Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] Being Vulnerable In Love – Vanessa Tai

When it comes to love, it can be downright scary to strip away your protective layers and bare your soul to another person. This is why Vanessa Tai is especially cautious about who she entrusts her heart with. 

material world_love

In one of my earliest Love In Lines posts, I wrote about how I used to avoid emotional entanglement as much as possible because of a perennial fear of getting hurt. Vulnerability is terrifying because there always seems to be a lingering possibility of rejection. Nothing scares me more than being honest about my feelings and having a door slammed in my face. However, in recent months, I’ve been slowly inching my way around the fortifications that surround my heart and exploring this  “falling in love” thing.

Yes, it is safe behind these walls, but it is also boring and lonely. As painful as failed relationships can be, the high of being with someone you like is almost magical. And right now, I think I’m going to continue chasing this high.

Of course, I’m not about to throw myself straight into the fray and hand my heart to the first available person. There needs to be a certain level of mutual trust first. In other words, we need to be discerning about who we open up to. While we may never know with 100 percent certainty that the person we love will be careful with our hearts, here are a couple of ways to gauge:

Is he really listening?

When you try to talk to him, does he make a concerted effort to listen to what you’re saying? Or does he keep trying to tell you what he thinks? Or worse, does he invalidate your feelings and make you feel ashamed?

As much as your judgment may be cloudy from lust/infatuation (don’t worry, we’ve all been there), try to take an objective look at your relationship and listen to your gut. The crucial question we should always ask ourselves is, “Do I feel safe opening up to him?”

Is he authentic with you?

In order for a relationship to work, both parties need to be willing to let their guard down and share themselves openly with the other. We need to give each other a safe space where we can open up about our feelings without the fear of being judged or dismissed.

And no, it doesn’t count if he opens up to you only when he’s intoxicated. I was once in a situation like this, and was driving myself crazy with confusion and misery. Then, fellow co-founder Denise said something to me that made everything so much clearer. She said, “If the guy was really in touch with himself, he wouldn’t be that far off from his drunk self. If he is unwilling to open up to you when he’s sober, that’s a problem and you don’t want to be involved in that.”

At the end of the day, it’s important we remember that vulnerability is not about being weak. In fact, it’s a generous act of courage. The knowledge that someone intimately knows the messiness of your mind and sees you at your ugliest yet still loves you wholeheartedly … I reckon that is an incredible experience that we all deserve to have in this life.

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Vanessa Tai talks about navigating the often-confusing world of singledom. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. 

[If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like]

1. [Love In Lines] Why You Should Date Widely
2. [Love In Lines] To Thine Own Self Be True
3. [Love In Lines] Deadline For Love

Standard
Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] Things I Miss About Being Single – Deborah Tan

Obviously, I have to be utterly sure and comfortable about my current relationship to write something like this. I’m confident that my boyfriend wouldn’t take offense in this article and he wouldn’t see it as me saying, “I really hate being with you.” No. This isn’t about regrets and making the wrong choices. It’s more about looking back into the past and picking out the things you loved best and still occasionally miss.

Being in a relationship is fun, especially when you enjoy the company of the person you’re with. But

Yep. There are a couple of things about being single that I miss sorely. You have to admit that sharing your space and life with another person can be trying and it is an exercise that requires practice and patience. As a singleton, you only have yourself to account to. As a couple, obviously there are decisions you need to make together. Although you may say, “Well, we pretty much lead our own lives,” you cannot deny that there exists – even a teensy weensy bit – in you the need to consider the other person whenever you make an important decision. This I-live-for-only-myself part is just one of the things I miss most about being single …

Enjoy your single life!

Enjoy your single life!

I miss … keeping a horrible diet
I am saying this without a tinge of irony or sarcasm. When I was living on my own, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted, no matter how appalling or how nutritionally-impoverished. As someone who hates eating by herself, I’d ignore my hunger till I could no longer do so. Then, I would cook myself a bowl of instant noodles. As a singleton, I was perfectly content calling chicken wings and beer dinner.

There was a feeling of laissez faire to that; that you are not hampered or tied down by a schedule, and you could eat whenever and whatever you fancy. Breakfast at 5pm? Sure!

I miss … being left alone
I think every coupled up person will agree with me on this. Some days, I just want to be left alone to “rot” on the bed and not have to feel “obliged” to get up and behave like a “useful” person. Do you also feel that living with someone else forces to you assume the facade of being “normal”? Even little quirks and bad behavior should be seen as an occasional joke and not something of a more chronic nature?

I miss … doing things my way and …
… not have to hear any protests or consider other suggestions. When I lived by myself, my shelves were always closed, my sinks were always wiped dry after use (okay, it is not a mark of psychosis!), and everything was pretty much left on their own with no one to move them around. Since having to live with someone else, I’ve had to put up with pleas to open the balcony door to “let some fresh air in”, nag at my boyfriend to do the dishes, cry murder if the bathroom is left in a sorry state after he uses them.

Furniture don’t argue back. Unless your house is home to a poltergeist, furniture also pretty much stay where they are! You don’t come home to a messed up couch, a sink filled with dirty dishes … when you are living on your own.

In the words of the part-time help who used to come clean my apartment once a week, “Now that your boyfriend is living with you, I have NO IDEA how to clean your place at all. It’s sooo … messy.” See what I mean?

Relish the time you have with YOU

Relish the time you have with YOU

Many singles fantasize about how life would be better if they have another person to share it with. When I was single, I’d imagine a well-dressed husband waiting for me at home, eager to take me out for a nice dinner. When I was single, I pictured how it would be so wonderful to snuggle up in bed with a guy on a weekend … instead, the reality is so, so far away.

I come home – most frequently – to a boyfriend with a Playstation controller in his hands, and on weekends, instead of wanting to snuggle, I’ve found I prefer to lock myself up in my bedroom just so I can get some quiet time to read.

I think the biggest allure of single life is that there is a POSSIBILITY, a chance that life could become what you imagine it to be. As a single, your life is only as fascinating as your imagination and fantasies, and that in itself makes life just a little bit more romantic. As a single, your life is your own to lead. What you eat, what you do, where you go, what you buy … you rarely have to ask anyone for his/her opinion.

So while I’m not saying I hate my life with Simon, I just want all you singletons out there to take a moment to relish your single life today. Yes, it is wonderful to have someone you love by your side during this year-end holiday season, but what is more wonderful is the realization that you don’t need another person to make your life beautiful – you are enough.

Yes, you alone are enough. Treasure this time you have with YOU and, with this, I wish you a Happy New Year!

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Deborah Tan talks about the trials and tribulations of living together with a partner. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. She admits that Simon probably feels the same about his single life too. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweet.

[If you like this story, you’ll love]

1. [Love In Lines] Deadline For Love

2. [Love In Lines] Not-So-Common Grounds

3. [Love In Lines] Where Are All The Great Guys?

4. [Love In Lines] 5 Things Single People Hate

Standard
Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] Choosing Not To Worry – Vanessa Tai

In a world where seemingly every other person is married or coupled-up, my long-term single status is a source of curiosity for many. Over the years, I’ve had to field questions ranging from, “Don’t you get randy?”to “Aren’t you worried you’re never going to find someone?”

While I always try to deflect these questions – it’s nobody’s business anyway – they never fail to make me take a closer look at my single “situation”. My official party line is that I enjoy my freedom, and it’s true. I’ve never felt sad or incomplete simply because of my relationship status, but when such questions pop up, it makes me wonder if I’m in denial or burying my feelings.

Why do I say that? Because, while I’ve never felt sorry for myself for being single, there are times where I do miss the perks of being in a relationship. Some things I miss include having someone who gets all my jokes, having someone to go on non-awkward dates with (first dates are such a pain), and basically just someone who has my back, whom I can trust implicitly.

However, these are just occasional “relationship pangs”, and it’s never been a strong enough impetus for me to get serious about finding a boyfriend. I’m not someone who aggressively goes on dates or dating events in the hope of meeting someone. Call me naïve or a hopeless romantic, but I believe in letting nature run its course. Some people believe in “making your own luck”, and approach their love life the same way they would a career – strategically, and with goals clearly mapped out. For me, I’ve always believed in spontaneity, whether in life or love. Too much planning and plotting can take the fun out of the whole experience.

materialworld_loveinlines2

But that’s just me. If you’re someone who believes “dating is just a numbers game”, and that the more people you meet, the higher your chance of meeting someone, then by all means go ahead. In fact, there was a dating consultant in Singapore who openly shared how she went for over 80 first dates before she met her husband-to-be! (Then again, you also have people who marry their first loves, and are no less blissful.)

Whatever it is, I still firmly believe we shouldn’t be viewing marriage as an “end-goal”. For too long, we’ve been schooled that our lives should look a certain way (graduate -> date around -> get married -> have kids). But life is too capricious for us to follow any set templates. Isn’t it infinitely more liberating to take life as it comes, and enjoy every moment, instead of worrying about something that may/may not happen?

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde 

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Vanessa Tai talks about navigating the often-confusing world of singledom. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

[If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like]

1. [Love In Lines] Unrealistic Expectations
2. [Love In Lines] Deadline For Love
3. [Love In Lines] Where Are All The Great Guys?
4. [Love In Lines] 5 Things Single People Hate

Standard