Staying Single For A Year: Him, And The Fear of Falling in Love

January 22, 2017

My recent impromptu solo travel was timed with the day we broke up, coincidentally. The day I touched down from Taipei, it was exactly a year since we broke up. It's been a year yet the memory of him haunts me till today. The faint smell of the cologne he frequently uses. Something he once said. Rainy days that remind me of the times I felt at home in his arms. The things he did that frustrated me. Him, all of him. 

A year changes a lot of people. I'm glad I can at least say that I'm proud of my change. I turned from dependent and clingy to independent and self-sufficient, introvert to extrovert, depressed and insecure to optimistic and confident. My bubbly personality started drawing people to me; while I've been attracted by a few of them, my fear destroys the slightest inkling of any saga seeds planted.

The past year, I found time to daydream about love and write about falling in love but I never found the courage to develop feelings for something else, much less fall in love again. It has been a constant challenge of taking one step forward, two steps back.

I built walls around, hoping one day someone right can break them down. But I push away anyone who attempts to go near my walls. I freak out and recoil whenever someone starts getting a little close. Every relationship is a risk — one which I dare not take anymore, all because I know what love can do to someone.

I recall all the tears I cried. I lost my appetite, my passion, my drive. I remember how absolutely shattered I was. I couldn't even write and writing was all I ever knew of. I went through self-destruction periods that I'm ashamed of. I made people upset, friends who love me were constantly worried for me, and I couldn't even respect myself at the end of it. I lost my dignity and people who waited for my fall were laughing at me. Love can build someone up only to utterly shred a person's life and tear that person down in the end.

My peers think I'm successful now. I seem to be always on the go, exploring new cities, making new friends, loving my colleagues, enjoying my job, earning an above-average salary. I guess on the outside, I look like I'm doing better than a lot of them. Inside, there's an existing internal conflict, a struggle within myself. Look, I'm happy on my own, but some days it gets lonely.

I preach a lot about loving yourself before you can love someone else. I've done that. I love myself and I'm finally my own person, so I think I'm ready. But every time I meet someone new I connect with, I doubt his intentions. I grow suspicious of him. Is he here to stay or will he leave eventually, destroying the everything that I built up? I have too much to lose this time — everything I painstakingly built up the past year. Too much. I can't let that happen again.

I'm terrified of love because I saw what love did to me. I'm afraid to fall because falling means giving someone the opportunity to hurt me yet trusting that he won't. Trust? I'm scared of trusting someone, because trust means I'm vulnerable.

Sometimes people ask me when is it my turn to begin loving again, and sometimes I ask myself the same question. Everyone settles down eventually. My blossom friends who went through the same break up period (or as they call it, break up season), have moved on and found new love. Some of them twice. Yet here I am, still having commitment issues.

Someone told me I'm not ready for love because I'm always travelling. When I'm finally in Singapore, I'm planning my next travel or buying plane tickets. I'm never around and nobody can love someone who isn't even there.

What people don't understand is that once you fall in love with someone — once you've really loved that person — you're simply no longer the same after. When I lost the guy I loved to the best of my ability with my entire existence, I didn't lose a shoulder to cry on — I lost my shoulder to cry on, I lost my safe haven, I lost his arms which I called home.

So I seek solace in travelling. I'm searching for a place to call home. I want that familiar sense of belonging again. Until I find something remotely similar, it's hard to stay in a city where I'm always reminded of the hurt and the pain I went through. It's no longer just about him — it's the relationship, the entire toxicity of our past relationship, that wrecked me. Over and over. And the fact that I allowed it to.

Travelling solo is a lot of loneliness for a chatterbox like me but it gives me a breather. Away from the hustle and bustle of life in Singapore, travelling allows me time to reflect on my life choices, and think about how am I going to move on from here because I can't be stuck forever.

Letting go is accepting that you're not meant to be. Moving on is much more complicated. Moving on involves forgiving, healing and lastly, feeling completely indifferent about his existence. Only then can you love again.

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  1. You, yes you, please, please don't ever feel that you're alone. To have went through a touching heartbreak, is something that I've never felt before. Like you now, I've not let myself open up to any one person for the same fear as you do. You know, life just plays with us this way, to lose the one person you thought would stay, for good. What else can one do but accept such reality, remember it and move on in life.

    Where you find yourself in traveling, will you then find the happiness you well deserve. There's nothing better than going out exploring and going on adventures to seek oneself's worth and purpose.

    I climb mountains myself and I find them all liberating. To me, life is the same as trekking in the mountains. Starting from the bottom where the peak seems far and unattainable, walk on. Walk on with thoughts on reflections in life of what took place and those to come after. It may be an arduous and long journey ahead to conquer but eventually summit. There will bound to be days whereby you feel down and out with all the elements coming at you but that's the beauty, coming out the end of it all fine and in one piece, telling the tale after. Without hardships, there will be no unique remembrance to each experience in life. And everyone of it all enriches life altogether. To summit the end is liberating, having yourself to conquer a huge milestone set in front of you. But that's not the end, no one said reaching the top is the end, where there are ascents and descents up, there's also descents and ascents down. All these little ascents and descents serve as a reminded in life that without ups and downs in life, there will be no thrills to make life complete. On your way back down, eventually, you'll find your ultimate happiness that's awaiting for you, one who's worthy of all your time and attention to settle down for.

    At this very moment, you're at the top and still taking in the views, the smell of fresh air from above and not yet ready to take a step backward and leave the beautiful view in front of you. But soon, you will. And by then, you'll meet the love of your life.

    I've been through some stuff myself and this is what I hope you'll receive at the end when you take the first step down the peak, down the mountain:

    Dear you,

    I hope one day, you'll meet the love of your life, the man of your lief who would do anything to keep you. And when I say anything, I mean anything. Anything but money. May he be the one who would always be by your side, to wipe off the tears off your face and assure you everything's going to be alright. May he be the one who makes good of all his promises to you. May he be the one who would surprise you at the most unexpected moments just to put a smile on you. May he be the one who buys you flowers and make your day. May he be the one who's ever afraid to lose you to consider each and every action he takes to have his thoughts about you.

    Because, to love someone, is to love her for who she is and not what she is despite all her flaws. To love from the bottom of his heart and to never lose sight of you, never lose faith. Because, Love On, Love Hard. If not, why love. Love with all you've got even if it's silly to others. If love isn't the biggest take away in life, then what is?

    I hope all the best for you. And may we meet again like how we did, twice, in one night last year. This time, I'll talk to you when I see you. As for now, do what you're best at and do what you love. When you do, love finds you.

  2. One day, you'll learn to love again <3