Since I got here I have not had a lot of time to myself. There has always been someone to go to dinner with, or someone to ride back to the hotel with, and usually more work to do. Tonight I rode back in a cab by myself for the first time. A lot of things were running through my head while I was stuck in traffic. Sitting in the back of a dark cab, looking out the window as the city lights in the rain and listening to sad Chinese music can have that effect on you I guess.
The main thing going through my head was about personal lives. I find myself talking to one of the people at work about the situation they find themselves in. They know they have set themselves up for heartache but can’t seem to stop themselves from getting more involved with someone who is about to move away. I have no problem talking with them, giving them advice on what they are doing, but I as I sat in the cab tonight I found myself asking if I am in any position to give advice to anyone about relationships.
I have had my share of relationship that where bad ideas, relationships I messed up and relationships that emotionally damaged me and it took time to recover from. I would like to think I have learned something from them, but I am once again questioning myself.
It’s been about a year since I had a girlfriend—and to be honest more like two years as we were physically separated for more than a year before she finally called it off. I knew it was bound to happen at some point and I know I should have just done it long before she did but I could not bring myself to do it. Anne, one of my ex-girlfriends mothers, told me once that ‘relationships end for many reasons, some end not because of the people but because you meet at the wrong time or place and the world is staked against you. There is nothing you can do sometimes.’ It’s a fatalistic statement but I think it holds some truth. It didn’t comfort me when her daughter broke up with me.
Since my last relationship ended I have been emotionally shut off from intimacy. I have not even asked a girl out. To be honest I have only found myself even thinking about asking two girls and I never got up the nerve. They are both dating someone else, and now I’ve moved to Singapore. Somehow here I find myself in a situation that could prove very bad. I find myself attracted to someone I am working with. I can find any number or reasons to not be attracted to her; she smokes, she is too young, etc. But it doesn’t matter, the bottom line is I find her physically attractive and I am attracted to her personality. I work with her everyday and she feels like she can talk to me when she needs something or has a problem at work. So I can’t help but think about it.
It also does not help that I think she is making a mistake in her current relationship. But if I tell her that she is making a mistake I can’t be sure I really think she is making a mistake or that I am telling her that because she is or because I want her to think she is. I can’t help but think I am trying to undermine her relationship so she will end it, which makes me feel bad.
I think having a girlfriend again would do me a lot of good actually. While I like to think I am a person who does not get stressed out about a lot of things the fact is I do get stressed. Over time the stress builds up and I think it manifest itself in how I act and talk. In short I become bitter. This is not to say that I am not happy with my life, just that without someone to share my day to day life will I have no emotional release and all of it gets bottled up inside.
I have come to this conclusion several times over the last few months and looking back through this lens I don’t really like the personality that has come about. I am too quick to anger with people over things.
What really got me thinking about all this was when someone at work asked me if I was dating this girl I like. We spend so much time together that they thought we were dating. That should be my warning to back off, but I know myself too well. I won’t back off and I won’t go forward. In the end I will end up in the same situation I was in once long ago—the best friend who wants more but can’t have it. The emotional crutch she leans on. I’ve been there before and I can see myself headed back that way. But I can’t stop myself.
So tonight as I left the office she was on her way out to have dinner with her boyfrined and I was on my way back to the hotel alone. It’s not where I expected to be a month after coming to Singapore. Sitting in a dark cab, watching the rain and listening to sad music.