Scrutiny

In 2013, if you had told me that my dating life would go this way, I would have laughed at you and said that you were just picking out a page from my Diary of a Girl Who Loves Romance Novels.

The last time we saw each other was when he had to go back to his home country. That was at the tail end of 2013. Fast forward to September 2016, with break ups and fights and getting back together-s in between, we finally saw each other again.

I don’t want to get into too much detail because of my fear that he’ll accidentally find this blog for some weird cosmic reason but what I can share was that we had a wonderful time together, an amazing dinner and an assurance that the chemistry that we shared when he was here has not gone away.

If you’ve watched Before Sunset, then that is pretty much a close resemblance to what happened that night.

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It was extremely awkward at first. Extremely. So awkward that all I got was a handshake, to which my spontaneous response to that was, “Seriously?,” before he grabbed me into a big hug. I think what broke my heart a little was that when I started pulling away, he just kept on holding me for a split second longer.

Eventually, we started talking and it never stopped. We just went from one topic to the next and the next thing I knew, it was late. He dropped me off, we hugged again, I went in the house and realized that we didn’t even take a photo with each other during the dinner.

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It was difficult for me. Mostly because I don’t know if I’ll get to see him again and whether this was a goodbye for us. It’s easy to be a hopeless romantic and say that love will win. But the thing is, we’re never really sure, are we? We can wait for someone but it doesn’t mean that you’ll end up together eventually.

And as all these confusing thoughts play around in my mind, my life is suddenly under a lot of scrutiny due to the photo that was taken of us before the dinner. Suddenly, I find myself having to respond and react to random people who are quite inquisitive about us. It’s probably due to the fact that prior to this, not a lot of people knew that we were in contact. I’ve made sure that I kept it as quiet as possible especially due to the fact that everyone seems to have an opinion of what should happen.

I wish I could say that the comments have all been positive and supportive. Of course they weren’t. Some were, but most tend to lean towards the, “It’s a waste of time,” and, “You’re not giving local guys a chance,” variety. Of course, as much as I would like to say that I was able to block these comments out, some did seep in through my subconscious. I had to take a week or so off from him to reassess the situation again, to regain my bearings and to ask myself what I’d like to do for my own life.

We’re good, him and I. For now anyways. And that is all that matters. This distance is hard. But I think we’re beginning to realize that what’s harder is letting go of someone that just gets you. Despite the fact that there are so many people out there who are against it.

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Opinions Are Not Facts

One of the lessons I learnt the second time around was the importance of not sharing too much about your personal life with your friends. Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? If you can’t trust your own friends and their opinions, then who can you trust? They are the ones that know you best and they will be the ones who will be able to tell you what is right for you, uh, right?

Well, not necessarily.

Each human being is different. It is what makes being a part of the human race special. Although a person could have a majority of similarities, no two people are alike, no matter how long their friendship or relationship is with each other. Although a person may be the best point of reference for the longest time, sometimes, especially when it comes to relationships, advice from friends may either be the best or worst type of blessing. Or meddling. In some cases. When people can’t seem to stick their noses out of your business.

The reason why I had to express this is mostly due to the fact that I was bombarded with a slew of questions last week about my situation. Granted, when it is long distance with two people of different faiths, it invites a lot of curious questions. I honestly don’t mind questions. But what I do mind are comments that begin with, “He should,” or “Why isn’t he?”. Especially when my answer to those questions and comments will begin to sound like justifications.

The thing is, no one has the right to question the nature of your relationship when the parties involved have nothing to complain about. Every couple has their own way of handling their own relationship. Maybe some couples like to talk a lot and are extremely affectionate. Maybe some couples like to talk less and are somewhat less affectionate. What may work for one couple might not necessarily work for another. It is not what the public perceives as normal but whether the two individuals are having their needs met by each other.

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to handle the questions that I am not comfortable with. Personally, I understand when people feel that they need to know especially when on paper, it just seems like it should not and cannot work. However, when the innocent questions begin to turn accusatory, it is no surprise that most people will choose to simply not talk about their relationships instead.

So trust your gut. That feeling you have in your heart and in your belly that might go against what everyone says? Learn to trust that feeling and hold on to your convictions. Pay attention to what the universe is trying to tell you because once you do, you will learn to be at peace with your decisions and actions and you will realize that you really do not have anyone to answer to except yourself.

Differences

EleanorPark

Eleanor and Park is a book written by Rainbow Rowell. It talks about a relationship between a popular Korean boy, Park, with a socially awkward plus sized girl, Eleanor. It’s a beautiful book that manages to capture just how beautiful first loves are and yet is able to highlight just how difficult interracial relationships are regardless your age.

When I read this book, I had no idea or inkling that I was going to be involved in such a complicated situation. I’m not going to talk about my relationship specifically because let’s be real – I need to get over this relationship and talking about it over and over again is not going to help. However, I also believe that every experience has taught me something and maybe I could share with people out there just how unsettling it is for those who were or are involved in an interracial relationship.

1. The first thing you will notice is the stares. You’ll receive stares from everyone. While you’re walking, while you’re standing at the escalator, while you’re laughing at his jokes or while he’s playing with your phone in public. Stares. Stares. Stares.

2. The cultural miscommunications. If you’re from the same society, maybe the miscommunications will be less. But if you’re from different continents, it becomes a struggle, especially through text messages when you’re in a long distance relationship. Sarcasm can be a nightmare. It’s a whole different ballgame if the both of you are bilingual or multilingual and you have to use another language as your mode of communication.

3. Religious beliefs becomes an issue. For everybody else. The ex and I were very aware of the differences in our religious beliefs. I’m a practicing Muslim who wears a hijab and he’s a Caucasian who doesn’t necessarily believe in god. Especially with what has been happening around the world in the last 15 years, it’s no surprise that on paper, we would not match up. But something happened. He kept approaching me, kept wanting to get to know me and eventually things just…happened. And the thing is, both of us never talked about our religious differences. It never became an issue. He let me practice my faith and respected it. Maybe that’s the reason why we eventually broke up but that’s not my point. My point is everyone around me told me to address the issue first. Everyone around me was addressing the issue. And eventually it became too much.

4. Everyone will have something to say. And I mean everyone. Even your closest friends will have not so good comments about it. You gotta learn to just turn everyone off and shut everyone’s criticisms off because at the end of the day, it’s you and your partner. People are entitled to their concerns but they shouldn’t have the right to dictate how your relationship should be because who says there’s a set structure for what your relationship should look like?

5. People are convinced that your kids will be super cute. Uh, ok.

I’m sure that there are more issues but I didn’t want to get too in-depth about it. To be fair, I didn’t have to go through a lot of the challenges because of our long distance. But maybe it’s the long distance that also contributed to the end of the whole thing. Whatever it is, to anyone out there who is in an interracial relationship, you guys are amazing. For those who were in one, hey, at least you were able to experience a special kind of love that not a lot of people have had the opportunity of experiencing!