The reason I’m baring our history here is because a very dear friend has come to me for advice. I am everyone’s favorite Ate Helen Vela and although she had asked me weeks ago, I wanted to take the time to sit down and write what I have to say. She has found her own Alan through a random “meeting” online as well, and they have yet to meet. They have been “playing sweet music” so to speak for a couple of weeks now, and my friend is happy. However, my friend has been through a lot of heartache, and she is trying to proceed with caution although I can already see she is failing miserably. So here I am, responding through my blog as I promised.
I am also going to write about what Alan had to say, since he is as much a part of this love story I wrote about below as I am. Hence, “He said.. she said…”
Falling in love is something that is easy and yet so hard. There are those of us who have searched high and low and have never really fallen in love. There are those who fall in love with a simple hello. It is a tricky state of mind because we cannot be rational when our heart rules. My friends love and hate me for being brutally frank and they know that they will hear what I have to say even if it isn’t what they want to hear. My friend often starts to drift away from me when the advice I give is not to her liking, and I am afraid she might not speak to me when she finally comes to the US a few weeks from now. But that is a risk I will take because I care very deeply for her.
When Alan and I found each other, the first thing I did was pray. But I didn’t pray that God give me Alan.. I prayed that God give me a good husband to spend the rest of my life with. When it became apparent this was going beyond just playing cute and companionship, I asked for a sign. I did not specify the sign, but I asked the I be able to discern what His will was for me. It was then that I had a falling out with the other guy I was dating, and Alan sent me the flowers with the card that said “Thank you for coming into my life.” I trusted in what He would tell me to do, and I didn’t ask for a “Yes” or a “No”. I put my faith in what He was planning for me, and I embraced it. In the end, I stopped asking for further confirmation — I told myself, baka makulitan na si Lord. When one thing happened after another, I trusted that the way was being paved for us to be together.
It wasn’t just that we had uncanny similarities. Or that he could finish my sentences and vocalize my thoughts. There was a sense of bliss in knowing he was there.
The clincher, to me, was that he decided that if this was as real as it felt for him as it was for me, the best way to find out was for him to come to Manila and meet me and feel my hand in his. And he did come home, just over two months after we initially reconnected. Although that was a milestone, there was one more hurdle that appeared as he left to return to New York. Although we knew we were deeply in love, he left Manila without proposing marriage. He had had his own share of bad relationships and wanted to see if we could try and see if I could come to the US on my own and maybe spend time with him. I was broken hearted. I had expected that after we finally looked into each other’s eyes, I would get that marriage proposal and we would live happily ever after.
My bestfriend Fe saw through that disappointment when she met with me after I brought Alan to the airport. But there was nothing I could do. The disappointment, it turns out, would be shortlived. Alan later told me that he was miserable listening to the radio on the way home. He knew he couldn’t bear to risk a visa denial, and there was no time to be wasted. He proposed marriage long distance, and I accepted. It was then that he started to work on our fiancee petition, and we worked on “introducing” him to my family to prepare for the pamanhikan.
Although we had practically bared our histories and deepest secrets to each other all this time, there were still secrets left untold, and Alan made a clean breast of everything right after he proposed. Some of the truths I heard hurt, but it was nothing that would change my love for him. That was the first test of our love for each other and we passed. Acceptance, we both realized, was the foundation of trust. And if we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, we had to start learning to trust each other unconditionally.
A long distance relationship is not easy to maintain. It is hard to go into a lover’s quarrel because you are limited by the fact that you cannot confront the other person face-to-face, and often, you are constrained by the minutes in your phonecard. It was also starting to get expensive for Alan as he budgeted long distance calls on an IDD service and on phonecards, costing him practically the same as if he were taking me out on the town on a regular basis all weekend, week after week. And in the end, there was no denying that a relationship cannot thrive as it should if the parties are not on the same side of the world. A relationship is forever evolving, and if you are not beside each other to witness that process and go through it together, you will grow apart.
I have seen my friend fall in love many times. She falls hard. And as much as I am so happy that she has found something to smile about again, I am so afraid that she is setting herself up for another heartache — and a big one at that.
You have to learn to leave some love for yourself, instead of pouring it all out to the object of your affection — because you will end up losing your heart in the end. And without your heart, you cannot love the best way you can, because you will be giving to fulfill his need, forgetting you have your own needs to fulfill, too. Am I making sense? To love unconditionally does not mean giving without question, but loving without expecting that the other person returns that love in the way you expect him to. You must be able to accept how much he gives without finding yourself settling for less. It does not mean settling for the minimum either. It’s about acceptance, and you must distinguish acceptance from resignation. Acceptance means being at peace with the kind of love he gives — not hoping that in time he will give more or give it in a different way. Acceptance doesn’t mean you will just take what is given to you even if you are not happy.
Try to fall in love without thinking of how it would be to walk down the aisle with this man. That will come when the love is affirmed and it turns out to be true — but don’t jump the gun and start thinking of how marrying him will be when you have yet to discover if he loves you enough to walk down that aisle with you. Take it a day at a time.. slow down.
Alan and I were driving to work last Monday when we spoke about what I would write here about my friend’s question. So I asked him, how was it for him back then.. how did he know? He said it just felt right. Everything felt right, so much so that even if it wasn’t part of the plan and he wasn’t exactly a Rockefeller, he bought a plane ticket and decided it was worth the risk and the expense to find out if this was as real as he felt it was.
As it was to me back then, Alan feels that from the man’s perspective (being that they are similarly situated), it should be worth asking if an offer has been made to take a trip to Manila to meet with you. Although you are arriving here soon, being that he is better situated economically—and he definitely has the means the way you have described him—if it was as real to him and you as it was to Alan and I, he would have taken a trip to see you by now.
The fact that he hasn’t doesn’t mean he has not fallen in love with you or is not thinking of you with deep fondness. It’s just that it speaks to his ability to go the extra mile and his own state of the heart at this time. And in matters as serious as this seems to be, Alan and I agree that it has not progressed to a level that can go beyond the “kilig” — at least not to our mind. That is why Alan keeps telling you not to put all your eggs in one basket. Remember the men who have hurt you in the past.. you heart was beaten to a pulp each time because you always gave them your heart — 200% each time.
We are hoping the best for you and maybe he will be the one. I just hate to see you thinking it will end up the same way it ended up for Alan and me… give it time.