They don’t get it

laelene Posted in relationships,Tags: , , ,
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When some people found out that Panda and I will have Skype on as we go about our normal business, they didn’t understand it.  They asked me what the point is and they found it to be weird.  Obviously they don’t take the same comfort that I do in just having him around (in whatever form required).  I don’t believe that conversations should have to be staged for a certain period of time just because you are on a phone or meeting with each other.  That works for those you don’t get to see much.  But for someone you’re dating, it’s just not enough.  Plus, it’s much more natural to have spurts of conversation based on what is happening in real time, rather than condensing everything you want to share into a few minutes a day.

So what better than to sit on Skype, being able to check in on each other and see what the other is doing?  I mean, it’s as close to being in the same room as you can possibly get when you’re (thousands of) miles away.  And really, the best sort of interaction is in person, so I don’t see why more people wouldn’t want to sit around video chatting their loved ones.  I guess part of it is my inability to relate to their need to keep things from their significant other.  It’s a common theme among the talk I hear about relationships.  Why do people have so many secrets to keep?  While I understand you don’t always want to share everything, I certainly never feel the need to hide things and Panda actually errs on the side of sharing too much.

I love being able to look up from what I’m doing and see how he is when I am unable to actually be with him.  I like the freedom of being able to come and go and not have to continuously call him back or disrupt his routine.  Apparently other people just like to have their lives to themselves, but me?  I like to have Panda around as much as possible.  That’s why I keep my Skype on.

Not your average

laelene Posted in relationships,Tags: , ,
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Well, Panda and I have been going through some tough times so I wanted to take some time to celebrate what makes our relationship beautiful.  We’re not your average couple…  He is not afraid of domestic work and I am not afraid of manual labor (or bugs :-P).  I do not expect him to be the bread winner and he does not expect me to raise the kids mostly on my own.  We are not afraid to show emotions to each other and cry.  We are also completely comfortable with each other’s bodily functions, though we may tease each other about them at times.  I don’t see a reason to conform to society’s standards and censor myself with him.

Then again, I guess a lot of that is sort of the traditional sexist type of relationship.  Many modern relationships are not restricted quite like that, but still I find myself grateful for what we have when I hear about others’ views.  When the guys at work talk about their girlfriends/wives spending $400 on a purse, I gawk like they’re all insane (which they are).  I can’t fathom ever spending that kind of money on a purse, or shoes, or clothes.  Then there’s the engagement ring of $10k+.  What?!  At first the ones I liked were a few hundred.  Then I started to look at nicer ones in the $2000-5000 range and that’s where I’m at.  Why spend more?  It’s a waste.  Panda will never have to worry about saving up crazy amounts of money so I can spend it all away.

Another thing that struck me was when the guys were talking about going to events without their significant other and being able to enjoy themselves more that way.  I can’t think of a single event I don’t want Panda to come with me to.  In fact, many a time I’ve opted out because he didn’t want to come or was unable to.  The first thing I think about is how much fun I’d have if he could come.  Not how much fun I could have if he didn’t come.  That concept was foreign to me and the events I do go to alone, I am missing Panda the entire time.  Of course, I still do what I can to enjoy myself, but it would be infinitely better with him there to share the experience.

We are also perfectly honest with each other.  Cheating, abusing, breaking up – these are all things we’ve discussed before.  We will do everything in our powers to prevent these atrocities, but we recognize we’re human, we’re not perfect, and it’s possible it could happen.  Our open line of communication might sometimes be too open and feelings get hurt, people get offended.  Nevertheless, we accept what is the truth and work with it.  Things aren’t always peachy, but we aren’t giving up.

Perhaps the problem is actually that our type of relationship is NOT the standard.  I sure think it would help lower the divorce rate since you either wouldn’t get married in the first place, or work through your problems and stay together for it.  People can do with a lot more trying and a lot less giving up.

Alone

laelene Posted in relationships,Tags: , ,
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I spend much of my time alone with my thoughts, and to fill the air with something other than those thoughts floating around, I like to watch videos online (either TED.com ones or some TV show that isn’t airing) or play games.  But sometimes, the quiet of the night catches up with me and I begin to anticipate the day when Panda has to go to the east coast for work and I really will be alone.  Then I will no longer have someone to look forward to seeing at night or on the weekends.  It’ll just be me and whatever apartment I eventually end up living in.  Maybe I’ll start Facebooking again, or maybe I’ll spend more time on this blog.  Maybe I’ll even get around to reading more books.

By the time I get home from work, it’ll almost be time for him to hit the sack, so most of my nights will be void of his presence.  I suppose I could try sleeping earlier and working out to kill some of the time, but the rest of it… well, I wonder what I’ll do with myself.  The good thing, at least, is that I know that the anticipation of it is far worse than actually doing it.  After all, we’ve been through this before – and back then, we were still so fresh in our relationship.  Now we’ve solidified some things and really made room in our lives for each other.  And at least this time around the place he’s going isn’t as inaccessible as Singapore was.  There is no $1000+ plane ticket standing between us.  Just one for a couple hundred bucks, maybe even only in the double digits if we get a good deal.

It just sucks sometimes, having that sort of a void at night, when he’s busy doing something and I’m sitting there, bored of all the games I’ve been able to find and tired of watching video after video.  Then what do I do?  There is no Panda to share my day with and talk about random things with.  I hope I find a place with a gym, so I can fill my time with getting in shape.  I guess I’ll also start to figure out where the local library is.  Then again, I do have some books at home that I’ve been meaning to tackle for awhile now.  I hate when I get to thinking of what I’ll do when the time comes though.  That’s the hardest part.

Cautionary advice

laelene Posted in relationships,Tags: , , ,
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For the past couple of days I have not been the best of moods with my mother.  Time and time and again, she has spoken about relationships in a way that make me feel like she is critiquing Panda when she knows nothing about how our relationship works.  To her, she is giving me advice to forewarn me of many issues that can crop up so I am aware.  To me, she is just doubtful of this relationship being a good one and working out the way that I expect it to.  And so, listening to her talk about it always makes me grumpy, because it is not like that, he is not like that, and I am certainly not like that either.

It started with talking about my place in his life.  Am I his priority or would he put his career potential or parents ahead of me?  In trying to illustrate his cautious nature, I mentioned a time where he asked if his job potential would be hindered by me.  My mom read that as him not sure if I am important enough to give up a better job for.  She also assumed that just because I consoled him and said that it wouldn’t happen, I didn’t ask him what he would do if it did. Though I didn’t directly ask him, since then we have talked about many issues that have shown me all that he is willing to sacrifice, or change, for me.

A similar thing goes for his mom, who is hugely protective of him – would he let me get in the way of their mother-child relations?  This one I’ve asked directly and he has promised that there will be a point down the line when I become the most important woman in his life.  I don’t need that yet, but certainly I won’t put up with deferring to his mother forever.  I have also clearly indicated my complete lack of interest in having our parents live with us.  Live near?  Sure, but not with.  I value my privacy and independence far too much for that.  I just hope that she will not try to be around all the time and can be content with certain weekends or afternoons/nights.

My mother said that you don’t have just a relationship with someone; you have a relationship with his family.  And though that is probably true enough, I’m not willing to stop trying if the family proves to want very different things than me.  However, she seemed to insinuate that any man who has a clingy mother should be stayed away from.  Far away.  I think it’s completely unfair to curse a guy for how his parents might act (and might is important here – after all, there’s no proof they’d be clingy in the future).  Though your circumstances often dictate your personality, it doesn’t have to.  Not all kids growing up in tough neighborhoods become criminals, just as not all kids growing up in affluence become successful.

I know my mom means well in the end, wanting to make sure I’ve thought of all of these “what ifs” and glitches that can tear a relationship apart.  What she doesn’t know is how well we’ve handled things.  Communication is still very much open and though we approach life differently, we share many crucial principles.  Many things have already been discussed and we know where we stand with them and for the more unpredictable things, we’re willing to work together and compromise.  Perhaps it is just because my mom has not had a chance to understand how maturely we handle our relationship, but right now her advice falls upon annoyed ears.

Life stages

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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I was recently found on Facebook by an old middle school friend, which then prompted quite a discovery journey for me.  She and I only have two friends in common since she’s new to FB, so I went to check out those profiles too.  One of them was my best friend from those St. Louis days, who I haven’t heard from in years.  I stopped by her profile to find that she’s engaged!  I still remember the days when her parents were still so overprotective that they wouldn’t let her sleep over at a friend’s house until she was about 12 or 13 (my house was her first sleepover, and probably only because we were a Chinese family too).

She got engaged on Halloween - how cool! photo credit: her FB

She got engaged on Halloween – how cool! photo credit: her FB

From there, I was checking out a bunch of my other friends’ profiles and so many of them are engaged, married, or are starting families!  It’s really amazing to remember them the way I do as young teenagers and look to see what their lives are like now.  We’ve all grown up so much.  I guess it’s such a shocker for me because I never watched them grow up and my last memory of these people was in middle school, when we were still in our awkward phases.  It’s wonderful to be able to see where they are in their lives now, from planning a wedding to starting their careers.

I think the 20s are the most exciting years, what with many educational, personal, and professional milestones concentrated in that decade of our lives.  It made me think about how each of us is reaching a different stage in our lives – from those who are still finding their way to those who are settling down.  I think marriage and children are still more rare in my peers right now, but in another decade, that landscape will likely change drastically, with the opposite true.  It’s fascinating for me to see the type of people each of ends up with and the lifestyle that we fall into.

Ah, the rings... I much prefer silver to gold. photo credit: katargonza.com

Ah, the rings… I much prefer silver to gold. photo credit: katargonza.com

I know for sure that if I had not moved to California, my life would be immensely different.  One thing I’ve noticed was that my Asian friends from years past (which totals to a mere three) have all settled with Caucasian boyfriends/fiances.  I always thought I’d end up with one too, and more than likely would have if I hadn’t moved to SoCal, where the density of Asians is much, much higher.  Our surroundings play such a huge role in how our lives turn out, from the things we encounter to the people we’re exposed to.  I wonder if the environment in the Midwest and out East had anything to do with their decisions to get married at this age.  Maybe it’s just my sentiment, but I’d rather get my career underway first and that seems to be the vibe on the West Coast.

Nonetheless, I am intrigued to see who is married, who is engaged, who has a kid, who is still dating, and who is still single.  I don’t know why I find it so interesting, but I love going to people’s profiles to see their relationship status.  In fact, this prompted me to start going through all my friends to see what they have listed.  Other than the few who are married or engaged, I will likely forget the rest, but it’s still fun to explore.  It’s also a nice update, since some have changed their names and initially I was quite confused by their new surname.  I’ve never really thought about it, but when I did, I realized that I am far too attached to my name to just change it like that.  Panda’s ok with that (yay), so I can rest assured that I didn’t buy my domain for nothing.  😛  It’s still weird to think that the kids will have a different last name though.  I hate hypenated names though, so I’d rather they take his than try to do some awkward combo (unless we’re allowed to do some hybrid spelling?  o.O).

So, where are all your friends at?  Where you thought they’d be?

A bit of a loner

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Growing up an only child, constantly on the move, and often home alone, I’d say I can be a hermit of sorts.  At home I’m used to holing up in my room, for the first half of my life reading books and for the second half spending time on the internet.  I’ll spend the entire day there, taking breaks only to go to the bathroom or go grab some more food from the pantry.  It’s a lifestyle that I think a lot of people don’t understand, either because there are too many people in their households or their parents didn’t offer them as much space and independence.  But for me, what is normal is to do my own thing.

My mom will call me for dinner when it’s ready and I’ll make my way downstairs when I’m ready, usually after my parents have finished eating their meal.  We’re not ones for small talk, so they’ll continue on with their lives, my dad sometimes flipping on the news and my mom burying herself back in her study material (she’s always teaching herself something new or playing with AutoCAD).  We have a very nontraditional family unit and I think outsiders would often see our relationship as cold and distanced.  I don’t know how to convince them otherwise (nor do I want or need to), but that’s just the way it is.

white hp laptop

Just me and my computer.

I get all the support I need both emotionally and financially.  When I need help or advice on something, I can go ask and though we’ll often disagree, there’s much to be learned from that.  As for money, I hardly spent any as a child, never really asking for toys or new clothes.  All I wanted was to be driven to the library on a weekly basis so I could drag a new stack of books home.  At one point, I wanted video games, but they refused and I didn’t pursue it very frequently so eventually the desire faded.  In my senior year of high school, I started to drive and since then my habits have changed quite drastically, where I am much more in charge of where I go, what I do, and what I buy.  I still try not to spend much, but I do splurge here and there and my parents are always there to help me pad my bank account if I need it.

Panda and I have talked about the type of family we would want and I think it will be much more cohesive.  I image going to the park on a weekend or wandering around some new part of LA.  It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with my family; it’s just that when everyone is busy with their own things, hanging out for no good reason seems a waste of time.  So yeah, I’d like to have a lot of time to do things together, but I hope that when it comes time for the kids to leave home and go to college, they won’t feel tied down.  I don’t want them to feel like they need to come back on weekends all the time.  I chose to go to a college near home not because of the proximity but because of the university itself.  I want that to be the case for my children too.  There comes a time when you need to leave the nest and start making a life for yourself and college is definitely a major transitional period where that starts to happen.

buffalo walks along side of road alone

A bit of a loner.

Lately I’ve found that my immense independence and solitude is not “normal” and I think it can be seen as being aloof.  To me, it’s leaving people alone and being left alone to do what we need to do.  Unless there’s actually something to talk about, trying to find things to discuss feels like a waste of time to me.  So I thought I was doing everyone a favor by staying out of the way.  Well, when I was told that that’s not what they wanted, I started to greet in a less timid manner, began coming up with follow-up comments or questions, and would occasionally make my way to the living room and watch some TV together (even though I have no interest in TV).  All the while, I wracked my brain for things to talk about.

At the same time, I was terrified.  I don’t know how to approach people who I perceive to be in a position of authority (teachers, bosses, parents) and even when they are extremely open and inviting, I proceed with caution.  I think much of this fear held me back and created a lot of self-doubt in what I was doing and what I could do.  I knew I needed to somehow be more talkative and interactive, but I couldn’t think of interesting topics.  Perhaps it was because I felt that everything had to be so meaningful and profound.  It seems that small talk isn’t like that though – so much of it is really just mundane stuff, isn’t it?  And everything is quite repetitive – what you ate, what you did, how the weather is – and really doesn’t change all that much.

I also stopped myself from trying to talk much when the TV was on or trying to enter a room if the door was closed.  Those are signals of “leave me be” in my world, so I respected that.  Yet, other than that time, there were not really other windows of opportunity.  It’s either nobody’s there, they’re in the room, or they’re watching TV.  Well, it seems that there has been discontent because of the lack of interaction, so I decided to give it a shot.  I sat there and tried to make conversation for 45 minutes, with many pauses and much of the time spent looking at the tennis match on TV.  A couple times, it was suggested that I go rest or that I must have other things to do, so I should go in the room and go on with it.  I didn’t know if those were just polite refusals as a gesture that it’s ok if I don’t stay or if they were a subtle dismissal and an attempt to get me to retreat to the room.

guy puts face into handSigh, everything is so complicated when it comes to relationships.  I’ve got no experience in this realm and it is kicking me in the butt.  Even when I ask what is going on and what thoughts and feelings there are, I get no answer.  It’s such an Asian thing to do and perhaps I am too Western in my behavior.  To me, it’s about sharing feelings and talking it through.  But I guess it’s not so easy.  There’s so much that is taboo in the Chinese culture.  I wonder if this is the case,where even asking will not help yield an answer.  It sure seems so because so far it hasn’t.  I know I have a lot to fix but I don’t know what exactly and, more importantly, I don’t know how.  I feel utterly powerless and useless.  Boy do I have a headache.

Lost in a sea

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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You know when you stick your head in the clouds and get lost there?  Then reality hits hard and you don’t know what to do.  Well, it’s not so dramatic for me, but today was very insightful and may lead to some drastic changes in how I thought things would be.  Ever since I decided to come to Singapore, with so much hope and optimism, I have set my mind on one goal: starting an enterprise with Marylin in LA.  In coming here to immerse myself, I was going to learn what I could and take that back with me to help me build something that would eventually bring her over as well.  Even though I knew it wouldn’t be that easy, we had high expectations and lofty goals.  And there we were, floating, with me taking a wonderful ride on Marylin’s typical train of daydreamy thoughts.  For awhile, we dreamt together, of what we could make of ourselves over there.

Feeling a little lost?

Feeling a little lost?

Then, with months of the real thing, we’ve found that it’s not so easy to work together, live together.  At one point we even joked about how it would be like we’re dating.  And truly, I feel that it would benefit us to treat it as such.  At least if I communicated with her the way that I communicate with Panda, things wouldn’t have gotten to this point.  Alas, when there’s no romantic affection it’s just not the same.  Part of it is that we were still in the honeymoon part of our friendship, where everything was flowery and beautiful.  Now that we’ve spent so much time in close quarters, it’s getting to the point where things have lost their glow and we must face up to the challenges that are bound to occur in any relationship.  But of course, me being the type of person I am, everything just gets bottled up and though I’ve mentioned it here and there, it’s never really been addressed.

And so, I slowly started to notice the rift that was growing between us.  There was not so much hostility as rigid civility.  Not being much of a talker in the morning when we’re going to or arriving at work, I didn’t really mind.  I’m not a morning person at all, so all the exertion in the morning would be bound to wear me out.  It was only more recently that I started to notice we didn’t have much to say to each other at all, ever.  Part of that was due to the sudden divergence in projects that we were working on, but much of it really came down to that divide that had developed.  Additionally, we’d go our separate ways at night, only seeing each other again many hours later, as we were winding down for the day and getting ready to crash for the night.

When I concentrate on something, I really like to give it my all, because it’s not often that I can get into the right groove at the right time.  I get distracted easily, from the music that is played to the comings and goings of other people.  So, when I’m in the middle of something and Marylin gets back, I like to keep that focus.  And by the time I’m ready to ask her how her night was, she’s already on her laptop or out chatting with her parents.  I tend to miss the boat a lot.  There was one precious night recently that she came home very pleased with dinner and we had a warm exchange about that.  But other than that, at night we just don’t talk, because there’s so much going on in the cyber world that it’s hard to keep up.  Then of course, I also spend a lot of my time talking to Panda because whenever I see him, my mood brightens (and who doesn’t want that?).

So there’s definitely been some strain on our interactions, where we chose to avoid each other.  Though there have been many a moment that I tried to convince myself to approach her to say, “Hey, we need to talk,” I always talk myself out of it.  I just keep internalizing everything I think and feel.  Well, today I was having a chat with Starfish and she brought up how people have noticed the change.  That opened up the doors for me to share some of what I’ve been feeling.  She had apparently already heard from Marylin on the issue, so we were brought together to discuss.  From that, I know I’ve got a lot to work on in my… “areas of improvement.”  I have certainly not been the person I am capable of being while here and I’m still trying to figure out why.  So we aired out some of our grievances and got a chance to hear how our respective behaviors have been affecting each other.  Mostly we need to communicate more (and more openly), but, BUT, we also need to figure out if we have a common goal anymore.

It looks like plans may be changing yet again, which is not wholly unexpected, but I got so focused on the goal, that dream that was just out of my grasp, that I didn’t stop to think too much.  Ironic, since I tend to think too much.  But this was something I was doggedly pursuing in my hopes.  Forget all practicalities.  It was something I embedded into my mind and framed everything I did here in the context of.  I evaluated every single task based on how I could do it in LA, how I could make it work in a city like that.  It’s reminiscent of my younger days, when I decided I was going to be a businesswoman and get an MBA.  “But what are you going to study in college?” people would ask.  Oh.  Right… I had inadvertently skipped a step in my lofty ideals, forgetting that detail.  That you can’t get a Master’s without a Bachelor’s.  So then I set out to plan my college career and I guess I thought that this would work the same: have a destination, then figure out the details.

However, setting up a business (or even an extension or a branch of it) is far less straightforward than choosing majors.  It’s even more complicated when it’s overseas, you’re alone, and there’s a huge time difference.  So what now?  I don’t know.  It’s time to look closely at my fantasy and let it fade away to some sort of a reality.  I’m confused, but I know this much – I’m staying here for the rest of the duration to continue learning (and work on getting more involved in everything).  I’m not a risk-taker when it comes to my professional life when I should be, or at least more of one.  After all, what great entrepreneurs didn’t take risks, didn’t stumble, didn’t fall?  Though I know all this in my heart, it’s still hard to convince my logical brain that it’s worth all the struggle.  And really, I just don’t want to have to live off my parents, so they can do what they want with their money and not worry about still supporting me.  Maybe I will need to for awhile, to find my footing and understand what it is that I want from this life.

Reaching out

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , ,
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I’ve never been one to ask for help.  Even though the people around me have been more than willing to do so, I grew up so used to doing things on my own that it doesn’t even occur to me to ask much of the time.  I have learned to be an extremely resourceful person and therefore, I love to share all the things I discover.  Yet rarely do I turn to my family and friends to ask them for their opinion or input on something.  Instead, I take the “I can do it” attitude a bit too far and miss out on the opportunity to bond with them and make them feel useful to me.

This is something I’m working on changing so I can allow myself to rely on others every now and then.  But it’s a hard thing to do, placing trust in someone else when you’d much rather just do it yourself.  It’s hard to resist the urge to hop online and find the answers I need on my own.  I realize I’ve missed out on a lot because of this, from time spent getting help on my homework so I wouldn’t waste so much time not getting it to relationships that didn’t deepen because I didn’t open up very much.  It’s a slow process to break this instinct to plow through piles of information to get my desired answer, rather than to interrupt a conversation or approach someone to ask them for their wealth of knowledge.

One great thing about my fraternity’s mailing list is that we can share with each other all sorts of information and ask for help if needed.  That is one of the few places I’ve ever reached out to ask for others’ opinions, thoughts, or knowledge.  Even then, I much prefer to help out whenever I can and share my experiences and expertise.  I think it’s wonderful to have a network like that that I can tap into whenever I want, it’s like having friends who never leave you, even if you hardly keep in touch.  I’m more used to maintaining relationships that are far less maintenance than traditional ones, where the closest people to me only talk to me periodically, typically monthly or less.

So, now with a boyfriend who I can’t go a day without talking to in one way or another, I’m starting to learn more about maintaining relationships.  Though it’s difficult to remain close to people when everyone is moving about all around the world, there are still plenty of ways to stay in touch and remain updated on each others’ lives.  I’m also trying to keep track of who is doing what, who is good at what, who likes what, etc. so I can tap into that in future, whether by asking for help or offering an opportunity.  I don’t know how quickly I can change an age-old habit of self-sufficiency, but to feel more in touch with people, I’ll try to make the effort.  Perhaps getting around to replying to all my facebook wall posts will be the start!

Love in midair… the ups and downs of Valentine’s Day

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , , , ,
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In the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d include a cute thing Panda and I came across today as we were wandering the windy roads of Bel Air and driving up and down Mulholland Drive trying to find the best scenic overlooks.  The plane continued on to spell something like Mio, but we lost sight of it, so I never did figure it out.

As for my post-Valentine’s Day report, all in all it was a most splendid day, starting at the painfully early hour of 8 and lasting until midnight.  We got a delicious dim sum brunch before wandering the roads and discovering some random places.  We hung out for a bit before heading out to Santa Monica, where we were going to have dinner.  At first we tried Benihana’s, but the wait was two hours!  -___-  So, we went over to Buddha’s Belly instead, where they told us it was a 45-minute wait, but we got seating in no more than 20.

I love that place because of its chocolate fondue dessert platter.  The food is always interesting and has a fresh taste I’m not used to, since it’s an Asian fusion type of place.  They have the coolest plates and bowls too (and I, ever so easy to entertain, am immensely amused by this fact).  Following that, it was getting late, so we headed back towards campus to hang out some more.

In the morning, Panda had given me a card that I wanted to read when we had peace and quiet alone to enjoy.  So, sitting together at night, I opened the card and he read it to me.  It was seriously the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.  He had managed to find a card with a really long quote that described his feelings for me wonderfully.  Then, his message was so eloquent and heartfelt it made me cry (with joy, of course).  It was the best end to a spectacular day.

Now that I look at this picture, I realize I should have taken a panoramic picture to share the immensity of this valley.  This is the view from the Bel Air Presbyterian Church, looking out on the San Fernando Valley.

When I got home, I found an e-mail from Katana, outlining her contrasting experience: after painstakingly preparing gifts for her boyfriend to present today, she got the ultimate letdown when he didn’t even remember the occasion.  It’s a sad thing when one person cares so much and the other puts in no effort.  For such a memorable day, my Valentine’s was nearly just as dismal.

You see, last weekend when I was visiting Panda, I tried casually asking him what he was doing this Saturday – he was headed home for the long weekend.  Crushed, we then spent the next hour or so talking about why I was upset with him.  It’s not so much that I need to celebrate the holiday, but I did want to see him and it hurt when it seemed like he didn’t even bother to think about it.  Had I not asked, I may very well have been alone today, moping at home.

So, though I had a fabulous time, it didn’t come without a fight.  I often need to give Panda a little push (or big shove) in the right direction for him to get a clue as to what he’s supposed to do.  No, I don’t ask for gifts from him and yes, I pay for my own meals.  I’m not into material things; I much prefer his time and attention.  Then there are things like these where the consideration should at least be discussed, but he just doesn’t seem to understand that it’s important to me.  I mean, it is an internationally recognized holiday after all, whether you like to celebrate it or not.  Doesn’t that at least deserve a mention?  Sometimes it amazes me how thick-headed guys can be.

I suppose this is something I should get used to, always throwing out clues and hinting about what he should be doing and resorting to outright telling him when he doesn’t pick up on the signals.  Successful relationships need good communication and it seems that extra effort is needed when it comes to this particular area.  It just would be nice if he could figure it out on his own and surprise me (like he did with that card) a little more often.  Perhaps he’ll learn with time…  When it comes down to it though, it’s like he said – we will work together and work to understand each other.

Marriage: a broken institution?

laelene Posted in general blog, relationships,Tags: , , ,
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I’ve gotten the feeling that Millenials are jaded by the idea of marriage.  Or, at least, have such high standards and low expectations that they’re rather pessimistic about the whole idea.  Call it realism if you want.  Or it may just be cynicism.

This issue seems to stem from our generation growing up hearing the sad statistics of high divorce rates.  Of course, many also grew up in such households, having to live a life in single-parent homes, bouncing between parents, and dealing with step-parents and siblings.  Perhaps that is why this generation seems so much more against marrying (especially at a young age).

Too many of our parents rushed into marriage and it either failed or they are unhappy together.  Now, I used to be deathly afraid of commitment despite no family history of bad relationships (only one relative has gotten divorced and it didn’t seem nasty), but when I found Panda, it worked.  This whole relationship thing wasn’t as terrible as I imagined it to be.  Likewise, for marriage, I think that it comes down to the right feeling.

If it feels right, why avoid it? Sometimes you’re just ready to make that leap of faith.  And that is what any relationship is – faith in yourself, faith in your partner, and faith in your union.  You need to trust yourself and your significant other to make it work.  Sure, you may be too young and inexperienced for that judgment call, but if you’ve thought long and hard, if you’ve both talked about it, and you both feel comfortable, it can be a beautiful thing.

You can never be fully prepared for marriage and all the complications that it entails.  I don’t judge people based on what age they choose to get married.  For some, it works.  Statistically, younger couples are more likely to separate, but that tends to be an issue of maturity.  If you don’t know yourself well enough and you don’t understand your partner, it’s not going to work no matter what other factors there are.

Sadly, there are a lot of practical reasons that drive couples to the altar: finances, convenience, right of kin, etc.  Some marriages are carried out due to necessity or pressure, but you shouldn’t get hitched for such mundane reasons.  After all, marriage should be a celebration of love and devotion.

So why does it seem that getting married actually tears many couples apart?  Stability.  Though it’s great to have in our lives, if that’s all you have in a relationship, it stagnates.  So many couples feel their relationship diminish over the years, if only because they know they have each other to depend on, through thick and thin.  So they stop trying.

It shouldn’t be so easy though.  Relationships should constantly be evolving and changing as the individuals do.  The moment you stop working on it, you have doomed it.  Think of it as a process rather than a goal to be reached.

Marriage as an institution needs a major makeover if it is to survive.  Though, perhaps it doesn’t need to be saved and Gen Z can come to age in a society where couples get legal civil unions.  I wouldn’t mind a secular institution that allows gay unions as well.

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