Sunday, 4 May 2014

Not Love, Actually

I feel like I am in the middle of a love hurricane.  Everyone around me has issues with love. 

The Brother
My brother, to whom I´d  give my kidney, my liver, my aorta, my eyes,  and everything I own without hesitation is going through a terrible heart break.   It´s so bad that even though I am a continent away with a seven hour time difference,  I am constantly on Skype alert, talking him through his sadness and his crying bouts.   It is so bad that we have urged him to seek professional counselling so that all the other emotional baggages from the past can be treshed out and he can be whole again. 

His relationship with T is a complicated one.  T is separated but  is still legally married.  And there´s a child involved.  We of course accepted the girl and kid with open arms.  My mother, after going through so much heartache, is one who accepts everyone.  Walang masamang tinapay for her as long as she sees that the person loves her children, okay agad sa kanya.  But  the girl my brother loves is young, smart and has something to prove to herself.   Having married young,  perhaps she also wants to  enjoy the freedom of  being only accountable for herself and her kid, to not depend on anyone else  for their happiness.  I do understand her  completely so I cannot, for the life of me, get mad at her for deciding to break things off with my brother.  The reality is that sometimes we break things up not  because we no longer love the person, sometimes it's just a matter of choosing your goals and dreams above all else, loving yourself more than any other person.

The Virgin
A  thirty-something friend, in her bid to finally  lose her virginity,  have  bravely  hooked up with some guy from her  apartment building.   So I asked her the questions:  
Is there any chance of it developing into love?  
Nah, I don´t think so. He seems to be in it for the bootycall lang.
 But  what if you fall for him?  
I will stop before that happens.  This is just for experience.  
Aaaah, so para prepared na pag dumating na ang true love, ganun? 

She tells me:  Alam ko naman ang dapat gawin eh.  Siguro one month pa.   

I comment:  Oh sya sige, bilang gusto mo naman yan, sige magipon ka muna ng experience.  But take care and be prepared to get hurt kahit na ba sa ngayon eh  sa tingin mo eh for experience lang yang ginagawa mo.

The Friend
She´s actually the most down-to-earth  Pinay engineer I know.  She´s  close to a decade older than me but  the past few weeks we´ve gotten quite close  and we have swapped life stories.  And listening to her I realized one thing, all women, no matter how wise,  fall for the same trap every time.
Her story is like a template for what not to do if you don´t want to get hurt in the end:  A few years ago she had this crush on a co-engineer.  Turns out this co-engineer  was the only one who speaks good English  in their team so they interacted frequently and before long  became friends.  The guy, in true Spanish fashion, is muy simpatico;  kind, helpful and easy to deal with.  So of course, she liked him even more.  So, she narrates, it really began when I asked him if we can use his car to go to Ikea because I had to buy something big and of course he agreed.  Then when he dropped off the item at my  house, late in the evening, things happened.   “At first, ayaw ko pa nga eh.”  So yeah, they became  “friends with benefits”.  It´s been close to three years and the situation´s  still the same.  

One time, she shares,  he surprised me.  He came to my flat at 2 AM!  I told him, you are drunk.  He said, not too much.  Syempre I offered coffee no.  Pero nahuli na ang coffee!  And I could see  that really, she likes the guy.  She takes all the little sweet things that he has done for her and ties it into a necklace of affection.  I ask,  Did you ever tell him that you really love him, ate?  
Yes I did but he said,  dear this is enough, I do not want you in pain.  So okay lang, pero sa isip ko, “ Matututunan mo rin akong mahalin!”

At this point, I have to say, that those writers for teledramas  who propagated these lines should be shot for  inculcating these godawful lines to every  Pinay woman out there.  See how these are imbibed so easily even by those whom we expect to know better?

Now these two friends of mine are highly educated, successful engineers who have travelled the world and  are confident in all other matters.  They´re articulate and vocal with their opinions and yet  they fall into the grayness of  these not quite  love but pwede na rin situations. And can one blame them?  I´ve been through a similar path a long time ago, and I usually credit my youthful impulsiveness and immaturity for these bad choices.  But at thirty something, and forty something, with all their accomplishments why would women settle for these kind of set-ups?  And  what do we say of the men who enjoy the free booty calls and take full advantage  of the no commitment just friends thing? Is there something, a gene, societal pressure, an innate insecurity that makes us women accept such unequal status in relationships?   

How many times have we heard these lines:  “Mamahalin din nya ako balang araw”,  and in the process  you turn into a true blue doormat,  giving  it all,  including your best acrobatic performances tapos in the end, malamang hindi ka pa rin pipiliin.

Because, let´s admit it.  The truth is we take for granted those that we can easily get.   How can you ever expect a guy to suddenly look at you  in a totally different, lovestruck  light when you are always at his beck and call?  Chances are you will just blend in the background and he will only run to you when he needs you or he has an itch to scratch.

Funny, because in a fit of lucidity, I made a pact with myself.  I am ready to go back into the game .  Enough of the ice queen and aloof and shy persona.   I will no longer stare back blankly  at people who show interest. I will fake my smiles until it becomes natural again to smile at strangers.  I´ve had it with being  mailap sa tao.   I want to go back to being the bubbly person I once was before all those heartaches (romantic and otherwise)  triggered my personality shift.

But yes,  there are caveats to being open to new experiences.  Us women most especially, should be wary of going into situations where we will be at the losing end.   I  still think  that men still want to hunt and pursue. even if they will certainly accept  the cherry on the cake if it were offered to them.  But remember,  being the uncomplaining doormat/slave to his whims will not be the reason for them to choose you,  because really, why would they  go through the hassle of turning your relationship from just friends to seriously dating when they can get away with enjoying the perks without any strings attached?

So this piece is really for myself,  a written reminder, and also for women out there who are single and who might be tempted to take whatever comes their way.  Let´s be careful of the relationships we go into.  Hope is good, but it is futile when in the face of your hope, the other person is thinking  that what you have is not love, actually.

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