Sunday, July 13, 2008
My decision was based on some recent events and personal revelations. For one, the breakup with the sculptor left me disappointed and tired of the dating game. Which then led me to give up on online dating for the indefinite future. If I'm not online dating, then there's really no point to this blog because, I think we can all agree, it's much easier to make fun of strangers than people we know in real life... because if I'm not online dating, then the guys that I meet will likely have some sort of connection to my friends (who are also my readers), so it's not like I'm going to make fun of those guys or even be honest about them.
Second, while I enjoy writing, I feel that focusing so much of my time and energy thinking about what to blog makes me too focused on the "goal" of dating/relationships. Self-reflection and self-awareness are both good things, but there comes a point of diminishing returns. I feel like I have reached that point.
I came across a wise (Buddhist?) saying the other day: You have a choice. You can choose to live life based on what you lack, or you can live your life based on what you have.
For me, thinking so much about my singleness and about relationships makes me focus on what I'm lacking, all the while missing out on all that I have in my life: a good job, great friends, supportive family, a nice apartment, good food all around. I don't want to be that negative, glass half-empty person.
So, I hope you'll understand and support my decision. It was a truly wonderful and strange experience documenting my love life for the past year. I wish everyone lots of love and happiness!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Anyway! My trip was great. Taipei was STEAMY. It was high 80's/low 90's everyday with unbearable humidity. So I tried my best to stay indoors with the AC. Except for the one time I went running... at 5:30AM. According to my dad, I was too late because 4:30 is a much cooler hour. And you know what? He was right. Before I left, I was running about an hour 2-3 times a week. In Taipei, I lasted all of 30 minutes and at half the speed. OK, maybe not that slowly, but it sure felt like it.
Most of my time was spent with my family and I really enjoyed it. We didn't have any major blowouts or tantrums, at least amongst the adults. We ate several meals together, went on day trips to Hsin Chu (mostly to ride the new High Speed Rail) and Da Shi, and played mahjong, our post-dim sum family tradition. The only sad thing was that we never managed to get a complete family photo of everyone, as one of my little nephews got sick and had to stay home for the last few days of our trip. I couldn't believe it's been 10 years since we all were together. Hopefully, as the little ones get older, we'll be able to gather more frequently.
I also did a lot of shopping and a lot of eating. As I had hoped, lychees were in season and there was actually an overproduction this year. I ate about 10-15 everyday. The mangos were also SO good. I've never had a mango as sweet or juicy in the States as the one I had in Taiwan.
The two comments I got the most from family were: 1) why are you so dark? and 2) when are you getting married?
Regarding question 1: As you may or may not know, Asians are obsessed with white skin. I think it has to do with the assumption that if you're tan, you must be a laborer, whereas if you are whiter, than you are rich. I'm already usually semi-tan, and my trip to Mexico made me pretty darn brown. Anyway, I don't really care anymore when people make these comments.
As for question #2, I got it from everyone, even my brother in law and my dad for the first time ever. My brother in law said something not in a pressuring way, but in the context of, "well, when you get married, we'll get to have another family reunion." My dad, on the other hand, was asking me if I was going to stay in California forever, and added, "When are you getting married anyway?" I calmly and (easily) convinced him that I'm looking for a good egg and I just haven't found him yet.
There's a lot of talk about nature versus nurture, and I found it interesting to dissect various character traits between my sisters and I. I have three older sisters who are 10, 8, and 5.5 years older than me. Despite this age gap, I feel like we are pretty close. But at the same time, we have very different personalities that more or less fit the birth order paradigm. For instance, my oldest sister is the natural leader -- she's great at organizing and establishing peace, and she's very maternal. Anyway, my point is that despite all of our differences, I see that we have similar strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths include humor, humility, intelligence, empathy, and mindfulness, whereas our weaknesses concentrate on our shared inability to express our feelings. One reason for this is definitely our parents, who are probably among the worst role models for marriage communication a kid could ask for. Sure, they've been married for 43 years, but that doesn't mean it's been a happy marriage. Their method of communication is to yell at each other and say insulting things. (ok, this isn't all of the time but it's fairly common). So, as a result, I think my sisters and I tend to go the other direction and bottle things up because we don't like acrimony and we don't want to stir the pot. During this trip, we realized that we all share this bad habit. I found a lot of strength and hope in the fact that this isn't just me or just my problem -- it's something that's been caused by my upbringing, and it doesn't have to define who I am today.
To end this post, I wanted to link two articles that I found particularly interesting. The first is a post about a breakup with crappy guy, to which I could totally relate. The second is about finding the ideal husband, or rather, how NOT to marry the wrong guy. Enjoy!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I also look forward to eating lots of good food. Even though it will be super HOT, the great thing about going to Taipei in the summer is that the best fruit is in season. I'm hoping to eat lots of yummy lychees.
Those who've known me for a long time also know that the other most important activity for any Taipei trip is shopping! One of the benefits of being single is that my parents, thinking of me as a "child" (any unmarried woman would be) still give me spending money. Ch-ching!
Unless something super bloggable comes up or I get really bored, I won't be blogging for the next couple of weeks. But I will be checking my email so if you want to guest blog, please send it my way! Seriously -- any funny dating stories and observations are welcome.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I broke up with the sculptor yesterday/today. "What happened?" you might ask. Wasn't everything going so well? Well, not exactly. The first month was fabulous, but something changed after that. For the last couple of weeks, I could feel the emotional and physical distance between us growing. Sure, there were a lot of valid reasons why I wasn't and couldn't be at the top of his priority list, but a girl can only be neglected so much. Plus, I wasn't even asking for much -- just 2-3 nights a week. Or at the very least, phone calls to demonstrate that he's thinking of me, even if he couldn't be with me.
When I confronted him about this, he kept giving me the run around. "You're amazing, but I wasn't ready for this type of relationship. I thought I'd sign up for Chemistry.com and just date casually for a while. I wasn't expecting to meet someone as great as you."
Or, "You're so wonderful, and I'm not in the condition to give you the relationship you deserve."
By now, maybe your bullshit alarms are going off, because mine certainly did.
We had an intense discussion Friday night, after which I felt shell-shocked but convinced that he was still fully invested in me and our relationship. Then, last night at a bar in the Mission, film chick and S were leaving to catch the last BART. So, I asked the sculptor if he was coming with me to Berkeley. When he hemmed and hawed about not coming with me, I knew that it was the beginning of the end. And it was all happening in a dyke bar playing Justin Timberlake way too loudly. Completely surreal. The fact that he chose not to come home with me was a huge blow, because he hadn't been to Berkeley in over 2 weeks, and also because I am leaving the country on Wednesday for two weeks. Oh, and then he told me that he doesn't like Berkeley that much and that he'd always rather stay in the city.
Before I left the bar, I asked him if this was a break-up or a take-two-steps-back thing. He chickened out and said the latter, but I knew better. Taking two steps back from what we had would be almost nothing, and that to me wasn't the relationship I wanted to be in. So, I got home and sent him the following text: "Home safe. I'm doing us both a favor and setting you free."
I woke up early this morning, unable to get back to sleep with the break up on my mind and with an annoying infection (that's all I'll say about that here). I knew it was lame to break up via text, so I texted him again to ask him to call me when he got up. He finally called me about an hour ago. It was good closure, because we got some things out on the table and cleared up some issues. In the end, all of the excuses were just that. The real reason he wanted to break up was that he felt like he should've been falling in love with me and he wasn't and so he doesn't think we should continue seeing each other.
To which I replied, "Don't you think it's hard for you to fall in love with me if we're not spending any time alone?" (I must note here that for the past month, almost every date I've had with the sculptor, his best friend M was there too. So essentially, I was dating both of them but only sleeping with one.) I also noted how great the first month was and hinted that we were on track to this "falling in love" status until he started pulling away this past month.
He didn't disagree with anything I was saying, but at the same time, he didn't want to change the situation at all. I think film chick said it best when she told me, "He just doesn't have his priorities straight."
Yes, I'm sad about this, but in my gut, I knew it was coming for a little while now. It's better now that it's over, so I don't have to wonder why he isn't calling or more into me. I am, however, really annoyed that he forced my hand in the break up scenario. The way he made me break up with him was very chicken shit, and I have a feeling that if we had continued, this sort of passive communication pattern would also keep popping up.
I am also slightly disturbed and disgruntled about the parallels between my break up with the Swede and with the sculptor. Both claimed after a month and a half that they just didn't see themselves with me in the long run, or that they should be feeling more (i.e. "in love") than they are. Is it them, or is it me?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Sure, everyone gets involved with an emotionally unavailable guy once. They can be so charming! You know there's more to him! He'll realize that you're special! And so you putter around him, a perpetual motion machine of awesomeness in which you minimize your flaws and maximize your coolness factor, acting loving but aloof enough not to scare him at the same time, after which he inevitably fucks someone else or you get hurt by his actual aloofness or worn down by pretending to be some perfect version of yourself to convince him get emotionally invested. Then you learn not to do it again and go find someone that thinks it's funny or even endearing that you talk too loudly when you drink or sing really bad karaoke or have a weird bellybutton and hopefully you open up and let him get to know that person you are when you're not trying so hard to be liked.
On the other hand, some of us keep doing it. Your life becomes an endless string of dudes that don't allow you to get too close or bail before you can get too invested or force your hand into bailing because you're just not going to take that shit from some guy. And you get to feel the butterflies, and you get to know you can still feel by being in just enough pain when it ends that you notice and maybe it will wring some tears out of you, but, really, when he's not letting you get that close, you're actually not that close. Since you can't get close to him, since you're spending your time trying to be so cool or not being upset about the aloofness and the lack of emotional intimacy, you're not letting him in anymore than he's letting you in.
To this day, the relationship dynamic I had with mr. roboto confounds me. Whenever I question aloud why I was with him for so long, a (good, sweet) friend tries to convince me it's because I had to give the relationship an honest chance and ride it out to the bitter end. But did I really have to? I was with the guy off and on for a year and a half, and yet, I don't think I ever loved him. And I'm the type of girl who falls in love fast and furiously, within a few months at the most (if it's going to happen at all). I held back because I knew he did not love me the way I wanted him to love me. Whether he was incapable of such emotion or was never going to feel that strongly about me remains an open question. I half-heartedly and dishonestly told him I loved him once. Not out of that "I can't hold it in any longer because I will burst from this emotion" type of feeling. No, it was because I was desperately trying to salvage any kind of emotional intimacy we might have had. He weakly replied, "me too." Nice.
The other part of the mr. roboto relationship that confuses me is how much a lack of feeling can actually leave a permanent scar on one's emotional psyche. I began to doubt that I would ever find emotional intimacy again. One thing about dating a man that's emotionally unavailable is that he never makes you feel worthy enough. As a result, like Megan's post described, you either close yourself off or compete harder for his attention. This is bad for all women, but I think especially for Asian American women who often have this type of relationship with their parents. (cf. Joy Luck Club.)
Anyway, my point is that I never felt like a priority to mr. roboto. Never ever good enough. Did I turn the tables and ask myself, "Is he good enough for me?" No, because that would have been the smart thing to do. Since our breakup, I have been especially susceptible to this feeling of not feeling like a priority to the guy I'm dating, sometimes blowing things out of proportion. And then I put up a self-defensive wall, and I want to bail before I get more invested emotionally.
Most of the time, I think having a lot of relationship experience is a good thing. Sometimes, though, I wonder whether it's more detrimental than helpful.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Anyway, enough about that. I'm here to celebrate the first "birthday" of this blog. On that note, I thought I'd take this opportunity to round up some of the blog statistics from this year:
Posts written: 128
Total comments: 197
Most frequent (public) commentors: Emily, Jane, chachi, Kira
Most commented posts: The Hot List (6), Single again (5), Things a man should never wear (5), Dating Analogies (5), "ONHD" TMI double feature (5)
First dates: 11
Age range of those first dates: 25-42
Awkward mr. roboto incidents: 5
Most used labels: online dating (16), followed by the "ONHD" series (12)
Weirdest label: near-death experiences
Anyone else want to reminisce? I wanted to go through all of the comments and list my favorites, but alas, it's getting late and I have to pack for my weekend camping trip with the sculptor. Cheers!