Romantic relationships have always been the chink in my armor. Unlike my often impeccable taste for shoes and clothes, I do not possess the ability to distinguish between what I want and what is actually good for me in a relationship. My romantic escapades have almost always been a dramatic build up from sitting on cloud nine one moment, to that time when I’m curled up in a corner of my room, tears streaming down my puffy cheeks, being force-fed with Jamaican pattie by my friend Noel, both of us dissecting what could have possibly gone wrong, replaying conversations and bitter looks and singing Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You over and over and over again in my head.
But for the last 18 months, I have had a constant in my life. Someone who I would not think twice about identifying as ‘family’ if I ever needed to. Someone who has proved to me, despite my neuroses, my stubborn attempts at proving my worst fears true, my self-destructive patterns of thinking, despite my impregnable silences, that he wants to be by my side. Someone who is convinced (more than I ever will be) that I’m the best person he knows, the only girl he loves.
It took me a very long time to see through the mist of infatuation which I have gotten quite used to in my past relationships, and acknowledge the fact that I am now, beyond the shadow of doubt, in love. It was tough to convince me at first. I simply couldn’t let go of my doubts and my inability to trust anyone. A lesser man would have quit a long time ago. A lesser man wouldn’t have had the patience, nor the understanding required to sit through the skepticism and infuriatingly taunting discussions that I have thrown his way. A lesser man would have walked out of the door the first time I said ‘I am in love with someone else’ and the few more times I would repeat that before I realized I have played the fool long enough and stopped completely. More than what seemed to be his unconditional love, more than his understanding, more than the overwhelming gestures of affection, the most important thing he has given me is my faith in myself. And for that, I will never know how to repay him. Not enough pairs of ALDO shoes and accessories and Haagen Dazs ice cream will make up for the effort it took for him to pull me out of my well of self-contained gloom and show me what I was missing.
Some people will have different thoughts on love and falling in love but I’m quite sure that one can find a lot of glaring commonalities. Tell-tale signs such as:
- You think about how it must be like to spend the rest of your life with your partner and no, you don’t look at it as simply being stuck with just one person, but rather, as wonderful idea that you cannot wait to explore – together.
- Even when surrounded by attractive people, your thoughts are always with your partner and how much premium you put on his happiness – which you will not knowingly or deliberately crush by being thoughtless and unfaithful. That shows both commitment and devotion.
- Passion and fireworks remain even after the ‘honeymoon’ stage has passed. They say that at this day and age, sustaining a relationship has become such an arduous task that only a few manage to keep it together. If after all the gloss, the novelty, and the initial jolt of excitement have waned yet you still find reasons to want to be with your partner everyday, then you are definitely on to something real…and lasting.
- You make a lot of room in your life for your partner – and that includes both his strong and weak points, as well as, his peculiarities. There is also the desire to understand and compromise, both very clear indications of selflessness which will prove to be very valuable in the long run – especially when challenges start to crop up.
This is finally my adult relationship and I would die a happy woman if it were my last. In a way, it changed me by challenging me to stray away from the helix I had woven for myself. Now, it may seem to be way too early to tell (nearly two years into it and we’re still really getting to know each other) but so far, what we have is good. Oftentimes, pretty. And it does show a promise of even better things to come. Nevermind that we carry different passports, or that his skin is so much paler than mine, and how our accents don’t match up – as do some of our interests half the time. There will always be reservations, I’m pretty sure, but I have always believed that when you both want something to work and you want it bad enough, there can’t be a divide too large to bridge.