» Happily Never Afters
  • Happily Never Afters

    Jan 10th • Posted in love, personal, writing

    While I am formally still deciding what the hell I want to do with this blog, I did want to copy and paste a response I wrote via Medium to a Thought Catalog article that I read.

    So, here it is, I guess. (Original can be found here: https://medium.com/@christalei/happily-never-afters-d8c3c864f055)

    Happily Never Afters

    Not everything is possible with the right person.

    Courtesy of laughingrhoda on flickr.

    Sometimes things get in the way: timing, ambition, yourself.

    Note: This is a response to Koty Neelis’s article on Thought Catalog.

    I tried to take the love of my life home with me on the first date— and grew frustrated when we parted with a half-assed hug and an awkward kiss on the cheek. Five months later, we stay up until six in the morning to Skype with each other because it hurts that we’re away on the holiday season in our respective hometowns. Our relationship is new, but built on our mutual respect and understanding of each other’s fundamental strengths and weaknesses. Despite our different backgrounds, we know and feel strongly in our hearts that we’re the right people for each other.

    I’ve dated enough wrong guys (including false headstarts into the future with people that I believed were the “right” ones) to know that I’ve found the right guy for me. For the most part, easing up on strict standards about type and rigid checklists is accurate. No, he wasn’t my normal type and no, when I met him, I wasn’t in any position to date. But we felt a connection we couldn’t deny and jumped into a relationship despite the obvious risks and chance of heartache. He’s my best friend, my partner in crime and the love of my life. He makes me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt, and manages to do things that seem insignificant, but mean so much to me. He communicates honestly, comforts me when I’m down, but knows when to back off and leave me alone. We love each other so much that we can’t stand to be away for longer than a day. (Seriously, take a look at my credit card statement: it’s full of impromptu Lyft rides back and forth from each other’s houses.) But love, even when it’s with the right person, is not always enough to keep a relationship going. External factors can threaten to harm parts of a whole.

    Recently, my boyfriend and I started to have a serious discussion about our future. At almost eight years my senior, he is at a different place in his life. I’m just starting to get a leg up on my career, and he already has one. He’s from a country that is notoriously difficult in regards to immigration, and his entire family still lives there. While he loves me, he also misses his parents and the life he left back in his homeland. Until I came along, he was adamant that he would settle down back at home. Before he became an important fixture in my life, I told myself that my studies and a promising future in medicine were my top priorities. And to some extent, a lot of these things are still true: bits of him want to be back at home, and I’m toiling away in a post-bacc program that will hopefully bring me to where I want to be. For our individual futures, as it stands, our lives work together. I’m open enough to moving wherever medical school and residency will take me. He can go back and forth as often as he wants. However, when we bring our priorities and lives together and look at the future realistically… things look difficult.

    I won’t explicitly divulge all the reasons that our future life together might be difficult— but it is something that he and I have to face together. The first time we brought bits of the future into conversation, we were idealistic in the belief that things would work out because we were both so open-minded about the future. But when we took a closer look at things, the reality of our situation set in and it quickly became apparent that our own priorities took precedent over our relationship.

    But that brings me to my point: Life happens, shit gets in the way. While I’d love to believe in a world where being with the right person automatically means defying all the odds— that doesn’t always happen. Being with the right person also means putting aside parts of “us” and focusing on “you” and “me.” Many people don’t realise that being with the right person merits a balance between prioritising your needs and your partner’s needs. It’s why there are so many people in unhappy relationships. They would rather stay miserable together than realise that maybe, just maybe, the other person isn’t giving them what they need anymore. With the right person, staying together isn’t a necessity— it’s a choice. I choose to be with this person because I know in my heart, it’s what I want and need in my life right now. It’s the reason I constantly tell my boyfriend that he is free to leave whenever I’m not giving him what he needs anymore.

    I guess what I’m saying is, not everything is possible with the right person. Hell, sometimes you just get to a point where everything else consumes your relationship and you grow up realising that you want different things. That’s not a bad thing, it just means that the timing and your priorities were wrong. Or, perhaps, the person may have been the “right one” at a certain time but now he/she isn’t. You certainly don’t enter a relationship knowing when it will end. (Unless you’re one of those masochists who enjoy jumping into a relationship with a deadline — though don’t let me knock you, no judgment. I’ve done it myself.)

    Yes, sometimes, I cannot help but feel like my life and my priorities are a burden to his future. Instead of making concrete plans, he wonders where he wants to settle down, and even when that will happen — often with a tinge of wistfulness in his voice, yearning for the land he left. But that fades away when we look at each other, or when he holds me in his arms. So, we’ll keep on making plans for the future. We’ll keep on exhausting our options until we compromise to the best of our ability. As long as we’re together and we’re happy, that’s what matters. Every choice we make in the present will eventually determine our future together, so I’m optimistic that we can make it work. But if it doesn’t, I take comfort in the fact that at the very least, I was loved by someone who loved me back. Rest assured, he loved me and he was the right person; but maybe it wasn’t the right time, right place or the right situation.

    But damn, we tried our best— didn’t we?