Relationships are really hard sometimes. Right now I’m feeling mad and rejected because I don’t feel like O has made much of an effort to see me this week. I feel like I keep coming back around to this same issue of not being affirmed in our relationship. I don’t know if this is a reflection of him and his energy levels or something, or if it’s a reflection of the way he feels about me. And it’s that unknowing that worries me.
I thought I saw a ghost today. Walking back to my car, I thought I saw J sitting at a table outside a cafe. I can’t be sure because I didn’t let my glance linger long but I felt a familiar visceral reaction through my body and it’s that reaction which makes me think that it’s more likely to have been him than not. Funny how your body remembers before your mind is cognisant. It knows without having to be told.
When I feel the way that I do right now about O and us, it’s hard not to compare to an earlier time, a past love. I know that I was more hurt than loved in everything that happened with J, but he was a good boyfriend while we were together. He was affirming and caring and attentive. It’s hard to have experienced a relationship where we spoke the same love language, to then go to one where I’m constantly having to translate and bridge the gaps between us. It’s not impossible, just more effort.
Every now and then there’s an incredible day that makes you laugh and delight and fall in love with life even more. Today was one of those days.
I can sacrifice study days when the alternative is spending time with friends and people I love 😊
I told O this morning that I think I’m falling in love with him.
His response? That he hopes I’ll still go to London, and that it won’t be a reason that I’ll stay. I told him that it won’t be, but also that I’m not going to live my life on hold in the meantime.
I’m not going to find reasons that will make me feel better about the way he responded. I think that it’s obvious he doesn’t feel the same, and that’s okay – if he’ll eventually feel the same later on. The scary part of him telling me that I still need to go to London regardless is that it seems to suggest that he may never feel the same. Maybe he’s just with me because he knows there is no future, that he’s safe from being committed because I can’t honestly expect that.
I went into this knowing that I would very likely be leaving next year, and I’m fully aware of the potential heartbreak that I might have to deal with if that happens. But I still want a meaningful relationship, even if we know that there is a potential end date. I want to date as if the future didn’t exist, and now is all we had.
This idea of moving to London next year looms over my life and casts a shadow on everything that I want to do. It makes me feel like I should put my life on hold, that this is just an interim period before I leave. I resent that. I’m here now, and I want to live in this present.
I feel the generation/ cultural gap between my mum and me widen into a chasm whenever we talk about relationships. The way she dated when she was my age is so different from the way I date now and I think we’re both aware of that. I feel her self-consciousness when she tries to relate to me and my love life. What begins as an awkward navigation through questions about me and O, becomes underhanded insults towards me.
Why does he like you?
Maybe he’s just trying you out for the time being?
I know the undercurrent too well. When I was little, my mum would warn me of my friendships with people who weren’t Chinese – they don’t understand us, soon enough they’ll reject you, best to stick with people like us. Now that I’m older, I know that this is her projecting her fears onto me. She did this then and twenty years later, she’s still doing it now. I know that this is an expression of love (in a way), her trying to protect me. She’s worried that O will eventually reject me but all I get out of conversations like this is that I’ll never be enough.
The other day I saw this meme that said immigrant parents were tasked with survival but immigrant children get the privilege of seeking self actualisation. I really love my mum, she is the strongest woman I know and I will never know the extent of the sacrifices and resilience it took to forge a new life in a foreign land. Maybe the way to bridge the gap is to remind myself of this – that my parents are fearful because of their experiences and the fact that I’m carefree is a privilege that’s come from a sheltered upbringing, which my parents gave me.
Weddings make me feel in love.
Tonight I went to a Sofar Sounds gig with O. It was really lovely.
The last time I went to a Sofar Sounds gig was with J, and I did find myself thinking about then, and how it is now. I’m okay with that, and I think it’s probably natural to do so – natural to have experiences and think on past similar experiences. I was a little anxious about tonight, knowing how in love I was the last time, and how that made the evening that much more special, being able to enjoy it with someone you really care about and who really cares about you.
I guess in a way, the same could be said of tonight. I am extremely fond of O, even if the feelings aren’t as obvious or showy as they were with J, I think there is a great depth of feeling that I could have for him and each day draws me deeper and deeper into those.
Maybe that’s why I felt a peace about tonight that I didn’t expect to feel. I thought this evening, being back in a similar space, would trigger me to lament over that past relationship but instead, it made me feel more at peace with my current relationship. I keep worrying that the feelings and the passion with O doesn’t match what I had with J, and thinking that this must mean it’s less than, or that something’s missing. But it doesn’t.
I’m learning slowly that love and like take different forms – sometimes it’s hard and heavy, other times slower and softer. Neither bad, just different. Tonight was still special, made all the more so by being able to share it with someone who I really care about, and who really cares about me.