It's been an entire year since last Christmas.
Funny how much difference a year can make. Last Christmas, YZ and I were going through a very wretched stage in our (then) five years plus relationship.
I mean.. No relationship is perfect, I believe. Just like no man or woman is perfect. We were made imperfect, so how do you expect two imperfect souls to come together in a perfect union?
To me, those that claim they have zero issues in a relationship are probably either in denial, or won the elusive love lottery when they found their perfect other half. I don't know, am I too cynical? 😅
YZ and I are certainly not perfect.
I'm stubborn, wilful, too independent for his liking, not attentive/sensitive enough, and too busy with my life.
He's quick-tempered, sensitive, with an easily-bruised ego, insecure at times and can say extremely spiteful things in the heat of anger.
How do you know if someone is The One for you?
YZ was/is my first relationship. I was 20 years old when I met him, and we were both quite smitten with each other, though he showed it more, heh. I just thought he was a charming and funny person, and always secretly looked forward to getting to see him at the music cafe whenever I went down to support my classmates who were taking part in a singing competition at the cafe.
One of YZ's greatest traits (depending on how you look at it..) is that he can be read like an open book. He can't hide his emotions, be it positive or negative emotions, it's usually written all over his face and in his body language.
I figured out pretty early that he was interested in me, hahaa. He'd sometimes steal glances at me with that adoring look on his face during late night group suppers, or look inexplicably happy to see me when I showed up at the cafe.
I'd even catch him a few times by the glass reflection outside the cafe washroom, primping himself up so he looked presentable when I saw him, hehehe.
When he finally 'confessed' to me one night, I had a lot of mixed feelings, I was happy and flattered, but worried and apprehensive, because I'd never been in a relationship before.
Of course, we got together eventually, and it was my first experience in love and of being loved.
We've seen each other at our best and worst, and have gone through our fair bit of ups and downs in the past 6 years. But him being my first, I never knew what the 'gold standard' for a relationship should be like?
I guess YZ is usually the more unreasonable half because he rides on emotion, while I'm the logical and cool half, which sometimes frustrates him to no end.
And him being more sensitive as well, I usually hear accusations being thrown in my direction during our fights.
Most of the time, we fought because I wasn't attentive enough, or wasn't careful enough, or maybe not loving enough. Things like too many missed calls, or not replying an SMS fast enough, stuff like that. It sounds kind of immature now, but looking back, it was probably because YZ was feeling insecure.
I started blogging in 2009, around the third year of our relationship together.
When things sort of started taking off, even though YZ was happy and supportive for me on the outside, I think he was secretly worried and insecure about how I was turning my attention to blogging, and that it might be negative for our relationship.
I never once felt that our relationship was threatened by anything, but because YZ felt unbalanced, we'd sometimes end up quarreling over the silliest things, and once YZ got started, he could get really vicious with his words, which hurt me a lot.
Thing is, he always says things in anger just because he wants to get a reaction out of me, or to spite me, but once we've settled our differences, he'd reflect on what happened and then apologize to me for being unreasonable or spiteful, stuff like that.
And both of us are always so caught up in our own perspectives in a quarrel (as is always the case), that it's so difficult to come to a middle ground, especially when hurtful words are being thrown in the midst of the disagreement.
It led to me feeling like I was always the one at fault during an argument and that nothing I did was right. I was really tired of hearing hurtful and unreasonable words, and hurt that someone this close to me could even say such things to me.
Though once we made up after a quarrel, YZ would always apologize for being a jerk and would be back to his usual loving self, our fights always made me feel unsure of our relationship.
I started to worry if a relationship should be this way, and whether I was with the right person or not.
For YZ though, he's never had second thoughts about me, he knew that I'm the girl he wanted to marry and spend the rest of his life together with.
Being brought up in a household where my parents have had horrific fights and I've seen how much grief they could cause each other, I'd never want myself to end up in such a marriage, fraught with too much unhappiness and angry, violent words being lashed out without consideration.
It really got me thinking.
Was this really the kind of relationship I wanted for life? Like I said, I didn't know nuts about how other relationships were like, but I didn't feel like it was right at that point.
I felt very tired, because I was always the one tolerating tempers, giving in to unreasonable anger, having to be super extra careful because one wrong word or wrong move might trigger off a quarrel.
Please don't get me mistaken, on most days, YZ is the perfect partner. He loves me to death, and is always open with his affection for me. I love being around him and I feel very comfortable and happy with him. He has made me a better person in many ways, and is a wonderful partner to me.
But when shit hit the fan, somehow the blame was always on me. I didn't realize it at that time, but I was probably giving in too much to YZ, even for issues that were caused by his own insecurities and over-sensitivity, it somehow became my problem for not realizing that I could have done something about it, could be a more attentive girlfriend or knew how to say exactly the right thing to defuse the situation.
Like I said, no person is perfect. And however much I try, I cannot be perfect.
We almost ended our relationship last Christmas.
I knew that YZ was preparing to propose to me soon, and at that point of time, I wasn't sure if we were right for each other. I wasn't ready to accept a proposal yet and I wanted to head off the idea of marriage, and have more time to really think the relationship through.
This unhappy incident really woke both of us up and made us look long and hard at our relationship, and all the little fissures that were threatening to crack and disintegrate our relationship.
***Author's note: Obviously, we are still together and happily engaged one Christmas later la so our relationship did not disintegrate in the end.
It's 3.40am and YZ suddenly woke up! So I guess I'll continue my grandmother story in the morning or something 😅
Back to last Christmas.
It was a very painful and tiring time for both of us. YZ was hurt and shocked by what I told him (that I wasn't sure if he's the right one for me) and he wanted to know what was wrong, but it was so difficult to explain in words? I think the one main thing I felt was that I was tired of having to pander to YZ's needs and demands. And I kept telling myself it's normal because I want the relationship to work out and I wanted YZ to be happy with me.
If you're my friend in real life, you'd know that I'm a very straight-forward, no-nonsense kind of girl. I don't take shit from people and I always say what's on my mind.
When it comes to my relationship, I transform into a 小女人 and whenever he's upset, I will try to placate him, hear him rant for hours patiently to try to talk things through.
The first time I went overseas for choir trip in our relationship, we quarreled long distance every night until my phone bill hit $700 (Indonesia only hahaa). Every time I go overseas without him I always anticipate a fight cos he feels insecure that I'm somewhere enjoying myself and have forgotten all about having a boyfriend at home. That kind of thing.
(Seriously I think YZ will kill me if he reads all this. But that's all in the past la. He's changed a lot now and he's no longer like this.)
Of course, I sparked off a HUGE fight. We nearly decided to call it quits because things got so bleak.
The incident left an indelible mark on our relationship, but one year later, we both look upon that trying period as one of the most significant turning points of our relationship.
It took our relationship to be on the verge of break-up for us to actually learn so much about how to be together with each other, but I am really thankful that we decided to stay together and make things work.
You can imagine how much courage YZ worked up to propose to me for real in August this year, which made the proposal all the more special to me.
We're still a long way from being the perfect couple or having a perfect relationship, but one thing I've learnt about a relationship is that love is a conscious decision.
YZ's letter to me on Valentine's Day this year.
Thinking about last Christmas has made us more appreciative of our relationship this present Christmas.
Love is a conscious decision. Make that decision to appreciate, respect, understand and treasure your loved ones better this Christmas!
💜 Having breakfast in our PJs!
YZ cooked instant noodles for breakfast, heheh. Haven't had instant noodles for the longest time cos it's supposed to be very bad for you. Christmas indulgence!
Happy Christmas Eve to everyone!
Yesterday's Christmas partaaaayyy we do it good with both log cake and 汤圆! 😁 I got the red velvet log cake from W-39 bistro and it was so yummeh.