STEP 1 What to Do When Dealing with Broken-ness…

When you hear of someone struggling with hurts and broken-ness, what do you do?

My blog – which possibly has 100 readers(YAY!) – has brought me new friendships and some old ones have resurfaced as they share their pains and trials with me. I’m glad my stories have opened up some.

It’s not something I expected but it feels good knowing my journey has helped. And while my journey, like all ours, are very different, the emotional roller coaster ride, the suffering, the hurts, the anger…it’s all there. It’s the same. Just different.

I was thinking what new entry to make that would be practical and REALLY help. So I prayed for guidance and I finally decided(I’m still thinking the name as I type this…) it would be helpful to be a WHAT TO DO kinda entry on different topics. So here goes.

STEP ONE  – Dealing with Broken-ness

  1. Knowing the Situation

It depends WHEN you are aware of the situation. 1st sign is a feeling of heartbreak. For some of us, it’s a physical pain in the heart, for others it could be just deep deep sorrow and inability to think properly.

For me it was a long time coming. Mebbe Year 5 into my marriage? I’m not sure still. Coz it dragged on. But when it fully registered in my brain that this was it, my marriage was really coming to an end(after 18 years), there was a deep deep sadness and shock that THIS WAS IT. Things were going to change. There is fear. Coz with the unknown there is always fear.

Sometimes you stay in a situation – called the Status Quo –  coz you just feel it’s more comfortable even if you don’t like it and it hurts you. I guess I did. For those 12/13 years. It has a numbing effect.

Once you know the situation, that’s when acceptance will slowly set in. It won’t come right away, but it’s the first step towards it. There are 7 Stages to Grief but will discuss that later.

2. Find Someone to Talk to

This is very crucial. I find that bottling it in is a sure-fire way to a very bad depression. It’s especially hard for men to share and wanna talk. But if you don’t have a close trusted friend, then it’s best to seek a Counsellor. Just talking things out will put some things in perspective. Unload your burdens, your grief. Keeping it in is disastrous for your well-being.

For me, it helped me to journal as well. Journaling was my healing process. I know that now. Especially coz in that state of shock, your memory seems to go haywire and I did my journaling more so that I would also be able to capture things I was worried I’d forget.

3. Find a Support Group

We are truly so blessed in the Catholic Church to have support groups. I was blessed that somehow during my time of grief, without any attempts to look for help, the Beginning Experience popped up in a church bulletin (in a church I seldom frequent mind you), So I went.

Shortly after, there was publicity of the first time in Singapore Catholic Divorce Survival Guide programme (now called Surviving Divorce) which was established in USA. So I was in the pioneer batch.

There is nothing like being amidst others in your situation. Strangers become best friends coz of the shared trauma and crisis. It helped me tremendously to put things into perspective hearing other’s plights and realising my situation could be so much worse. I could see some small blessings. That in itself, is pretty wonderful.

4. Get Focused

Getting focused is the toughest part I find. When your mind is all over the place, when your emotions are like a roller coaster ride where you can be crying like crazy one minute, then suddenly you feel like a crazed lunatic who can hurt someone the next. Ya, it’s time to focus all that energy.

For me, it was easiest to focus on my kids. My top priority was ‘How do I tell them? How do I help them get through this?’

I told someone recently when I saw her at breakdown point, ‘Do what you feel you need to do for yourself.’ You see, sometimes, especially for us women, we wanna do everything. We are mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, colleague, driver, cleaner, nurse, teacher….we burn out. When I started to feel my mental health was steadily on the decline, I knew I needed to have some Time Out.

5. Nourish your Mind, Body and Soul

I went for a vacation – some kinda retreat – just to spend time with God and to take stock of my life, and rediscover Who I Am. I felt I’d lost my identity in trying to fit into so many roles. Taking stock is necessary. It’s not about planning the future. It’s about looking deep into yourself, your heart and soul to pick yourself again, to start to know who you are again. Part of that process also includes liking who you are. And if you don’t, to change to wanna like yourself.

I had forgotten all the things that made me happy, that drove me to get excited. All my hobbies and my interests like writing, crafting, sports had been put aside. Even just getting a pet – coz you couldn’t last time in your marriage for whatever reasons – could make a difference.

The most important thing is also Self Care. We are at risk of forgetting to nourish our bodies in our state of sadness and anger and pain. If we fail to take care of our own health, it’s harder to take care of others, especially our children who will also be closely watching you and depending on you.

I lost 3 kg in my first month of separation. It was like ‘Wow, there is something good that came out of this!’ Coz the previous year, I was trying so hard I joined the Lose To Win programme. It took me 3 months to lose 3 kg(triple the time). Believe me, it’s not. It’s never good when you don’t feed your body, don’t get enough rest, don’t nourish your soul. I saw my body like a plant that needed the sun, nutrients and happy surroundings. So I was grateful for friends around me rallying to make sure I was nourishing myself and taking care of me.

Once your body is nourished, you can start focusing on the next steps…which is the legalities, the change in living arrangements, the practical things that may be the last thing on your mind. But it needs to get done.

6.  Start a Gratitude Journal/Jar 

The simplest advice I’d give now is to start a Gratitude Journal or Jar. It’s really simple. Every day list at least ONE thing you are grateful for. It could be your dear friend who called you to check on you, or your little one jumping into bed to wish you good morning…anything. Even that your plant bloomed a flower.

It matters. When you start thinking of the blessings you have all around you, you’ll realise how God loves you and is watching closely over you, even sending his Angels to make sure you’re doing ok.

7. Call on your Guardian Angel

Your Guardian Angel is with you always. Each of us has our own. You just need to ask for help coz your Angel can’t interfere unless you ask for its help. You may even see little signs around you making its presence felt. It could be a feather, a butterfly or just someone turns up unexpectedly with a message you needed to hear.

Angel in Disguise (with lyrics)

Take a look at the ordinary, don’t need to look for Paradise. You could be next to an angel in disguise.’

Step 2 in my next entry.

 

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Today I turn 49

bday
I now need a nap…at my age 🙂

Half a century. Almost. How did this happen??! In a blink of an eye, I have to accept I am no longer a young sweet thing (I was lah!) but an Auntie with 2 grown up sons.

I’m being rather nostalgic and soppy, thinking of how my life has been. Reflecting on what I’ve done, how much I’ve achieved, what more is in store for me….coz I could jolly well live to 86 based on Singapore’s longevity charts.

I’ve been bombarded with so many birthday messages via Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, social media modes. My whole morning has been occupied with answering and giving thanks. It’s lovely. I feel loved, I feel blessed with friendships and family. My life is good. I am eternally grateful for all the wondrous things I do have in my life, even if I don’t have a complete family with a husband to boot(I think that means to ‘show off’ and not to kick away 🙂

I had TWO phone calls this morning to send me birthday wishes. No one wants to pick up the phone these days, they’d rather text. It’s still nice to hear a person’s voice ya?

So, one was from a dear galpal, my source of spiritual wisdom and guidance. D told me before I hit 50, I should start planning what I wanna do. Every month leading up to the big FIVE-O. Well, that’s a really nice thought. I’ll think more about this. There is SOOOOooooOO much I wanna do. The reality is whether finances allow it. But not everything is about money.

I’ve come to realise that I am where I am coz of all the setbacks I’ve encountered in my past. My personality may not have altered too much(has it??), but my maturity and wisdom sure has. I don’t trust people so easily. By nature, I always want to give people the benefit of the doubt. But someone pointed out to me, as we were getting to know each other, that if I can’t even trust someone I was married to for 18 years and not really know him, what hope is there for any future relationship with my doubts. OUCH. So, I humbly put aside my hurts, my cynism and told myself ‘Truth is, if an asshole wants to be an asshole, there is no changing the ass.

So there. My perspective for life now is ‘Go out, take chances, explore what life has to offer…just don’t be stupid.’ And for that, I’m grateful for my circle of wise friends who care about me to make sure I sure as heck don’t do stoopid.

I was reading about women falling into online scams, losing money. How?! Ok, one never understands how clever the scammer can be or how naive the lonely woman can be. I admit to also kinda falling for this guy from an online dating app, talking daily for 2 months. It was intense but I started getting a bit suspicious when he kept delaying his return to Singapore and kept having some ‘technical work issues’. The minute he asked for financial help, that was it. I dropped him like a nuclear bomb. And he had the gall to be upset with me!!!!

I intend to do more research on how skillful these scammers can get and why women do end up surrendering money. Help me and pass me contacts or ask your friends who’ve gone thru it to get in touch with me k? Some may be too embarrassed to share, let alone tell you about it, but I promise anonymity.

Back to me.

I just wanted to end this reflective post about how I’m grateful for how my life turned out. If you are going thru a lot of hardship and crap now, let me reassure you with this: ‘The bad never last’. Things really do get better. It’s also up to you. For me, I think it’s all about trusting ONE PERSON and that’s GOD.

My life has been awful at some points. I survived it. Sometimes you feel you can’t, but you just do coz your body is built that way. It adapts. But you pray for strength and courage always. God provides you that. He will also provide you the support you need. Angels will be sent in the form of friends, family, strangers. Look out for them and take it in, accept what is given, be grateful, be humble.

That phrase ‘There is light at the end of the tunnel’. It may sound like bull$%&# now to you but it’s the Truth. Do your bit to get outta it. Start by helping others in worse places/positions than you. Believe me, there are many in more crappy positions than you. Your situation is never as bad as you think coz you still have God, a home and people who love you. Just reflect on your blessings and don’t overlook them. Every small thing you can be grateful for, look up to the Heavens and give thanks.

And with that, I wish myself a very very blessed Happy Birthday. With loads of cake!!!

49 bday cake Continue reading Today I turn 49

Love Remains

 

After my last entry, I felt I needed to write a more positive and upbeat take on love and marriage.

When you are a survivor of a divorce, you tend to get cynical on marriage. Friends have told me it’s impossible to love one person throughout your lifetime, that marriage is an institution created by religion.

I beg to differ. I look at my own folks in their 61 years of marriage and I know that in spite of their differences, their strange communicative methods, that IT IS possible. My mom has mild dementia and I think their relationship is even stronger now. I observe how my dad talks and shares things with her, she listens and asks an occasional question, and I feel their love has grown to this level I never saw before. It’s better. It’s a co-dependency that’s sweet.

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My galpals in their marriages of 20, 30 years are proof that loving one person all your life is possible. In fact, it’s the most romantic thing, in spite of all their grievances about their spouse, I know there is deep love. There’s tears, there’s sweat, there’s joy, there’s pain…throughout it all Love Remains. So says the song.

I marvel at their tenacity to hold on to their marriage and make it work. Of course, the difference is that the couple talk out their challenges and both WANT to make it work. Some of my galpals had to walk out of the home to prove their point to their husbands, coz everyone has that break point. That is scary when it happens. It’s like a great threat but thankfully it woke up their man.

What I know pulls them back is their faith and God. When both Husband and Wife are strong in their faith, there is a way to work things out. Prayers are a good way.

A marriage teaches us that love is not all apple pie, lovey dovey and smooth sailing. Love is EVERYTHING. The crap, the muck comes along. Marriages are always put to the test. I think that’s the Devil’s way to break down society. Start with the family, the bedrock of society.

How we as individuals survive that test is the key factor to whether a marriage holds. When a couple goes through a crisis, that’s when it’s truly tested. It could be a death, a financial set back, a health issue, an infidelity. Whatever it may be, when both want to stay strong together and support each other through whatever, it is when that love is tested. Temptations will happen all the time, that’s why prayers are so important. Why God is important. There is no stronger word than Faithfulness. And with Faithfulness there must also be Forgiveness. Coz we are bound to screw up and make mistakes, hurt and disappoint our spouse. Saying sorry, asking for forgiveness shows humility. Being forgiving is also another aspect we fail oftentimes.

Forgive

 

So when I look at couples these days, I snigger at the young loves. I scoff when I see the superficial relationships around me coz the girl is so dolled up and the guy is all touchy feely. Young love is lovely but so shallow no? Sorry, did I just prove my cynicism?

When I see middle-aged couples who are so doting and loving, a part of me thinks ‘Hmm, maybe this is their 2nd or 3rd or 4th love. It’s still new.’ Hahaha. I actually think ‘Probably 6 months in the relationship.’ I am a cynic after all.

But when you see the true blue couples who have outlasted years of marriage, and how just by one look they speak their message, now that, THAT is real solid love.

I’ve had fantasies of having that kinda solid marriage. It’s a dream I grew up with. When that crashed in my early 30s, I made do. I just told myself that I’ll live with what I’d chosen. It was not a good state to be in, there was little joy and happiness. There was a lot of ALONE-ness. It’s a horrible thing being part of a pair yet feeling so lonely. But one finds ways to distract oneself. For me it was work, church, friends, hobbies…life has many distractions, just keep it wholesome.

I still dream of finding a good solid love of my life. Many have told me ‘Let it be Jesus.’ Yah, well, that He is. My Teacher, my Good Shepherd, my Saviour, my Redeemer, my Almighty. But yet, is that enough?

Through it all, let Love remain.

 

Let Go

Let go

The thing about calling it quits on your marriage is asking yourself constantly : Did I give up too easily?

The struggle is REAL. I don’t think I’ve gotten over asking myself this.

5 years on.

18 years in it.

But then I look at all the signs that happened after my separation, the wondrous little miracles that kept popping up and I said ‘Surely God is telling me something here.’

Right now, I’m witnessing a few friends going through troubled marriages. Some are broken so badly, but I always feel there is HOPE. Prayers and constantly keeping God close will help one discern. To hold on or not.

I still wonder if God wanted my marriage to break down. Let me rephrase that. God NEVER wants any marriage broken. He trusts us to make it work. He helps where He can. But at the end, each of us are given Free Will. We make the choices we want. Some good, some bad.

My marriage broke down way before the actual divorce took place coz we started leading such different lives, each doing our own thing, being indifferent to each other. There was little communication, no sharing of our lives or even any interests in what each other was doing (well, when I asked there was a general cold reply which didn’t welcome questions so I gave up over time).

I can’t say exactly when it happened but I know I felt truly like a single mom when the boys were in Primary school – doing everything on my own from attending Parent-Teacher sessions, deciding what activities/tuition they needed, communicating with teachers/catechists/tutors, paying bills and anything concerning the boys, even planning holidays. I don’t even know how I let that happen. It builds up. It doesn’t happen overnight. These things take years to get bad.

Let me dish out some advice here(who am I, a failure in my marriage to dare do this rite?): Never take each other for granted. It’s in the very simplest things that it starts out with. Like forgetting to say Thank You. Or “How can I help?’

I think in my case, resentment starting building up. What starts with ‘Can you help with…?’ became ‘Forget it, I’ll do it myself.’ So I did and eventually, I became so independent and self-sufficient, I wondered why I even had/needed a Husband. As a friend jokingly said, ‘Only for the sperm, so we can have our beautiful children.’

At that time, I found it hilarious. Now I think she really spoke much Truth.

I know quite a few couples leading indifferent lives, living quite miserably. I mean, isn’t your life partner meant to be someone who shares his/her life with you and doesn’t make you feel upset/angry most times and ALONE? Yes, some arguments are inevitable but generally your spouse is your chosen LIFE PARTNER, someone who you chose to spend your whole life with, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. There MUST be love. There must be Trust, Honesty and definitely Fidelity. Funny thing is, being married I actually feel more alone than ever.

I never fully understood this quote until much later.

alone

When resentment sets in, it’s hard to let go. It builds up, and eats into your heart and soul. You start seeing the burden and the pains that go along with it.

Each of us will deal with this differently. For me, it was busyness in activities. Work or Church was easy to get overly involved in. Where I could, I’d plan activities where the boys would be involved with me. Arts activities, church activities, charity events, community and family events…a lot of it became just me and the boys. It’s a lot easier when they’re young(and I had energy!) but as they hit the teens and spend more time with their peers, that’s another journey.

I remember quite vividly how from my mid 30s, I wondered if I had Bipolar Disorder. It seemed that I had a duality to my life. For 6 months, I’d be this high energy bundle(think Energizer Bunny) doing a lot of things, socialising and being so dang busy. And then the other half of the year, I’ll be down and depressed and want to stay at home as much as work allowed me, just wanting to be in solitude and quiet. My energy level just sank to an all-time low. Even my friends had to try and drag me out for meals (me, a Foodie who can’t say no to Makan. Translated: Food). I had such extreme mood swings it felt like I had a double personality. Like a Jekyll and Hyde.

What makes marriages successful? Is it really about give and take? I don’t think so. It’s about wanting to be better for your other supposedly BETTER half. Your spouse should be the one you trust with decisions, with money matters, with your life. There is a lot of compromise and sacrifice.

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When one or both partners are selfish and only wants his/her way, then that’s where the trouble starts. When arguments escalate, it becomes easier to avoid things and then these lead to status quo and never get resolved. ‘Buried under the carpet’ matters just fester.

Some marriages I know are about the in-laws. One spouse never wants to visit or gives excuses to minimise visits. The other extreme could be the in-laws intervene too much and take control, causing unnecessary tension between the husband-wife.

Some could be more homebody and just prefer being home while the other likes adventures and exploring. Others could be about friendships. I’ve seen marriages where one spouse gives up time with friends coz the husband doesn’t like her spending time with them. Family is the only priority. Some women like that. Free will. If the spouse is ok with that, so be it. If she/he isn’t then resentment sets in. I personally find it hard to sacrifice my family and friends. No man should make me do that as it’s where my happiness comes from.

Then there are spouses who forget they are married and are living for himself/herself. His/her income is for himself/herself alone to spend. The worse kind to marry are the narcissistic kind. Sadly you don’t realise this til much later. Some never grow up and aren’t ready for parenthood or to make that big step towards sacrificial love, and only can think of themselves and not others.

narcissist

 

There are also the workaholics who make their jobs/careers everything and forget to strike a balance with family life. Putting family on the backbench, and low on priority also takes a toll on the marriage.

Division of household chores is a sure way to cause major tension as well. How many wives do you know work, yet care for the children, their education AND still do most of the household chores? Many husbands don’t lift a finger. Even if the wives are homemakers, I think the husbands can still do their part to alleviate the wives’ work and take over some duties at home. Division of tasks and duties, shared responsibilities is so important to show her you appreciate her hard work. And that you are the Better Half.  Sadly, in the Asian household, many men just think their role is to bring home the bacon(ie salary) and their job is finito. It doesn’t work that way.

There needs to be, as part of Marriage Preparation, a component that reminds the Husband that just coz the Wife carried the child for 9 months and laboured doesn’t mean the duties of child-minding become her sole responsibility. I totally never expected the shift in balance being a married woman. I went into marriage with romantic notions of equality and shared responsibility. But found out that not only did I have to work and ‘bring home the bacon’, but to also do all the household chores, tend to household matters, take charge of all aspects of the children’s needs plus foot the bills. With that skewed imbalance, plus the exhaustion and fatigue, you could bet resentment set in.

Interestingly this article (School in Spain teaches Boys about Equality) just came out recently and I had to input this into my entry. Spain is so progressive and we so need this in our schools. Not long ago we had Home Economics and Technical that the girls and boys attended respectively. Well it’s time to make sure boys also are taught Home Ec! 

I wish I could spell out what are the key reasons marriages breakdown. But I don’t know for sure. I can only share based on what I’ve dealt with myself and what friends have shared.

What is KEY definitely in my eyes is: COMMUNICATION.  When there isn’t communication, everything breaks down.

It’s also about taking each other for granted. The biggest mistake is to let the children take centre stage and rule. Everything is about the children and the couple forget to spend alone time, to date, to appreciate each other and rekindle some romance. Not every marriages need romance as love grows deeper, but I think every wife wants to be cherished and not be taken for granted. It’s so easy to do that. Men too, they want to be affirmed and loved and made to feel like the Hero of the family.

Of course there must be Trust and Honesty. If your man works late every day and seems happier out of the home, ask yourself why? Are you a nag to return to? Has the home become a war zone where mom and children are always screaming? Everyone wants to come home to a loving peaceful home.

Arguments/Resentments/Driving your spouse away is definitely no reason for infidelity but it happens. Then what? You forgive him/her for the indiscretion and failings? Sure, if he/she is repentant.

So right now, as I see many spouses holding on to their marriages for the vows they have taken(or for whatever reason), I sympathize with them. It’s never easy to say “I give up on my marriage.”

When do you let go? I think you shouldn’t. I think what God wants to see is that you endured, you worked really hard to make it work, you tried all the best ways you possibly could.

The wonderful thing about the Catholic Church is we have so many help lines. Such as Marriage Encounter and Retrouville. We have Counsellors and Priests and Nuns to talk to. We have Spiritual Directors in the form of laity and the Consecrated people.

I went through all that much needed counselling. I wanted so much to attend Retrouville. But how do you make your spouse want to? How do you convince him when all you see is that he’s given up on making things work? Worse to think he can stay in it(the marriage) and still have his fun, his freedom, and not be accountable to his responsibilities? If your spouse doesn’t even recognise the marriage is in trouble, there is little you can do. Free Will. Choices.

I didn’t make him chose his choices. He did. I wanted to work at it, prayed so hard he would too. At the end, I recognised that I needed to love myself first so that I didn’t end up losing my sanity. I needed to be a good example to my sons. And did I want them thinking this is what Marriage is going to be like???

So all I could do was pray and pray and pray. And ask others to pray for me. And to stay close to God. Staying close gave me strength, gave me clarity and gave me peace of mind. That’s really the crux of it. I knew God was with me at every step of the way, guiding me and holding me close coz I felt His love so greatly. It was truly wonderful.

Not so wonderful, truth be told, to realise that I needed a crisis and break down to work on getting my relationship with Him on track. But it did. And for that, I’m glad for it.

Coz in the end, when my husband did chose to walk out of my life, I let him. Coz I knew it was a decision that was right. I never felt more loved by God then I ever did.

 

What Punishments of God are not Gifts?

I just watched this video. It blew me away. Very little blows me away.

‘What Punishments of God are not Gifts?’ ~ Tolkien

Requoted by Stephen Colbert. So now I know Tolkien. And will read his books.

Stephen Colbert is a lot more deep than his humour on The Late Show.

Some of his quotes from the short video above that struck me:

It’s a gift to exist; with existence comes suffering.’

Be grateful for ALL of your life, not pick and choose.’ That includes the sufferings.

‘The Fullness of Humanity. Ultimately for being grateful for all things that I wish didn’t happened coz they gave me a gift.’

‘The sadness, the suffering…the great gift of the Sacrifice of Christ. God does it too. We are not alone.’

Going through a crisis, definitely makes you think ‘WHY ME, God?’ It’s also normal to feel anger. For some of us, we turn away. I know I went through a looOOOong time to deal with accepting not just the breakdown of my marriage, but the fact that I really didn’t know who I had married, and then the loss of my own identity in the course of my marriage. And the ultimate, which I still struggle with, is my marriage vows – that it cannot be broken. It’s for life. No matter how little my other so called ‘better’ half thinks of it.

Now, 5 years after my separation and then my divorce, can I say I’m grateful for the path I had to go through? Yes. I say it with confidence. YES!

That path taught me so much about myself that no one else could ever. I learned that I had loving trusted friends as well as those I can’t depend on, even if they are family.

I learned that God is the most faithful. And by holding on to Him, trusting and surrendering to Him, I am on track.

Do I regret my marriage? Well. I have my 2 beautiful sons from it. No doubt, there was a lot of things in my marriage I never expected, and that all my dreams and expectations were crushed. I regret I never had a happy marriage but no, I don’t regret my choices. I regret that I lacked wisdom in my choice perhaps.

So now, at the age of almost 49, I know very clearly who I am and that what I’ve become has been possible only coz of the challenges I’ve faced. Not just in my marriage, but with my work situation and even with the friends and family who have betrayed me in some way.

As Stephen Colbert nicely put it, ultimately, be GRATEFUL for all the things in your life, INCLUDING the SUFFERINGs. Coz with that, I’ve learned humility, I’ve learned compassion and to put myself in other’s shoes. And that is what makes me Human.

Now the trickiest thing I’ve got to learn yet…Forgiveness.

Single in Sydney

I really had to think thrice writing this…coz..well, it’s pretty embarrassing really. It shouldn’t be, but I feel it is. Yet, it’s an experience that has to be captured(in case I get dementia years on).

You see, I joined this Dating App just a few days before my hols in Sydney began. Now, it tracks your movements, which I discovered later(to my horror) and captures where your last location is. It has its pros and cons.

So when you’re single in Singapore, I connected with maybe…8-12 guys a week. Out of which maybe 20% are actual Singaporeans. The rest I’m guessing are on holiday, working short stints and wanna ‘have fun’.

On arriving in Sydney, I was truly horrified to see I had, not 10, not 100 but over 300 likes!!!! 300!!!!! From a small Pond to a big huge Ocean. I’d need to focus my full holidays here just to keep up communicating and meeting these guys I thought…or get a PA 🙂

But, yes, it was a real Ego Booster to say the least. Of course, one realises, an Asian woman is somehow seen to be more attractive in the land of Ang Moh kia. Why is that?

I asked my dates(hahah, yes yes, I did go on some during my hols here – but I was VERY selective, mind you. Coz time was so precious, and of course, thorough and careful although one can never 100% be sure if the dude is a serial killer).

Firstly, let’s say, this Virgin-Dating-Charbo(woman) was truly enamored with how gracious and knowledgeable(by that I mean the diverse topics we can discuss) the Ozzie men are. Of course I had my fair share of chats with too much sexual undertones to know what the guy was truly after. After all, as one of my dates did ask me: ‘You’re here on holiday, what do you think most guys would think you’re looking for?” (go back to para 3). Oh dear.

So I came to realise that the Asian woman is perhaps seen as exotic in the sea of White. My dates – strangely none of them were Australian(migrants from Greece, South Africa, New Zealand, Scotland) – shared that the Ozzie woman is ‘too aggressive and not feminine’.

I looked down at my jeans, my boots and my rucksack. Hmmm. If they were looking for a ‘submissive Asian’, they certainly picked the wrong Asian girl. I had no long flowing mane of hair, no giggles to offer, no batting of eyelids either. In fact one of them was fascinated with my quick wit and sharp tongue and offered to be my agent if I go into Stand Up Comedy. Hmm. Could I be the next Ali Wong??

I recall this dude asking me to meet him at the beautiful Manly Beach where he lived. I asked to meet at the ferry terminal so that I wouldn’t waste half hour on travel on the ferry. Plus I had a dinner appointment with my cousins to rush back to. He agreed. When I’m on the train about to arrive, he tells me he’s prepared food at his place. I reply ‘Oh, aren’t we meeting outside?’ In my head I was thinking ‘Siao ah! U think I will go to your home?!!!!!’ He then made some quick excuse that it will be too rush, blah blah blah. Whew. I’m so glad I didn’t meet this wanko. Waste of train expenses but no problem, at least I was safe. Thank goodness my Guardian Angels were with me.

Women on dating apps, be smart please. NEVER go alone into a car with these guys you’ve never met, let alone into their homes no matter how beautiful or wonderful a cook he is.

There were other weirdos. Like one who shared his wet dream with me. Ugh. I politely told him ‘These things, pls keep to yourself.’

One date lied about his age. When I saw him, I thought ‘Hmm. He can’t be 52. He looks almost a decade older.’ Came with liver spots too. So I tried to dig it out from him. At first he lied about the year he was born, later, he finally came clean saying ‘But everyone thinks I’m 50. Don’t I look it?’ Dude, I thought, you can pass of as my dad. Especially since everyone here thinks I’m 28 and some, that I’m a Gold Digging Asian chick wanting a better life in the land down under.

I even came across one very interesting(and rather handsome dude) with this on his profile: ‘Married. Yes, it’s not ideal I respect and understand if this compromises your own values. I’m looking for someone who is looking for mutual emotional, intellectual and physical connection.’

Gosh I was intrigued. So I wrote back to him. He replied ‘Don’t be intrigued. To a wonderful lady like you with the highest of moral values this must appear wrong at every level. Yes I’m married, it’s far from ideal. My wife is a good person however I realised a long time ago she isn’t the person for me..I want to see if the person whom I can have that more soulful deeper connection with, that we all so richly deserve could possibly exist.’

Wow.

Wow.

I had to think about this. Aren’t we all always looking for something better? Wondering if we chose the right one to marry? And in the end, when we make that choice, do we give up when we think it’s the wrong choice? Or do we stay through it to make it work as best we can? (read my earlier entry : Love the Person You Found)

No answers as each of us have our own different journeys, different experiences, different issues we deal with. But I felt this guy’s hopefulness. I just couldn’t help wonder if his wife felt it too.

Thank you, Sydney. You’ve made my experiences so rich and filled with so much learnings and take aways. I knew I had to share this coz my life journey has still so much to receive and to give. And to the sweet guys I met, thank you for your honesty, sharings and wit and humour. Even if nothing comes out of it, I’m glad to have made a new friend.

And as a funny dear friend told me ‘You’re now an international serial dater’. Hahahahaha. That is hilarious. And ya, kinda true ain’t it? “)

Friendships of the Soul

Friendships mean the world to me. I’ve got many different types of friends, some that I’ve kept since kindergarten(unbelievable I know!), but mostly with my galpals, they are from my Primary, then Secondary and some from Junior College/University. That’s a good 30-40 years of friendship on average!

Lately, I’ve been also ‘experimenting’. Ok, experimenting sounds wrong. But a close galpal put me on a dare. I’m always up to a challenge. Plus I guess it’s time.

So I went on a dating app. Hahaha. OMG. Please, ladies, be VERY aware of the scammers out there waiting to pounce on (especially the ‘mature’) women for money. Those stories you read about, they CAN happen to you if you let yourself fall in love with one who is a great con artist. Am sure they have these syndicates complete with high tech set ups to track via Excel or some other info collection database to input all you have shared to lure you into falling for them(NOTE: FAke photos, Fake IDs etc) and then surrendering your heart and money. Their target: LONELY women.

I admit I encountered not one, but many. Always same plot, same story. They are in Singapore for a short visit. Then they have to return home. They are trapped for some reason or other and use some sad story on you. Mebbe their mother needs some surgical operation, or the job in Spore requires some extra purchase to seal the deal/contract.

I had one who was SOOOOoooOO good, he had me convinced how true his story was. We were chatting on the phone quite a bit(no African accent as most do even if they declare they are British, Canadian, American, Australian…) until I asked to Facetime. Then he got dodgy. Such a pity. He had such great wit and a sense of humour I totally enjoyed. And of course he played up the role of being such a great dad since he lost his wife.

Ah well. Thank goodness for good galpals who knock me into sensibility with cyncism and lots of ‘Be careful! Don’t trust him until you see him!’

But then again. Even seeing the guy, is not reason to fully trust him either.

I think the funniest story I have is meeting with this Canadian guy. Very genuine, sincere and I was his tour guide for his short visit here. Such an interesting life he had, I was almost jealous. He had taken a year long sabbatical to travel the world and write his book. Oh wait. I too had taken a year long(and more) break to just find myself too! Cept he still got paid , had moolah(money) to travel THE WORLD and had a job to return to. That was where the differences lay.

So after our second ‘date’ (or ‘sightsee trip’ to him), he texts me to say ‘I’ve got a date tonite!’ I’m like what?! ‘And she’s hot!’ he continues.

At this juncture, I just broke into laughter (forget my bruised ego) and asked him to show me a picture of this hottie. Ok, she didn’t appeal to me, but then again, men have differing taste. To each their own.

So that’s when I knew I’m just FriendZone. Nothing bad with that, just kinda felt like that’s the story of my life. I have many guy friends, since my teens,  and I’ll always be that safe female friend/buddy, no-threat-to-the-GF-or-Wife.

I was contented with that. But if he had gone on to wanna share any sordid details, I’d put a stop to it. Thankfully, he was a gentleman about it. And so I made a friend. I can go to Canada now and I know I’ll have a great tour guide! Heheh.

So yeah, I’ve actually started to ‘date’. It is honestly quite fun if your intentions are NOT to get into any immediate relationship. I guess, the other ‘shocker’ as I’ve found out, are that some men are actually married and still go on dating apps. Ya, rite?! Let’s not judge the men, I’m sure women are doing it too.

One told me candidly so and that he ‘had no agenda‘. My silent response to him was ‘Yeah, you do. U looking for ‘fun’. Is your wife also on this dating app??’ I’d even sent him this article ‘Lonely Husband Matches with Wife on Tinder’, which I just couldn’t resist. Hilarious.

I’ve deduced that men’s idea of friendship is very different from my idea. Or most women in my circle at least. I’m very certain there are women who just wanna have ‘fun’ too and muck around with the very willing available dude around the corner.

Well, just like ‘When Harry Met Sally‘ big question: Is platonic friendship between a guy and a gal(wihout sex thrown in) possible? I think so.

I’m very much a firm believer that it takes a strong friendship first to turn things into something deeper. That’s what solid marriages are based on. Communication. Compatibility and yes, Chemistry. Friendship first and foremost.

Sadly, not many believe in this and just feel that physical attraction is the be all end all. It isn’t, coz after that ‘lust’ factor dies out, what’s left if you find the person an absolute bore with little shared values/beliefs?

I may still have a little romantic in me believing in SoulMates. The notion of finding someone who makes you a better person, who accepts you and doesn’t try to change you. Coz we are all imperfect and what we really should be doing is finding the best in each other. And that Perfect Partner (complete with flaws) will love you for who you are so that in your imperfections, you’d want to change yourself to make him/her happy. That is the true notion of L-O-V-E.

Soulmate