As the saying goes, love makes people do crazy things. From a man robbing a waffle house to pay for his girlfriend’s probation fees to a woman marrying the guy who was jailed for blinding her, to a convicted astronaut who stole $21M worth of moon rocks for his young intern – we’ve heard the lot.
Well, my story is about me leaving behind the life of my dreams, one that I’d taken years to build, a life in which I was the main star. To fit into someone else’s ready made life. I, who hoped everyday that one day I too will be part of his dreams.
I met my soulmate two years ago, while working at a restaurant located on the lovely harbour of sunny Singapore. A fresh graduate from a university in Perth, the city I had called home for 14 years, I was ecstatic with the idea of spending my break back in my birth country. Even though, I had to take a job at a restaurant to ensure I wouldn’t run out of funds during my stay. Ok, I also had to lease my newly renovated bachelorette pad to some stranger. And parted with my beautiful friends for a few months, which meant missing out on our usual cheapskate Tuesday movies, as well as Friday moonster nights at the Aviary. Yes, the thought of being away from my worldly comforts and loyal companies was daunting at first.
But three months went by in a jiff, during which new friendships were forged, and one in particular developed into something more special. I was only two weeks away from stepping on that plane, and starting my new career journey in Australia, when It happened. Flirtatious encounters turned to courtship, and one warm evening Mike and I found ourselves in Collyer Quay having tapas and sharing our life stories over eclectic cocktails. I had been single for years and was loving it. But that night, strangely, I knew he’s my soulmate. I would drop everything to be with him.
Our relationship got serious super fast and I was over the moon, so I erased the plan to go back to Perth. Without second thoughts, I declined my $70k-annual-pay-package sports reporting job offer from a baseball club I had been working with for three years, cancelled my flight ticket, and arranged long-term tenancy for my apartment.
What was hardest for me though, was announcing to all my close friends that I’d decided to stay in Singapore. That we could no longer go to Devilles on Tuesdays and have cheap lamb shanks whilst whinging about our bosses, or drop by each other’s place with rich lava cake in hand anytime just because one of us has had a rough day. What I didn’t say, was that I had chosen a man I barely knew over them. In essence, I bid farewell to my life in Perth. Yes, I gave up the life I had built and known for 14 years for the man I loved.
I then shifted my focus to building a life in Singapore, and where better to start than my career. Wasn’t as easy as I thought to score a job in my field of studies, especially if you attended a tertiary institution overseas, so I decided to put all my effort and time into the restaurant job I was in.
Initially, things were great as I was commended and groomed for a managerial position by other Managers, without Mike’s involvement of course. However, being open and honest about our relationship at work wasn’t a wise move. Especially when Mike’s a senior management of staff, and I was only classed as a rank and file. Weeks went past until the news got to the higher management. The promotion didn’t happen. We were given the ultimatum. One of us had to leave. So I gave up, what could have been, my career.
Things seemed to turn for the better – I got a job in a media company a week after my unemployment, and Mike asked me to move in with him. By this point, Mike wasn’t comfortable that I was still friends with the people at the restaurant as he reckoned they were sticky beaks, so I culled my friendship ties, leaving me with no friends. Didn’t matter at the time because all I cared about was him. It was smooth sailing for a couple of months, and we both agreed that it was time to relocate his two young children, to live with us away from his alcoholic ex. His mother came as well to look after the children so we could both work without employing a domestic helper.
Life for me changed – AGAIN. It wasn’t easy to be let into a family circle, which was not yours to begin with. There sure were challenges, more so for me. Giving up friends and social life wasn’t a big thing because by then I didn’t have any friends left anyway. What I struggled with was the freedom to use my time however I wish.
No more sleep ins on weekends, and weekends were spent taking the children to their extra-curricular commitments. God forbid if I had to work Saturdays as that would disrupt the routine. Presence is, I learnt, very important in family life when children are involved.
It meant I had to rush home after work every evening so I could help out with their homework before they went to bed at 8. It meant putting aside my exercise workouts till after they had gone to bed, which by then I was too tired to do anyway. It also meant squeezing a waxing or facial appointment into my lunch break. Even then I got questioned with a judging tone whenever I occasionally called to say I’d be home a little late from work, or if I was having coffee with a colleague after work. It was worst when a mention of me going over to Perth for a few days to catch up with close friends and see how everyone was doing.
“Why would you want to upset the kids?” I was asked as if implying I had schemed it. There had been times when I thought to myself, “Maybe this is where I draw the line.” I have a life so different to this waiting for me back home, waiting for me to pick up where I left off. But I stuck on. I gave up my freedom. For love.
The stress of the relationship took its toll on Mike and I, and we rowed almost everyday. The added pressure of the instant family life was detrimental to the relationship. I was constantly upset with his self-centeredness. He admitted that he had stretched himself thin giving himself to his kids, work and social life, and he’s got nothing left to give. An opportunity to co-own a franchisee with the people he used to work with came to him like a saviour. About seven months ago, Mike packed up his family and moved to New Zealand to start a new life and career.
Am I ever regretful of the things I’ve given up for love? Definitely not. I believe things happen for a reason, and the Universe is telling us something through those events. And every experience in life, be it bad or good, makes us who we are.
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