24 years old,

6 boyfriends.

That's my relationship count. Not a lot, quite average (I assume), but that's not the point.

This is not an #exfiles, neither is this a #lovestory.

Or maybe it is, depending on how you see it. This is my love story, or how I managed to know a little more about myself after every failed relationship.

It's the story of knowing who I am and who I am comfortable being. And I hope every girl has this story to tell one day. 😳

It was one of the last days of school when I realised I might? probably? have feelings for you.

Then again, we were 12. What did I know about love anyway?

You collected your English exam scripts and smiled smugly at me. It was always a competition when it came to you.

Friendly, but still a competition.

We were one of the better writers in class, so you were always looking forward to crushing me when the exams rolled around.

Well, I was happy to be crushed if it made you smile.

You always had a penchat for the quieter girls, the ones that were not doing so well, I guess so your hero complex could showcase and you could well…swoop in to save the day when English came into play.

The more…expressive kinds, like me. You always called your "brothers" or best friends.

(Yes, girls get friendzoned too πŸ˜’, LOL I GOT BROTHER ZONED)

So I realised I became quieter and quieter as the school days went by.

Inititally, I think it was subconscious? Somehow having feelings for you made me succumb into wanting to become nothing but a mere stereotype.

At least I would be a stereotype you liked!

But as the days went by, I realised I grew comfortable in the quiet. And without even realising, I had lost something I never knew was special.

When people talked, I didn't. Even if I had a burning opinion or a come back.

I didn't want to become a brother just because I talked too much.

But I guess when I stopped talking, I lost my colour.

Because despite us briefly getting together, you lost interest somwhere along the way.

Fast forward 1 year, we ended up in the same Secondary school, still as close as ever.

Somewhere along the way, I think I found my voice back, and you dated a poster girl for the demure sterotype.

I felt a pang of sadness when I heard you guys got together. For a moment I wondered if it was because I didn't do demure as well as her.

Sometimes even now, I think about how maybe if I behaved a little bit more like a typical woman, maybe things would be a little easier.

I questioned my 火辣辣 personality and contemplated changing it, so things would be….you guessed it…easier.

But things don't get easier. Neither does love.

I'm glad we didn't get together in the end and that you didn't fall for my ploy of pretending to be demure.

I'm not glad for you tho, I'm glad for myself.

When I lost my voice, I realised how easy it was to change yourself and then become too comfortable with the change.

Today, you tell yourself, it's ok, I won't talk back to my boyfriend anymore, because he likes girls that are compliant.

Tomorrow, you won't think about talking back. You'll lose the ability to think for yourself.

Don't change yourself hoping love will come knocking on the door. You'll find that it is so easy to forget who you once were in the beginning.

The scary part isn't to change. It is to not realise and not remember what you were before that change.

And to not remember who and what you gave up.

So thank you, almost-boyfriend number 1, for teaching me to just…be myself.

Not sure if women are really just better lovers (haha, totally saying this because I AM A WOMAN) but you were my first girlfriend and a complete sweetheart.

I was a brat and you were sort of…a pushover. You never said no to me, never argued, never talked back.

Sometimes I feel like it was exactly because you never ever fought back that made me want to push all your buttons and make you mad.

In the beginning, I loved how we never argued, never quarrelled and how I always got my way.

I feel like a complete ass for even complaining about this now (dude, I'd give a million bucks to stop arguing with Daniel for a year πŸ˜’)

But for most of the time, I wondered if you didn't get angry because you didn't care,

or that you didn't get mad because you were too afraid to ruin the relationship.

When we broke up, nobody could comprehend. Actually nobody would.

Who breaks up because they weren't quarreling enough?

Me I guess. And on top of having too much of a good thing,

I guess you also taught me about how relationships that look perfect from the outside, aren't always the case inside.

And everyone's imperfect relationships are perfect in their own messed up way.

Daniel and I quarrel and get upset at each other really often (perks of working together), and if you could see me now, I think you'd want to hold me by the shoulders and shake me awake.

But you know what, I'm actually happier now. Who knows right? Such a mad world.

But thank you, for showing me how a fairytale relationship isn't for everyone. That one person's textbook perfect is a disaster for another.

I hope you found someone to appreciate your god sent temperament now and that that person doesn't push all your tiny buttons the way I did.

You deserve better than me. And I deserve better than you.

We just needed to find the right amount of the right things, given by the right person.

I broke up with you over text.

It was cowardly and it was the worst thing to do to someone who had unwaveringly stood by my side for 3 years.

I hid in the toilet, sent out the message and waited for the tears to arrive.

But they didn't.

That's when I knew that maybe, our relationship had reached its finality.

There were no problems, no tell tale signs, and so when I said those words, I think they hurt you.

Yet you never asked me to stay.

You asked why, but it always ended with ok.

The finality was deafening, yet at the same time you made me realise that if you love someone enough, you are capable of loving them without having to be with them.

You can love them from far far away, you can love without reciprocation and you can love with the knowledge that the love will never find it's echo.

When you said you'd let me go, you really did. And on some lonelier nights, I wish you didn't.

But for most of the part, I am glad you did. πŸŒ…

You made walking away seem like the easiest things to do. The messages stopped coming in, so did the calls.

It was only 4 years later that I realised you didn't date anyone again. And that the nights were long for me, but darker for you.

So thank you, for letting me go despite it being hard for you too. β™₯

I always tell Daniel, that with the stability of a long and good relationship comes the lack of what we call 暧昧.

And with most of my relationships (including this 7 year one with Husband Ng), the best part and the one I look back upon most fondly, is always the period of time whereby you're madly in love, but unsure if the other party reciprocates that love.

It is the short period of butterflies building a home in your belly and the happiness that the a couple begins to build in a bubble.

I think that it's attractiveness lies in the fact that it is so elusive and so short-living, that every couple ends up savouring it till the very last moment.

It gives way to the comfort of familiarity and the knowing that your love is reciprocated.

It lasts maybe…a year? Before you fall into the routines of old love and sink into a type of stability that keeps your feet firmly planted in reality.

So thank you,

To all my old loves

and the new ones.

And the current one that's enough to last me a lifetime.

Thank you for showing me how to love and for letting me learn how to love myself and in turn, love others.

Thank you for the fleeting moments of happiness in which I was truly, and irrevocably, basking in joy and contentment.

Thank you for the kisses, the hugs, the tears and the laughter.

For everything you've given to me, and for everything you've taken.

Not every love story has a fairy tale ending,

and not every love story needs a happily ever after.

But that doesn't make them any less beautiful and it doesn't make the lessons any less worth learning.

So thank you to the boy & girlfriends of my past. To the people who've taken a piece of my heart but eventually gave it back.

Thank you for keeping it intact while you had it,

and thank you for allowing me to take a little part of yours as well.

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