Why I don't want a boyfriend yet

September 17, 2016

I don't get why is the world rushing me to get into another relationship because I know very damn well I'm not ready for a boyfriend. Why should I force myself into a relationship if I know it'll end up in a mess another time, forever ruining whatever friendship we shared? I'm not afraid of being lonely, I'm afraid of having to change myself for someone again when I don't even know who I truly am yet.

I was on the bus home from work today when I spotted a young girl with a forlorn cast on her face but her eyes, her puffy eyes, were what caught my attention. She pursed her scrawling lips and blinked swiftly, as if she was fighting back the inevitable waterworks. As she continued briskly scrolling past messages on her phone, I noted that she couldn't have been above 16 years old.

I wondered when was the last time I felt so miserable I couldn't control my tears on a public bus, bringing me back to a time not too long ago. I remember the desperation I felt as I went through the messages on my phone as well, willing him to speak up, wondering why things went haywire and what have I done wrong.

I fought back my tears only to choke and end up wailing even louder. I refused to eat anything for days and sat in my office shivering from the hunger. My gastric pain was the only way for me to feel alive — all I wanted was to feel pain from somewhere other than my heart. I cried while my colleague briefed me about our next campaign.

I must have looked like a mess but that was the least of my concern. It's none of those I'm an independent woman who needs no man stuff — it's the memories that keeps me from entering another relationship. Some of my friends have even started labelling me as a commitment-phobe.

"Aren't you scared?"
"Of what?"
"Being left on the shelf."
"Yeah, of course. Who isn't? You know... I think we all want someone we can rely on. I'm scared of not ever finding the right one to spend my life with, but I'm even more afraid of wasting my life with the wrong person."

Don't tell me to repeat these to you when I'm old — I rather be desperate in the end than waste decades of my precious life trying to love someone wrong for me. Emotionally beaten and scarred, at this point, I'm only questioning myself repeatedly. Love? What's love? I thought I knew the world, only to find out that I merely scrapped the tip of an iceberg for this four letter word.

How can I love someone else when I can't even love myself? How do I care about someone else when I'm lacking that care towards myself? How can I expect someone to accept who I am when I can't even do the same for myself? Love should be unconditional — how many guys out there can provide me with what I'm looking for?

I guess this topic is pretty apt for the day too, considering that my superior from Hong Kong and I just exchanged stories on our ex-boyfriends. That's one of my favourite parts of my job — interacting with people around the world and learning from the perspectives of another culture and nationality. She asked what kind of guy am I looking for now that I've been single for some time and the seemingly straightforward question baffled me a little, surprisingly.

Truth is, I'm not actively seeking anyone right now. I grew to believe that love happens when you least expect it to. I don't want to desperately hunt for someone to love me because I think love will come when you're not seeking. Silently. Naturally. Faintly. Gradually. You don't have to force things. Someone I spoke to even likened it to waiting for cabs in Singapore — when you are desperate for it, you can't even spot one. When you don't need it anymore, there are thousands of cabs in every corner.

This is a new revelation to me. I've been dating non-stop and hopping in and out of relationships for the past six years and a friend, whom I recently reconnected with, even asked several times if I'm dating anyone before commenting that he's not used to me being single. Me too, buddy, me too. Hahahaha. I guess numerous things have changed since my last relationship — I loved too hard and in turn, learnt so much. About me, about love, about what I need VS what I want, about letting go and moving on.

After years of being attached to the hip with someone else, I think it's time for me to venture out on my own. Like a colleague once commented, it can get lonely at times, but I think this is for the best. I see this as a journey. To discover new things about myself. To learn what is love, how to love, when is the right time to love. To love myself more so that my next boyfriend has the best version of me to love.

Here's one to my colleagues who made me realise it's more important to love myself before even attempting to love anyone else.

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