Written February 15, 2021:
Misconception #3. Love is self sacrifice.
From the very start of our relationship until almost the very end, I’ve always complained about being last in his priorities. Sorry, Sarah I could not meet you in Brisbane after all because I am needed in our Bangkok office. Sorry Sarah, you need to stay with a friend first because my daughter has to go on a visa run to Singapore. Hey Sarah, guess what? A customer moved a meeting so I suppose we could spend Valentine’s Day together in Manila.
Whenever I throw a tantrum and would not talk to him for days sometimes, he would tell me I am being unfair, that he is trying his best, and I’m definitely not his last priority.
To be fair to him, there are also lots of times he made me feel so special. Hey darling good news, looks like we could celebrate my 50th birthday together! Hey baby I’ve got a surprise for you, we could move in at the villa in Bali before your birthday! Probably what I appreciate the most is how he squeezed a trip to Taiwan to spend 2 days with Sophia and me. He had less than 4 hours of sleep the night before and he had to rent a car, wait for about 30 minutes for everyone to get ready and drive us around the whole day. He even joked about how before he was chauffeured by a Filipino in Middle East and then he had to drive a group of Filipinos around Taichung.
I may have looked at the glass half full, but I certainly am not an ungrateful girlfriend. I would show my appreciation in many ways, repeatedly. Oftentimes, he had to stop me and say he was doing it willingly and because of his own selfish reasons in that it made him happy.
“Whenever we think of ourselves as doing something for someone else, we are in some way denying our own responsibility. Whatever we do is done because we choose to do it, and we make that choice because it is the one that satisfies us the most. Whatever we do for someone else we do because it fulfills a need we have. Anyone who genuinely loves knows the pleasure of loving. When we genuinely love we do so because we want to love. In a real sense love is as selfish as nonlove. It is not selfishness or unselfishness that distinguishes love from nonlove; it is the aim of the action.”
I had come to terms with the fact that I am not the only and most important person in his life. At first I was asking him why I am the one who should always adjust to his schedule and plans for the future. Then I realized he really did have me and my daughter’s best interests at heart. We were able to transcend the honeymoon stage, we were not dependent on each other and our actions were not motivated by sacrifice. Maybe we were just not meant for each other.
When we do something for a person we feel and claim we love, may we do it willingly, not expect anything in return, and especially not make the other person feel like they owe us. Would it not be more wonderful if our actions are inspired by the glorious force of love instead of self sacrifice?
PS. Photo taken Holy Week of 2019. He’s got his luggage because he was leaving that afternoon.
Update: it was only later when I realized how unfair I really was, and immature. When we were not together and I was not talking to him, I would often see him online in the middle of the night, I reckon I’ve given him quite a few sleepless nights. And not because of the only worthwhile reason there is to stay up late.