When Bear and I first got together (in late May), we had quipped about how the transition didn’t feel very much different. Rainbows didn’t start appearing, things did not become rosy all out of a sudden, and we did not feel or act more “couple-like” than how we were previously.
It’s just adding commitment on top of the chemistry, right? We assumed that with the latter in abundance, everything should work out just fine.
After achieving a couple of couple milestones (pun unintended) and going through a fistful of fights, we looked back and realised how much we had changed.
Our relationship had taken a toxic turn. Before we knew it, our emotional dependency on each other had grown to an unmanageable level, only to be further heightened by our own insecurities. Bear relied on my support, and I attached my happiness to her wellbeing.
We failed to meet each other’s expectations. After going through round after round of disputes, our anxieties stopped us from properly functioning.
Notice how people who are in physical pain punch other stuff and instinctively grab on to others tightly? Those in emotional distress often unintentionally inflict emotional pain on others too.
At this point, distancing ourselves from each other is a form of mercy for the both of us.
No, it is not just a break where we step out for a while to calm our flustered souls. The underlying problems are still there, and unless they have been mitigated, re-entering the relationship would mean repeating the cycles of misery.
It is deliberate uncoupling. Status wise, it is still a break up, but it’s more than that too.
It does not mean saying goodbye, or at least, not right away. We did not just turn away, delete each other from our contact lists, and start looking for a new relationship where we hoped to see a better future.
Neither could we deprive each other of affections and support, though we now do it more sparingly, safely within our own means and capabilites.
I think, most of us are more or less familiar with the ideal expectations of love—we talk about sticking to this fated person, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. We sometimes fantasize about fighting and making grand sacrifices for “the chosen one”, because ultimately, love conquers all.
But no one seems to utter the line, “If you love me, take good care of yourself and don’t give me trouble.”
It sounds so unimpressive. And it makes the person who says it look selfish and detached. But this might be one of the hardest things to accomplish, and we sometimes dread it because of how real it is.
Nevertheless, this is our next quest.