At least, I think I did. I'm not so sure. I spent the past three weeks accumulating all the reasons I didn't think that we were compatible: the fact that he doesn't read, the fact that English isn't his first language, and the fact he didn't go to university. These factors, however, cannot be analysed in isolation. They become push factors when I begin to feel their effects on the relationship, in the form of our dwindling conversation topics, the elongating silences between us when we were physically together, and my increasing concern that things would only get worse, not better, if the relationship were to continue. He was happy with what we had, but - as with everything else in my life - I wanted more. Above all else, I remembered the one thing that I constantly found lacking in all my ex-boyfriends, the one thing that unites them all: they didn't read. Not a single one of them. After I dumped Arnaud, I told my mom that I really wanted to find a guy who shares my love for books the next time around...but Wouter swept me off my feet instead.
And yet, while all these sound perfectly rational in my head, and while I think that I have made the logical decision, I can't help but wonder if I have made a mistake. He is patient, and kind, and sweet, and hardworking, and resourceful, and intelligent, and he treats me well. What if the lack of things to say is a result of the distance, both geographical and my subconscious breaking away from the relationship to blunt the force of the impact of the break up? After all, our conversations were endless in the first few months, when everything was unbelievably perfect. Maybe that hasn’t been completely lost…but Langkawi didn’t feel like before. But maybe that was because I was already pulling away.
My mind is in a mess, my heart nowhere to be found. I am flooded with memories of our good times together, all the amazingly sweet things he did for me, and I feel a dulling sense of loss, like a physical ache in my chest. I have lost someone amazing, all because I can’t accept what he is not, and they are things that have no direct relevance to his character.
I am never going to be happy. It is as simple as that. I may as well just accept it.
Apart from Mag and a mention to Mel, I haven’t talked to anyone about this. I cannot bring myself to pick up my phone and text the two or three close friends that I have about this. I cannot bring myself to open my mouth and tell my colleague/friend about this. Apart from Mag, I didn’t seek advice from anyone before this happened. I kept it to myself.
Something funny happened when I left Singapore. It changed the nature of my relationships with the people in my life. I got too used to conversing from a distance, giving and looking for support from a distance; and dealing with Wei Chuen by not dealing with him seems to have left a permanent impact on me. I stopped talking to my friends about my problems in London because the time difference made it difficult, and it was easier to text. I stopped feeling the depth of my problems when I was in London because it was too painful, way too painful, and I couldn’t deal with it – and so I didn’t. I didn’t talk to anyone about what was happening in my private life when I was in London because I didn’t feel comfortable enough, and only let two people know about it towards the end of Lent Term. I got used to not talking about my problems; I became too comfortable with keeping everything to myself. It’s got to a point where I can’t remember it being any other way, until I remember that Mag and I used to call each other on the phone whenever one of us was upset, and we would talk about our problems.
I went to London, and everything changed. I have lost my youthful ability to feel deeply, I have lost the skill of baring my heart to the people that I call my friends, and I am utterly unable to orally communicate distressing matters to another human being. Maybe it’s simply growing up and my life experiences imparting in me an exhausted wisdom, leaving me better poised to respond to these situations (i.e. without histrionics and melodrama), and London has little, if any, to do with it.
But I can almost pinpoint the exact moment I shut off my heart. I can almost trace everything back to that blurry early morning, riding the careless high of too many drinks, making a primitive decision based on primal instincts. I think it is almost certainly true that the fallout from that moment, and dealing with the fallout by not dealing with it, have led me to this point. Sometimes I feel like an android, like I’m feeling half of what I am supposed to, like I am feeling a facsimile of my true emotions. That a significant part of me finds this navel-gazing of my emotions and feelings utterly tedious is quite evidential of the point that I am making.
I don’t know what my point is. I just feel rather diminished, muted, at times like these, when I am struggling to figure out what I really feel.
I didn’t go to work on Monday. I woke up at 5.30 am, remembered what I did, and started crying. I couldn’t sleep after that, and started crying harder when the thoughts were out of control. I had a massive crying fit when my parents attempted to wake me up; and when I finally got out of bed and showered and changed for work, they triggered a shouting contest. I got back into bed and cried some more. After my mom talked to me and calmed me down, my eyes were too swollen and my head too full to go to work. And so I didn’t.
I got my period the next day. I cannot put into words how much I fucking hate what my period does to me. I hate that it makes me a fucking slave to my hormones and amplifies every single negative emotion that I am feeling. Although the sadness hasn’t gone, the weepiness and the urge to burst into tears at random moments have gone. I feel more like a person now – well, as close to a person as I can get, anyway.
I really was a horrible girlfriend to Wouter. I don’t say this to put myself down, or to sink further into some overly-indulgent self-loathing or whatever. I say it because it’s true. I am selfish, condescending and impatient. I am a shit, and I honestly believe that he deserves so much better.