A while back, my boyfriend and I decided to break up. On the outside, we were a perfect match: we knew each other so well that we can predict what the other would do next, our quirks clicked, and we have seen the worst of each other yet chose to love one another in spite of, and because of that. But we imploded. Resentment crept in like termites and ruined the foundation of our relationship. Our pride blinded us, making us forget to pull each other back when we drifted away. We were both broken, and we picked up what was left of our relationship and decided to rebuild separately.
It was a good breakup. I comfort myself in the fact that it was his time to go. As a minimalist, I believe that we should only keep the people and things that have purpose in our lives. His purpose was to teach me things I needed to learn. And because I learned them already, he had to go.
Here is an essay I wrote about our anniversary. I found it after I reinstalled Evernote on my phone. I never got to publish it, but he was a wonderful influence in my life, and I wanted to share how he changed my life for the better.
Here it is:
This week, I celebrated something special. I just had my first anniversary with my boyfriend. Anniversaries in general are special, but what makes this one even more special is that it is my first one ever.
In my very colorful dating life, beginning when I was 12 years old, I encountered hundreds of men. Some I gone on dates with, some I exclusively dated, and some I entered a relationship with. Not one of them became a meaningful relationship that reached one year. The longest relationship I was in was with B. Our five month relationship was ruined because of E, his ego.
The reason I never reached this one year mark is that men can’t stand me. At first, I charm them with my humor and wide range of interests. Later on, I can’t seem to charm them with my paranoia, temper, and mood swings. I guess R, my current boyfriend, managed to stay with me because he’s a project manager for a global tech firm and he’s dealt with difficult people. I haven’t asked how he would rate my difficulty, but on the eve of our anniversary, I thanked him for not calling the mental hospital on me. For his part, he thanked me for not killing him in his sleep.
Another reason why my relationships have a short shelf life is because I have commitment issues. I would get incredibly restless, my curiosity going past my current situation, always asking “what if?” Looking back, the advice to chase my dreams was the worst thing to tell an impressionable boy who had many dreams. Until now, I still harbor dreams of working as a decorator or in the foreign affairs department.
I can’t seem to commit to anything, whether it’s a boyfriend, a job, a pet, or even a houseplant. The longest job I held was for The Philippine Star, and only because it was a weekly thing and I wasn’t required to go to the office. After that, it was my job in human resources, where I worked exactly a year. The day after that anniversary, I moved to public relations, a job which was several months in the making (I kept backing out of the application until I forced myself to just go with it). And even when I got my dream job as a stable writer, I quit after ten months to pursue publishing. And now, I’m back in PR.
I can’t commit because I’m too curious. I’m always wondering what’s out there, what things I can discover and try. I felt that things tie me down, which is probably why I prefer to be a lone wolf, exploring forests with only my instinct to guide me. I was single for almost four years that I became unable to form relationships. I dated two guys and I didn’t know how to act because I’ve been alone for so long.
My notorious inability to commit reached its peak when, during the time I was trying to develop a green thumb, I killed a succulent, a plant known to withstand harsh conditions. That’s when I learned that even succulents can’t stand my level of indifference.
I don’t know how I reached this anniversary. Maybe it has something to do with age. Maybe I want to finally settle down. Maybe I’ve tried everything I wanted to try, or I probably realized that there are things not worth risking. Suddenly, I have a job I feel will last a while. I have a little garden with flourishing greenery. I also have a cactus in the office and it’s growing well. And of course, I’ve been with R for a year.
A large part of me reaching this is because R is wonderful. He has the patience of a devout Catholic, and indulges my tempestuous whims. He has somewhat mastered my moods, or what we jokingly call my personalities. It’s a feat, considering I am his first boyfriend. I add color to his serious life and in turn, he is the voice of reason, of logic when I am getting carried away with my thoughts, like a captainless ship in the middle of a storm. I have attempted to break up with him many times, and I have hurt him in the way I am good at, with words, but he still soldiers on, believing that this will work. And I believe him because he is smart and because I love him.
I still am a wolf. I’m still curious about many things. My mind still wanders and I often ask myself, “what if?” I still explore uncharted parts of many forests, amazed at the different trees, animals, and fruits I discover. But somehow, things are better when you’re with another wolf.
I guess I’m back to being alone.