I became single because of a birthday card that arrived late


So much happened last year, or perhaps as adults it’s only natural?  You get tougher as do the battles. 

Wanted to talked about my failed relationship. Because reasons. I don’t know many people who either got dumped on Valentine’s Day or their birthdays, so essentially I’m the only one I know who has been through both.

Does it matter when the person did it? No, not really.

I’m still sad. Maybe cos I don’t know why it had to happen. Or maybe I do, and I’m in denial. 

We had our age gap and langauge barrier to deal with, neither of which was much to me, or rather, they didn’t affect me. Then came our growth, careers, goals. 

It’s funny cos we’ve never spoken about it. I always felt we could be the couple who would get through things as they come and align our goals, compromise.

But perhaps on his end, he didn’t see a future. And before the honeymoon period was over he threw in the towel. I saw a tiny potential crack, but was convinced it was something I could mend.

The crack: he accompanied me while I had 4 work meetings. Sat in on our convos. I felt bad for dragging him to this when it was meant to be our holiday. A while later, he brought up the fact that he felt stupid and couldn’t have conversations with others, how he was too old and was not good enough for me. Of course, I was heartbroken. I knew what he was referring to. I felt broken because I didn’t expect him to feel it.

It was something we had been through before so I told him that I was learning his language. I really thought things were going well. He asked when I would visit, showed me pics of his new apt, we planned our trips.

Then we fought. A friend once said that people don’t divorce because of a big issue, they divorce because someone didn’t do the dishes. And I agree. It’s not necessarily the main factor, but it sure is the catalyst.

It happened on my birthday. I asked him why he didn’t wish me, and he said he thought of calling me before work started in the morning. I got upset. And on hindsight, this was probably it. He had the day off, and didn’t make plans to visit me. That was fine. I wasn’t expecting him to spend money just for a day of us being together. Then I asked if I would be getting a birthday card and he kept quiet. Things went downhill, I started sobbing. Out of frustration because I’m not sure why he couldn’t understand the reason I was upset. My friends all sent me long ass well wishes, as did the ex boyfriend. But I got nothing from him. And all I wanted was a card. 

I went to work in the morning, still upset. He wished me via text, and apologised. I got angrier, telling him that sorry just wouldn’t cut it, and I was expecting action, not words. I went home in the afternoon, feeling like utter crap. That night he messaged and asked how my day was. 

I lost it. Typed a long message explaining why, wasn’t sure if it even occurred to him that as much as we are in different countries, my request for a birthday card wasn’t unreasonable.

He replied. Saying he didn’t think he could give me what I wanted, and I should be with another guy instead.

I called him, shaking.

“Are you breaking up with me?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Why… are you doing this?”

“I’m sorry I don’t think I can do it anymore.”

The next hour was spent crying (me), trying to ask him why it had to be this way. Asked if he met someone else (he said no), or if I was being too demanding (no, too). Long story short, he agreed to work on the relationship with me. 

But there was always this nagging feeling. From that day onwards, when he didn’t read my messages I feared he was rethinking the relationship. When he did reply, I dared not open his message, because of that same fear. And when I told him about it, I got no assurance. I was jittery. I could barely eat. I would work myself until I fell so tired and slept. I cried every night. He would take hours to reply, he wouldn’t even call me. But when I did, he answered. We even planned our trips (Phuket, Phuket, singapore, Hong Kong) I wasn’t sure what was going on. It felt like I had already lost him.

I still remember the night it happened. In fact, the still replays in my head and haunts me till this day.

On my way home one night, I cried my eyes out. Barely any replies, he refused to answer his phone saying there was no wifi, and it occurred to me he no longer complimented me when I sent him photos.

I came home to find a bag on my door. He had passed my sister stuff when she went to Phuket. He went to her hotel. It was 2 tops. I burst into tears.

Exhaustion had gotten the better of me. Why would he buy me clothes to try make it up to me, but avoid my messages and calls? I fell asleep at about 10 that night. Woke up nearly 2 hours later. Still no message from him. Forced my eyes shut but started getting anxious. Checked my phone, he just sent a text. Called but he didn’t reply. Called a few times on both his numbers. Nothing. My insides started shaking. My whole body was soon shaking and I could barely hold my phone. If this is what it’s like to feel like you’re alone, that night was truly it.

It was the longest 30mins of my life. Messagedbhim trying to sound cheerful, telling him injist wanted a quick chat. I knew it was over.

He finally called me back. I was already tearing by then, mostly caused by the anxiousness.

“I received your present. Thank you.”

“Do you like it?”

“Yes, thank you. How have you been”?”

“No good, can’t sleep well for the whole week. And I think you know wh-”

“I just wanted to call you to tell you that you don’t have to be with me anymore. It’s ok.”

“I’m sorry. I really am.”

He didn’t want to be in a relationship. Not with me anyway. Maybe he didn’t like what he saw when we were together. Or maybe I did things that didn’t sit well with him. I don’t know. And I never will. And truth be told I don’t think I’ll understand any reason he gives. Because it’ll just sound like excuses.

That was a Thursday night if I remember correctly. Just slightly a week after he first broke up with me. 

I deleted line app, and my Facebook. I couldn’t deal with anything. I messaged my friends (it was past 1 that night), and miraculously, one was awake. Shenjust happened to need to use the bathroom and saw my text and called. I cried to her, she listened without judgement and prayed for me.

I had bought tickets to Phuket for the coming Tuesday, intending to fly over and surprise him. I never boarded the plane, though it scared me a lot to think that I could have possibly just taken my passport on the day itself and fly anyway. 

The thing that held me back was pride. I didn’t think I could handle the journey there, to be rejected a third time, and have to endure the flight back. 

The day after it ended, I went to work as per normal. I don’t know how I did it. Came home, saw a card on the table for me. It was from him.

A birthday card with balloons. He did send one after all. He sent it two days before my birthday. Until today, I still have no idea why he didn’t tell me about the card. Things would have turned out differently wouldn’t it? Or maybe I’m just trying to delay the inevitable.

We never fought. Maybe it was the distance but it was also probably how we knew we couldn’t take each other for granted. We had our differences but we would bother asking what the other party felt and why they felt that way. We would also agree to disagree. 

Could I have done anything to prevent this from happening? No, and I’m not sure if this is good or bad. It’s scary because as we got to know each other better I started seeing a future with him. And it’s scarier because I thought he did too. But I guess I was wrong, and so very blinded.

He messaged my sister saying he was worried about me. And that was the last I had heard from him. 

Weeks later my inctructor emailed me asking how I was.

“Are you asking because you don’t see me on Facebook?”

“No, I’m asking because he told me about it and I knew you would be sad. He didn’t say anything, except that “these things happen.”.

Those three words would soon become a trigger phrase for me. It would stir up emotions, like a diver stepping on sand underwater. For those few moments my vision is cloudy and I’m taken back to that awful night where I wake up and start shaking uncontrollably. I relive those few minutes like it’s a fresh wound and then, I remind myself that I need to move on.

It has been less than two months. I still think about him. I miss him. And as much as I hate to admit it, I still wish he wants me back. I sometimes let my mind wander and play out the what-if scenarios. 

One night, I was walking home and was just about to reach my gate when I saw a balloon floating into the night sky. Froze in my tracks for a bit, only to realise it was my neighbour’s children.

I do know that this is for the better given our circumstances. But I just never saw it ending so quickly. If anything, if it had to end, I always envisioned it being after we have exhausted our options and had no choice but to accept defeat. I foolishly thought that I would be the one having to give up on us. Oh how the tables have turned.

Sometimes I imagine going to his house and seeing him with a new Thai girl. It absolutely crushes me. Sometimes I want to see if he has uploaded anything onto Facebook, but I no longer have an account (thankfully) and I don’t want to overthink each post of his. Or worse, wonder if he has blocked me from seeing the posts. Those fears are as irrational as they are real. Sometimes I imagine writing him an email, just to say that I was thinking about him. But I don’t. Because it isn’t healthy especially if I am not ready for the answers. Because the last thing I would like to know is that he has moved on. Without me.

As cass said, I need to stop breathing life into my memories of him. Which is ironic because this itself is inflating a piece of history. But I need to get it off my chest. I need closure , and while I’m not sure if this is it, it can’t possibly hurt more. 

I know he really did like me while it lasted. I never once doubted his sincerity and effort, and even though two people have told me that he probably cheated on me, I would like to think he deserves more credit than that. You think you know someone, until they decide that they no longer want you in their lives one fine morning.

Is this what they call a may – December relationship? It seems quite fitting, literally, I suppose.

This is it then I guess. What could have been my favourite narrative of the year turned out to be a nightmare I wouldn’t wish unto anyone else.

I’ll get better. I want to. (Except on some days where I don’t, and would very much rather replay painful and heart wrenching memories) But I know I’ll be fine at the end of the day.

As he said, and as I try my hardest to convince myself and believe; it is for my own good.

The heart just needs to catch up with the brain.

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