Be good to yourself. People will only treat you as well as you treat yourself. ~ M. V. Hansen

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Retreat - Taking Care of Myself

An online male friend recently found his third (and hopefully the last) love - a woman from Cambodia. Ross* happens to be one of the few quality men I met through OkCupid, a free dating site (that's not a referral link, by the way). 

Don't get me wrong. None of these men has become an online lover nor will they ever be. We're all just pals. I used to regularly talk to all five of them, but only two are left. One helped me with my master's thesis (the statistical analysis part), while the other one is Ross. The others occasionally reply to my "just keeping in touch" emails.  

Anyway, before Ross found his new life partner, he and I talked about our frustrations when it comes to relationships. He's been divorced twice, while I stay technically married because divorce among Christians remains prohibited in where I live. Plus, annulment is expensive. I'd rather use the money to support my child's education.

With his imminent third marriage, Ross advised that I shouldn't lose hope. I am not. It's just that, as what I've told him, I'm emotionally tired of searching and hoping to be found at this point. When romance is absent, numbness can be bliss. 

I remember my dad telling me that it's better for me to stay single until I get laid six feet under.  I'd like to think he's just saying that because he doesn't want me to get hurt again.  Aside from that, however, I know that I still have so much to fix about myself before I get involved again with someone. And...should I do so, it's not remote that I get pregnant again - something that I no longer want to happen.

Not wanting to have another child or to give my daughter a sibling whom she's been yearning to have may seem selfish. Yet, I believe this choice is better. With the kind of world humanity has made, I couldn't help but feel sorry for my own child who is fully aware at her young age that people can be cruel to those who are penniless (and jobless). We'll never live in a perfect world because people are neither perfect. The imperfections though can cause serious scars that can debilitate personal (and even national) progress.

"If it's meant to be, someone will come along," I told Ross. Otherwise, I can always heed what my dad says. Sounds bitter? I don't think so. Jaded, yeah - but not bitter. I couldn't help but blame myself actually, for it's not always and entirely the man's fault. 

One thing that I've learned is that when it comes to relationships, it's better to know a potential partner's negative qualities before getting married. I know that would be impossible because both parties will always have their best foot forward to help secure that wedding ring. Thing is, there are tell-tale signs of potential areas of conflict during the pre-marriage phase. If one's mate has a history of being unfaithful or alcoholic, one needs to ask if he/she is willing to accept that weakness, able to forgive that person more than "70 x 7", and still accord her/him much respect and trust. If the answer is "No", then better rethink the marriage plans.

Moreover, one should be complete on his/her own and not rely on someone else to achieve happiness. Thus, a man will never complete me nor will he be able to fix me. I failed to love who I am while growing up, making me hate who I am as an adult. This is not good, of course. And this is the main reason why I'm retreating from romance.

If there's one thing I'd like my daughter to learn at this early stage of her life, it is to love who she is - both good and bad. No, this isn't selfishness. It's about self-worth and self-respect. It is also about realizing that real happiness starts from within and that a positive self-love is necessary for survival. 

I'm hoping that Ross and my other friends will all end up truly happy with and well loved by whoever they choose to be with for the rest of their lives. 

Positive self-love needs to be nurtured even at a young age.

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