my own cousin; a sunny girl with a beautiful face framed by a pixie hair cut that never fails to remind me of Natalie Portman. What i find most attractive about her though, is her originality and strong persona that houses the oldest soul i’ve ever known.
Over our Japanese grill, we had a chat themed “International Women’s Day” about a question women today frequently ask: “Is he the right one?”. While i’m no Love Guru, i’d still like to share some interesting thoughts of our conversation, along with a few other voices of other women and even grown up men.
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The first thing to acknowledge is that there is no “right or wrong person”, as long as the two words: “hit” and “cheat” don’t exist in your relationship. It is not about finding the person you love, but learning to love the person you found. While things can get difficult and you feel like starting again with a clean slate, sooner or later you will find yourself with a whole set of new problems. So, who actually needs fixing – You or all the men in the world? As time is more crucial in a woman’s life compared to a man’s, the last thing you want is going through more cycles than your menstruations offered this lifetime; which is only a mere number of 400.
Here is my current 10 things you might need to know to have a long lasting relationship:
1. Knowing what you want in a partner, is more important than creating the perfect partner.
The biggest mistake women make when it comes to a man is waiting around and wishing he will change. We all know that nobody is perfect, yet we still carry hopes that our partner would perhaps fit into our special mould one day. Humans are not inanimate objects, why can’t they change? Yes, people do change (we are not the same person we were 5 years ago), but a person’s core will always remain the same. Who doesn’t want perfection? The more valid question should be: What can you live with for the rest of your life?
It is not about “what you want” (because that is just so plain general it makes you scratch your non-itchy head), but what you want IN A MAN. Do you believe in the power of taking the first step? Even if you are not a fan of pen and paper, try writing down a list of qualities in a man that allows you to see a strong future with. Needless to say, this list varies for everyone.
Now check – Does your partner own any of these pillars? If most of your answers are yes, the next question would be: Can you live with his imperfections? Weigh both good and bad, and you will see your answer on the heavier side of the weighing scale. Cherish love. Cherish.
2. There are two sides to everything.
So we’ve learned to accept our partner as a person, but he still has some flaws which you find extremely challenging to live with. What do you do?
There are two sides to everything and every situation. Speak to your partner about the things that really bother you. Are both of you on the same page to compromise? i would assume this a yes, or the relationship would start to fail at some point. There is an art to talking – the right time, tone, direction . . . Quote from my cousin – If the main road is closed, use the back route. Meaning: If you tried communicating using Method A and it never works, that simply means that this road is spoiled! Why still use it? Try Method B or C to bring your message across. Situations are not dead until the people in them are.
3. Love wins.
It is inevitable that couples fight in a relationship, but a fight is only worth it if its outcome brings two people closer, by meeting each other in the middle. What weapons do you use to go to a love war? Loudness? Intellect? Cold pressed ignorance? Here’s where i present you a quote by Morrie from the book, Tuesdays with Morrie: Love wins. Love always wins. i say, fight right and fight with love, not words, nor semiotics.
4. Love exists where it’s felt.
My dad is indeed a cute fella. He said, “Why do young people nowadays like to fight about i-love-you-so-much-but-you-don’t-love-me-enough? Love is not meant to be said, it is meant to be felt!”
i find that so damn true. Instead of asking someone “How much do you love me?”, ask yourself: Do i feel loved? You are the only one who knows the true answer.
5. It is not the happy but bad times; which determine whether your relationship lasts.
My friend shared this simple yet so wise advise from her mother that opened up my eyes. As a walking emotional bank, i have a tendency to be too attached to things that have stayed with me for a while. While that is human nature, i find “letting go” to be the hardest thing to do in my life.
When we cry after a breakup, it is important to know where the tears come from. Surely they flow from our eyes, but is it because of love, or the sweet memories you are unwilling to let go? It could be both, but it is wise to keep in mind that if someone or something is bad for you, it just is.
If you can pick it up at the first place, trust that you can definitely put it down. Happy times are great, but won’t last two. Whether two individuals know how to live and support each other through the bad times is what matters most. Is the person you are with, the man you would see next to your deathbed?
6. No two mistakes should be measured as equal.
i used to secretly think that should my partner hurt me with Method A and 3 months later i happened to hurt him with Method B, then we’re equal. What i meant by that is not revenge, please, no, but a theory that goes “i’m sorry i hurt you, but you hurt me that much too!”.
There is a difference between forgiving, forgetting, and dropping it. Pain is not measurable and even if it was, its magnitude differs for many. If there is a past mistake that needs to be solved for the both of you to move forward in your relationship, the only way is to learn how to “drop it”. Because you can’t solve history. (Can you change the date of your country’s National Day?)
Everyone should learn to be responsible for their own mistakes, learn from them, and master the ability to leave them in the past. Forgive yourself, even if everyone blames you. Then forgive others. “The true mark of maturity is when somebody hurts you, and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back.”
7. Facebook = 废book
i burst out laughing when i heard my cousin said the above equation out loud. As ridiculous as it sounds, many couples had fought or worse, broken up over Facebook. While there is a psychology behind how you use social media in your own ways, don’t forget that those fights probably wouldn’t exist if Mark Zuckerberg never invented Facebook.
As i grow older, i feel the need to post about my love life grows lesser. Admittedly, i was kinda worried when i saw almost everyone posting selfies with their partners on Valentine’s Day. “Why don’t i feel the need to do so?”, i asked my cousin, almost solemnly.
“Because you’ve grown up! What you want in life now is different. Do you really still think all that selfie thing is essential?”, her eyes staring huge and brown at me, slightly fierce. She is right. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with posting “picture perfect” moments with a long romance essay to back up, but if you happen to feel more in my shoes, try seeing it this way:
Generally, Facebook is a place for people to collect “Likes”. Just because a couple posts more cheese on their wall, doesn’t necessarily mean you have less happiness or love in your relationship. No one could see what’s beyond those pictures, but the post-ers themselves. Point: Facebook = 废book. Focus on building what’s real and true.
8. Be a person worthy of love.
Dear drama queens, before you demand for the love and treatment you think you deserve, ask yourself: Are you a person worthy of loving? Regardless of whether you are born hot blooded, came from a torn family, or happen to be in a bad mood, never forget that nobody owes you anything. Everyone has their own responsibility to fix and better themselves, not you. Just because your partner happens to be patient to your dominance, doesn’t mean you can expect him / her to take all your shit.
Love is about taking care of each other’s feelings. Be responsible of your own duty to always be a better you. Don’t expect from others what others can’t expect of you. To take a person for granted, is to disrespect your own relationship.
9. A break for a love.
Whether having a break is good or bad for a relationship is truly a subjective matter. Some believe that it is just a waste of time – a false hope to make official breakups easier and that when it comes to love, it’s either it’s there, or it’s not.
An old friend taught me otherwise. Using his exact words, “in some cases, it’s like how wind is for fire. It either blows the fire out, or fans the flame on. If you keep blowing wind to fire, its flame will get very small. But if you could pause for a while, the flame will come back bigger.”
You can take breaks, the duration varies, but never wait up too long. If the person never comes back or puts you in a grey area when you offer, then he probably isn’t worth your time at all.
10. Choose your friends wisely.
While it is healthy to talk to friends and unload stressful stories off your shoulders, always be selective of who they are. There are two kinds of friends – good listeners and problem solvers. The best kinds are friends who:
- Wants the best for you
- Fair – knows how to think from both sides of the wall
- Are analytical
The right people will take your hand out of the picture and guide you towards light, giving you a clearer vision of where you are standing. These people are worth loving, and truly hard to find. Cherish them.
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Instead of wondering who or where the right man is, learn to ask the right questions. Happy Belated International Women’s Day to all my female readers out there, i hope you find strength and wisdom to fight for what you deserve and find a way to see beyond our own thinking. May you find yourselves in a happy, peaceful relationship where positive growth happens; bringing out the best in you.
At the end of the day, who lies in bed next to you every night is not just a person; but your decision, your happiness, your future, and your life that YOU have to live with.