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Ahhhhh, February. And so, we enter into the second month of the new year that many people look forward to because the Chinese traditionally celebrate Lunar New Year in February. As the Chinese mark a new year in the lunar calendar, I use this opportunity to take stock of my life, do some housekeeping and de-clutter. That applies to all aspects in my life including relationships. Today, in particular, I am reviewing my relationship with my partner (while maximising my dollar by leveraging the plethora of Valentine’s Day packages currently available in the market).
Just to be clear – I do not dispose people or relationships just because they lose their lustre or value to me. In fact, I firmly believe old shoes always fit better.
Neither am I one to celebrate Valentine’s Day, nor one who expects my partner to spend ridiculous amounts of money on flowers, chocolates and extravagant dinners just to demonstrate his feelings for me, all just to mark one day. I believe love is more consistent and can be found in the little things – making coffee in the morning, preparing snacks and meals, washing clothes, et al.
And of late, I find myself wondering about the direct impact communication has on relationships. I’ve started to question the depth of conversations I have with my significant other. While I know I am comfortable having intimate conversations with him, I am not entirely certain if that feeling is mutual or if he is capable of having intimate conversations, in the first place. I’ve started to wonder if emotional availability is something we offer each other enough. And, if having sufficient (intimate) conversations is one of many building blocks to a strong union.
Most relationship books and gurus would probably be concerned to hear such a rhetorical statement and would most likely prescribe immediate couples therapy or counselling to mend this apparent communication gap we seem to have. I have, however, a slightly different view: What if I were to accept that this man just cannot and isn’t built to be emotionally available and as his partner, I will just have to learn that that form of intimacy will always be elusive at best, or merely almost always a one-way street.
Maybe I married a blue-blooded trooper who has been so well-trained to keep his emotions at bay. So much so, he doesn’t even recognise he has indeed become a killing machine with no heart? I’ve read enough relationship books and am familiar with enough relationship psychology to know this marriage is doomed for failure if things continue to go unaddressed. But in manic Singapore, where work-life balance is clearly non-existent, where do two people find the time to balance two opinions, two lifestyles, two careers (with opposing working hours at that), and two hearts?
Retreats are great for times like these and I’ve booked us a little getaway over the Valentine’s Day weekend. Maybe this is the respite we both need to reconnect at the heart, and to speak authentically to each other with no bullsh*t around to distract us. Or maybe not. Seriously, who knows with relationships? They can get so infuriating, overwhelming and complicated. So here’s to us – that we survive this week and next, and hopefully make it to another (anti) Valentine’s Day together.
I leave you, once again, with food for thought: