ARE YOU IN AN UN­COM­FORT­ABLY COM­FORT­ABLE RE­LA­TION­SHIP?

He’s a good guy who loves you, and you love him too. Plus, he’s got the stamp of ap­proval from your friends and fam­ily. So on pa­per, you’ve got a good thing go­ing. But there’s that voice at the back of your head ask­ing: Is this all there is? What if you c

Herworld (Singapore) - - CONTENTS - *Names have been changed.

The real-life rea­sons why women dump per­fectly good men.

“When I was 18, I had a boyfriend who was re­ally into shing. It wasn’t my thing, but I soon knew a lot about dif­fer­ent types of sh, and spent all my week­ends shing with him. Af­ter we broke up, I won­dered: Why did I burn all my Sun­days hang­ing out at the sh farm even though I had ab­so­lutely no in­ter­est in do­ing so?

That’s the thing about me: When I get to­gether with a guy, I al­low my­self to get com­pletely ab­sorbed into that per­son’s world. I try to like all the things he likes, hang out with his friends, and end up putting aside what makes me happy – be­cause I’m con­sumed with mak­ing him happy.

With my last boyfriend, I gave up more than I’d ever had to in life. I met him when I was 22 and nish­ing university. Be­fore we be­came a cou­ple, I had al­ways been clear about what my fu­ture would be like. I was an over­achiev­ing stu­dent who ma­jored in nance, so I saw my­self work­ing for a bank af­ter I grad­u­ated, pos­si­bly over­seas. Chris* was so dif­fer­ent. He worked in the me­dia in­dus­try, so I started try­ing to nd out more about his life and how I could be a part of it. When I grad­u­ated, we started a me­dia com­pany to­gether – even though at the time, I had three job of­fers in nance, in­clud­ing one from a rm in Hong Kong. I turned them all down for him. Me­dia didn’t in­ter­est me, but I saw this com­pany as part of our fu­ture. Con­cerned friends ques­tioned if I was cer­tain about giv­ing up my plans. “You worked so hard in school, and now you want to give it all up?” they asked. I pushed it to the back of my mind. I could al­ways go back to nance, I told my­self. Start­ing a fu­ture with Chris was more im­por­tant.

At the start of the re­la­tion­ship, I was happy and com­fort­able. Chris was per­fect – he was car­ing and or­gan­ised, he helped with the house­work, and he cooked our meals. This is it, I thought, he’s the one. Our lives were so en­twined. Out­side of work, we spent a lot of time with each other. We got two dogs to­gether, and he even asked my dad for per­mis­sion to marry me.

Two years into the re­la­tion­ship, things started to take on a dif­fer­ent com­plex­ion. I be­gan to ask my­self: Do I re­ally want to marry this man? I loved him, but I strongly felt there was a void in my life that I needed to ll. It got to the point where I would wake up in the morn­ing to nd that ev­ery day just felt the same.

Still, the thought of leav­ing terried me. I won­dered what would hap­pen if I didn’t nd some­one else bet­ter suited to me. How would I an­swer to my par­ents, who thought Chris and I would get mar­ried? Af­ter all, there was tech­ni­cally noth­ing wrong with Chris. These thoughts plagued me so much, I stuck it out for one more year.

The cat­a­lyst came one day when Chris was sup­posed to come home early from work so we could have a movie night to­gether, but even­tu­ally was hours late. It was while I was stuck at home wait­ing for him that it struck me – I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life wait­ing for him as he pur­sued his dreams, while mine were indenitely put on hold. I texted him and told him we had to talk when he got home. Telling him that I loved him but needed a break was the hard­est thing I’d ever had to do.

Ul­ti­mately, our goals were too dif­fer­ent. He needed to travel fre­quently for work, and I wanted a sta­ble, cor­po­rate life. We were hold­ing each other back. So I told him we should aim to be our best selves rst. I wanted to get started on my own goals.

At rst, my mum didn’t un­der­stand why I broke up with Chris. She kept ask­ing me: “Why? He’s such a good man.” But even­tu­ally she un­der­stood that I was do­ing it for me. I’m sin­gle now, and pur­su­ing po­ten­tial job op­por­tu­ni­ties in Hong Kong, which I’m re­ally ex­cited about.

Chris and I are still work­ing out how to move for­ward with the me­dia com­pany, and I’m grate­ful that he’s happy for me. Now that I’m chas­ing my dreams, I see that when I was with Chris, I was only half the per­son I could be. I know I can never marry some­one un­til I feel I am com­plete and whole. Rather than living for some­one, like I did be­fore, I want to be able to com­ple­ment him.”

“When I met John*, I thought he was the one. We be­came a cou­ple af­ter just two dates. Up un­til that point, I had never met any­one who made me feel so com­fort­able – I wanted to wake up with him ev­ery day. We were to­gether for seven happy years, and there was so much trust and re­spect be­tween us. John was my best friend – we could talk about any­thing and ev­ery­thing. It might seem strange, then, that this even­tu­ally be­came the rea­son I broke up with him. I knew I loved John, but I felt I wasn’t in love with him. Be­cause of that, I couldn’t see how to progress fur­ther in the re­la­tion­ship. I was only 25 at the time, so I asked my­self: What if there’s some­one bet­ter for me out there? Be­cause the re­la­tion­ship was stag­nat­ing, I started to hang out more with my friends and found my­self com­par­ing my re­la­tion­ship with those of the peo­ple around me. Even though I knew things couldn’t stay as pas­sion­ate as they were at the start, I missed hav­ing the elec­tric­ity that other cou­ples seemed to share.

Af­ter a year of wrestling with my feel­ings, I nally came clean. When I told him how I felt, he agreed that we were no longer in love with each other, but that was still okay be­cause for him, it was more im­por­tant to have a com­pan­ion he cared about and to come home to. Still, he agreed that if I couldn’t be happy, then it would be bet­ter to split up.

Ini­tially, it was lib­er­at­ing to be sin­gle again af­ter so many years. I felt I was free to do things on my own terms. But af­ter a year of dat­ing other peo­ple, I re­alised that I had made a mis­take. I felt none of the guys I met came close to John, and I missed the con­nec­tion we’d had. I had left him be­cause I longed for ex­cite­ment and pas­sion, but now I re­alised that wasn’t what I needed. That year I spent apart from John showed me that the com­mu­ni­ca­tion, trust and fa­mil­iar love I had shared with him was what I re­ally val­ued. Once I re­alised this, I asked John if we could try again, but he turned me down. He be­lieved that be­cause I’d left him once, I might do it again. I broke up with him be­cause I wanted it all, but it was a mis­take. Now I just feel like I’ve lost my soul­mate.

Since then, I’ve be­come more re­al­is­tic about love. From the be­gin­ning, John wanted a life part­ner, but I was look­ing for a lover. Now, I’m look­ing for a life part­ner as well, and I’ve started see­ing some­one who shares my view­point. I used to think that pas­sion lasts for­ever. It took a painful les­son for me to see that what’s more im­por­tant is a love that can be sus­tained.” “Mark* and I have been friends for more than a decade, but we only started dat­ing some years into our friend­ship, when I was 21. At the start, Mark was just meant to be a re­bound guy. I had left a ve-year re­la­tion­ship and wanted to have fun; like­wise, he wasn’t look­ing to set­tle down. But as time passed, it turned into some­thing more se­ri­ous. With hind­sight, it was a good re­la­tion­ship, and we had good times, but it denitely wasn’t amaz­ing. It was just com­fort­able enough for me to want to stick around.

Be­ing with Mark was easy – we went to the same school, had the same friends, and our fam­i­lies knew and liked each other. So­cially, we did many things to­gether and had a rou­tine go­ing. Even his maid helped me with my laun­dry! So even though I knew I was set­tling, and things would be bet­ter with some­one more suited to me, I was re­luc­tant to change our sit­u­a­tion. I felt things were so com­fort­able, and a breakup would only com­pli­cate mat­ters – our friends would have to take sides, and I didn’t want to deal with the back­lash. Be­sides, I didn’t have any other ro­man­tic prospects, so I didn’t see a need to break up with him.

Mark and I were to­gether for four years, but the tip­ping point was when the re­la­tion­ship be­came a

long-dis­tance one – I moved away for work, and ev­ery­thing changed. Mark felt the move a lot more keenly than I did, and be­came very clingy. He texted con­stantly, ask­ing me where I was, and it be­came clear to me that I wasn’t miss­ing him as much as I should be. We had a lot of ghts, and keep­ing up the re­la­tion­ship felt like too much ef­fort to make for some­one I wasn’t sure about. Even­tu­ally, I started see­ing some­body else.

I think peo­ple tend to grav­i­tate to­wards com­fort­able re­la­tion­ships, be­cause it’s nice to have some­one who’s there for you, and whom you can trust with­out ques­tion. But now I see that in the fu­ture, I also want to be with a per­son who’s more out­go­ing and open to try­ing new things. With Mark, I would sug­gest new ac­tiv­i­ties like go­ing to a mu­sic fes­ti­val, but he never wanted to go. In my next re­la­tion­ship, I want the same level of com­fort I had with Mark, but I also want some­one who’s keen on keep­ing things ex­cit­ing.

So in the end, it was a bless­ing that I went over­seas. If we had bro­ken up when we were in the same city, with such in­ter­twined lives, our re­la­tion­ship wouldn’t have ended prop­erly – I would have been tempted to go back to him. It was only when I built a life away from him that I re­alised I wanted more than what he had to of­fer, and that gave me the courage to walk away.”

Her1W8o4r­lHdeAr uW­go2r0ld17Aug 2017

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