What makes a relationship


Is it stupid that what I want more than anything in the world is a romantic companion?

It is stupid; I was horrified to realize it and I’m embarrassed to have admitted it. I’ve become what I hate: one of those women who are constantly obsessed with wanting to find a boyfriend, wanting to find a husband, wanting to get married and settle down as soon as possible.

I would roll my eyes and scoff: there’s more to life than that, c’mon, does it really matter that much? When it happens, it happens. In the meantime, live your life, please!

And yet… I don’t think it’s that uncommon a desire. In fact, I think it’s a pretty common desire, based on what the majority of our music, movies and books are about and on the fact that people pair up more often than they don’t.

I was watching Juno for the first time recently, and the following quote from the father made me cry (I was also slightly drunk, that’s my excuse): “The best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.”

I cried because I know I’m capable of that. Is that really so hard to do? I cried because real life is never that simple. Why are there so many things that get in the way? Why do we let them get in the way?

I recently got the feeling that… I think I could love just about anyone. I don’t know how true that is and I certainly don’t want to test it (how, by randomly picking a person in my vicinity and attempt to cultivate a crush on that person??), but that’s how I felt.

That made me think that perhaps our parents’ and grandparents’ generations got it right: just pick one or have one picked for you and that’s it. You learn to live with the person. You learn to take care of the person. You learn to love them, you grow to love each other. Isn’t there a kind of love that grows naturally from spending time with a person and getting to know them?

I guess that isn’t enough though. I should have seen enough rubbish marriages to know this…

I never liked the idea of having a list of criteria for your significant other, choosing mechanically by ticking off a checklist. Every time I re-vist the idea, I find myself mocking it. He has to be taller than you… really? Has to have certain qualifications, have certain amount of money… really?

Well, I guess it would be good if she likes the outdoors, like me. I guess it would be fantastic if she liked rock-climbing too, then we could go together! She must like animals, she must care for the environment. Singing and music. Those are very important too. And art! We could draw things for each other and visit art exhibitions together. Oh, preferably a Terry Pratchett fan c’mon how can one not like Terry Pratchett? It would be good if our socio-economical backgrounds are similar too, and if she can speak or understand hokkien, that’d make integration into my extended family much easier. Oh, she should be a science person, because I’m a science person. And wouldn’t it be cool if we could have pointless philosophical discussions that last forever? 

… And wouldn’t that be just like dating myself and wouldn’t that be a whole bunch of EXTREMELY BORING.

Honestly, I think one of the best parts about being in a relationship– the most fresh, exciting and meaningful parts– is seeing through some one else’s eye. Having the scope of your world open up and expand, being introduced to a whole new world you weren’t privy to before. Learning more about things you never knew about, never thought about, never saw in that way before and having yourself changed by that experience.

Where would all that be if the other person were exactly like you?

It’s of course good and sound advice that certain compatibilities should be present. If you have no common interests, what are you going to do together or talk about? If your backgrounds and perspectives are too different, misunderstandings would occur easily. And more importantly, if your priorities in life and in the relationship clash, it would be hard to make it last.

I made a list (similar to the one above) of all the things that were important to me. Must like animals and nature. Must value friends and family highly. I made a list, and then I dismissed it. These sort of things really aren’t what’s important in a relationship, it’s not what you should be looking out or on your guard for.

Yet such a list is important– not as a criteria list but as a list of knowing what’s important to you. Which are the most important values to you, which are the lines you won’t cross? Which are the essential characteristic, which define what you want from the relationship? And which define your dreams and what you want from life?

And that’s what makes or breaks a relationship, I think. Each knowing the their own general answers to these questions and being able to talk openly and successfully arrive at common answers as a couple.

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Barrack Obama and Gay Marriage


I guess I pretty much have to blog about this, right?

When I first read the news, I suppose I must have not been in a particularly good mood, for my reaction was somewhere in between, “Okay… So what? How does this affect me? Is he actually going to do anything? Sounds more like messy, American politics than gay rights.” and “Sure took you a long enough time.”

But hey, haven’t I always thought that any and every voice speaking up for gay rights count? It counts more than being silent. And here we have the most well known public figure in the world officially announcing his support– his unambiguous support– for gay marriage. Even if I can’t help feeling cynical about it (it’s politics, all politics), it’s still a very, very major score.

If you like, you can write Obama a thank you note and show your support for him and this cause here. It will apparently be sent to the White House sometime this week.

I still think that the main thing this will accomplish is to polarize America even further, but I suppose putting gay issues into the spot light must be a good thing. At the very least, it forces people to think about the issues. On the other hand… polarizing is probably not a good thing. I mean, if people who were previously ambivalent about it start to feel pressured or persuaded by their peers/family/authority to take a stand against homosexuality…

On a related note, I watched this video yesterday

and it made me want to say something to friends (and my past self) who think that what we have now is enough… that shouldn’t I be grateful and happy that I’m not being actively discriminated against? That I’m not actively persecuted? That I can be out without fearing for my life or my safety, that most people will still treat me no different, that I can lead a relatively normal life?

No, it’s not enough. Not nearly enough. Not anywhere close to enough. Until it is no longer the socially accepted view that homosexuality is wrong or at least controversial… until I don’t have to look at friends and wonder if they think its an abomination… until I can have a proper marriage, with legal rights…until I have all the rights that YOU, lucky-to-be-born-straight person, have… it’s not enough.

Can you imagine if your partner, your wife, your husband… the person you’ve been living with for 5, 10, 20, 50 years… gets into an accident or is in the hospital. And you have no rights to their information or to make decisions on their behalf. You’re not next of kin. You’re absolutely nothing, just a random friend like any other random friend. Despite the fact that you’ve been living exactly like a married couple for the past 50 years. You’re nobody.

That’s why it’s not enough.