How I Found My Soulmate in Life, Part 3: Addressing My Inner Demons
This is part two of my love series where I share my love journey, how I met my soulmate (Ken Soh), and how to attract authentic love into your life. If you haven’t, read Part 1: My Journey in Love and Part 2: Appearance of Ken Soh (Someone I Knew Before) first.
Enjoying a quiet moment together, just him and I. (Photo from our Glasgow Engagement Shoot)
Personal Fears I Had to Address
As Ken and I grew closer, I contemplated many times whether to close him off. These thoughts had nothing to do with him and everything to do with myself.
Thought #1: “Is He a Player?”
My first thought was wondering if Ken was a player. Why? Because he seemed too good to be true.
In the first few days we started messaging, Ken mentioned that he had been clubbing frequently (three times a week). That threw me off as I have never found clubs to be the place for good conversation and meaning connections — they seem more for booze, sleazy pickups, “meaty” contact, and sexual trysts.
Ken’s Facebook cover image (no kidding) then and even till now. Who puts a clubbing image as their cover image unless they are some hard-core clubbers who club for sex and what not??
Why is he clubbing so often? Is he picking up girls every other night? I wondered. Am I one of the many girls he is messaging right now?
I was also wary about how nice and friendly he was. This could either mean that (a) he was very kind and sensitive (which would make him a real catch) or (b) he was some super smooth player who knew how to work his way around girls because he had seen one girl too many.
(b) seemed more likely because I already knew him to be charming back in university. Add that he (i) was the chairman of a popular committee, (ii) participated and won runner-up in a male modeling pageant, and (iii) had at least one girlfriend before (the one I saw from my bus stop sighting), and it was hard for me to believe that this guy would still be single.
Surely he has no trouble meeting girls, courting them, and winning their hearts, I thought.
My conclusion was that he was probably a player and I was just one of the many girls he was messaging.
So a few days after we began messaging back and forth, I stopped responding. :/ I didn’t want to be one of the many girls he was hitting on. I didn’t want to be another girl in his messaging list. I didn’t want to be disregarded as a woman, void of my value.
I didn’t want to be hurt again.
However, after I started ignoring his messages, I began to feel misaligned.
Firstly, I realized I was reacting from a place of fear, not love (which defies everything that I talk about at PE). By following my fears, I would only box myself into a reality where I thought I was safe — however, I actually wouldn’t be. All this would do would be to stifle my true self, my true desires, and my true life.
Like I mentioned in Are You Treating Dating as a “Game”?, I rather put myself out there, let my heart get sliced, diced and handed to me on a platter, than to be evasive out of fear of getting hurt. Fear isn’t what I want to live by; love is. While following my fears may keep me safe, they will never make me happy. I don’t want that.
Secondly, I was being ridiculous because I was faulting Ken for (a) being honest about his clubbing (which could well be a genuine hobby) and (b) being friendly. Up till that point, Ken had not done anything to deserve doubt. Firstly, he had been very reliable and prompt in returning my messages. Secondly, he had been fully open in his sharing. Thirdly, he had not tried to hit on me at all. These were clear non-player signs.
Thirdly, even if he is clubbing to pick up girls and is messaging a gazillion women right now, I thought, who’s to say that he can’t do that? He is single and free to do whatever he wants. I’m just an acquaintance. He doesn’t owe me anything.
I thought that if he was messaging me as one of many girls he was trying to hit on… then the joke was on me. I would need to be smarter next time. However, until that was revealed, I shouldn’t shut myself off. I wouldn’t be fair to myself (or him) otherwise. Who knows, I may perfectly shut off a great connection, I thought.
So after ignoring him for two days ( ), I returned his message, which then continued our back-and-forth messaging.
Thought #2: “He’s Not Interested in Me and I’m Just Imagining All of This”
Given that I had been hurt by non-serious guys before, I had lost much faith in my assessment of a guy’s interest (in me). I was tired of being led on by guys who behave in a non-platonic manner, only to get crushed later when they don’t reciprocate my intentions.
So I developed this policy: Always assume that a guy is not interested unless proven otherwise. For example, him expressing his feelings, asking me out consecutively on dates, discussing about our future together, and so on. To think otherwise would be delusional.
Hence, I constantly assumed that Ken wasn’t interested even though his messages were increasingly suggesting otherwise.
April 15, one week after his first message — Ken sharing that he has never chatted so much with anyone on Whatsapp before
April 18, three days later — Ken suggesting to make salads for me when I said I like salads
April 29 — Ken dreaming of me despite rarely dreaming (or rather, rarely remembering his dreams since humans dream every day)
It didn’t help that our connection started from a trivial “hi”. If our connection can be formed from something as simple as a “hi”, what’s to say that he isn’t forming such connections with other girls right now? I was skeptical of the strength of our connection though I seriously doubted he could recreate it with any other girl.
So bent on believing that he wasn’t interested that I held back at first.
I tried not to pay too much attention to his messages. I assumed he was a nice guy who would drop out of my life one day. Maybe this is just a phase, I thought.
I ignored signs which suggested interest. For example, once he sent me a nighttime lullaby he sang while I was on the night bus to Cape Town. I simply assumed that he had sent that lullaby to multiple girls or he had recorded it a year ago and had been sending it to different girls to woo them (LOL). Another example is the extent to which we were chatting — he would message me quite readily and frequently throughout the day. Many people, especially grown men in their early 30s, do not message this much unless it’s with someone of importance to them (or they have no life). I simply assumed that Ken was chatting this much with multiple other girls and I wasn’t the only one. ( )
I also assumed that his messages, however nice, were frivolous niceties he would say to anyone else.
For every nice thing he said, I would assume he was playing lip service. For every nice thing he did, I would downplay it as something he would do to any other girl/person. I was my biggest devil advocate, shooting down everything which suggested that this nice guy might actually be interested in small little me.
However, I gradually realized that just like with my first fear, I was jeopardizing our connection by being a skeptic.
Firstly, regardless of his interest, I felt that he was a nice person and I liked our exchanges. Romance aside, this is a connection I want to further, I thought. Even if it’s purely platonic, I want to build on our connection. Whether things would turn romantic was totally irrelevant.
Next, given that every connection is organically created by its constituents and I’m one half of our connection, by constantly thinking that he wasn’t interested, I could well be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, by turning a blind eye to all his niceties and treating him as just a friend, he could lose interest after a while even if he was interested in the first place. I would then be my own sabotager.
Not wanting to affect the natural course of events, I started following my heart and letting it lead the way. I began opening up by responding more promptly and openly. I began sharing more of my real self by sharing more of my daily activities and personal opinions. I began to do special things like buy chocolates for him after I returned home because I wanted him to know that I cared. I began to look forward to his messages every day like a little girl.
For me, I was doing those things because I wanted to and not because I was expecting some outcome. It didn’t matter even if he was not interested in the end; I just wanted to build on the connection we had.
Whether we will continue to be friends or otherwise, it will reveal in time, I thought.
Finally Back Home
After over two weeks of continuous Whatsapping, I returned home to Singapore on 24 April. By then, Ken had invited me to a BBQ with his good friends on 27 April.
BBQ Gathering (27 April)
The BBQ went well. I met his friends, met his mom (by chance), visited his house (where he made a salad for me), saw his room (where he has been living in since he was a kid), and observed how he interacted with his friends and mom.
I also got to meet and talk to Ken in person after all this messaging.
By then, it was clear that Ken isn’t a player, because no real player will (a) bring you to a private outing with his close childhood friends who brought their long-term girlfriends / wives along, (b) let you into his private space (e.g., his home where his parents live and his room which is his abode), let alone (c) introduce you to his parent(s). This was on top of his reliable, honest, and empathetic responses to all my text messages every day for the past three weeks.
The clubbing concern I had originally had also been addressed early on, as Ken revealed (in our natural conversation) that he clubs because he is genuinely interested in music and dancing. Pickups and meeting girls, he has absolutely no interest and was even thought to be gay by his clubbing friends because he never approaches or looks at girls while clubbing.
End of the BBQ
As Ken had another appointment that night (which he invited me to but I declined), we bade farewell after the BBQ, with intentions to meet soon to watch Iron Man 3.
By then though, I was freaking the **** out of my life.
Because for the first time in my life, I was closer to a relationship than I had ever been. I was no longer dealing with an emotionally unavailable guy nor a guy who wasn’t a match with what I was looking for. Neither was I not interested in the guy (which was usually my barrier to getting attached).
For the first time in my life, I had no excuse to remain single.
The Fear of Finally Getting into a Relationship
Us at a park. I often make heart-shaped signs at Ken using my fingers. (That’s my birthmark on my left index!)
I have already addressed a truck load of issues in the past few years of my growth journey, from inferiority with my femininity, being afraid to intimidate men, not recognizing my physical beauty, body image issues, emotional eating, grievances with my parents, to issues with being ignored.
Processing these issues have helped me to grow as a human/woman. They have also helped me to get closer to a conscious relationship.
However, being single for my entire 28-year life has made me extremely comfortable with singlehood. In the past 28 years, I’ve learned how to be happy as a single. I’ve learned what to expect in life as a single. I’ve learned how to live as a single. I’ve learned what it’s like to be free and not be attached to anybody.
But being attached? That I didn’t know. I had no reference point except from couple friends and shows/movies. Even then those are not my personal experiences; those are others’.
Ken had not asked me to be his girlfriend at this point, but that didn’t stop me from freaking out. I knew that we were going to head this way soon if I didn’t put a stopper to things. So freaked out I was that I had to call my friend W after the BBQ outing to air out my concerns. We ended up talking for over an hour as I lingered at my house void deck late into the night.
Deep down, I knew that Ken is a great guy and he is the best person I can ever get into a relationship with, if I was to get into one. Many of my fears had more to do with my resistance with getting into a relationship than about him.
However, I wanted to make sure that we had the foundational elements for a successful relationship, if we were to get together. I didn’t want to enter into a relationship only to split a short while later — this would be a waste of my (and his) time and energy. If I am to be with anyone, I want to make sure that I’m in it for the long haul — and I will also do whatever it takes to make things work out.
So then I sought to verify that through the one way I know how — by asking questions.
Ken’s Five-Round Intensive Interrogation (by Celes ♥)
I already knew that Ken is reliable, sensitive, kind, caring, sweet, etc. (otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten so close). What I needed to know were other dimensions of his character (including his past self, his persona as a boyfriend/relationship partner, and his values system) and uncover any potential red-flag issues which would prevent us from having a successful relationship ahead.
I began asking Ken questions to understand him on a deeper level and to tease out our compatibility as a couple — or even, as partners in life.
Continuous Questions… One after Another
While I was initially just sneaking the questions into our daily conversations, Ken’s utter and complete openness in answering my questions encouraged me to just dish out my queries openly.
I didn’t have the questions written out — they sort of just popped out one by one as we chatted. With each answer, I would process it thoroughly and chew on it in the context of his life and our relationship (if we were to be together).
If I ever saw a red-flag issue (like his smoking — more on that in part four –, differences in our religious alignments or how he approached past relationships), I would probe until I retrieved enough information for my decision making. I did not leave any stone unturned nor any crevice unexplored. I was on the lookout for blocks which would potentially stop us from making the highest connection possible.
Ken’s Admirable Composure
Interestingly, even when I was asking the most difficult, sensitive, or intrusive of questions, Ken remained calm. He was very forthcoming and would answer my questions fully, readily, and honestly — even when it meant revealing things he was not so proud of before; things which would put him at a disadvantage (in me considering him as a romantic partner).
While any guy would have felt intimidated and backed off within the first 10 minutes of such probing (much less multiple rounds), Ken wasn’t. He never showed any hesitance, discomfort, nor unhappiness at the range and depth of my questions.
It was as if he appreciated my questions and wanted me to ask more. And since he was so open in addressing my questions, I thought, Okay, why not just ask some more? And so I did.
Ken, after one of my “interrogations”.
The ”interrogations” happened over Whatsapp, phone, and in-person conversation. Each session usually lasted an hour, sometimes an hour and a half. I would stop whenever I got the answers I needed for the day, chew over the responses he gave me, then return the next day with more questions.
On 4 May (by then Ken had already answered a truckload of questions), we met for a late night out with his friends, after which we went for supper.
After his friends went home, we lingered around to chat. (We were at the seats in front of Plaza Singapura at Dhoby Ghaut Station). After an hour or so, he indirectly asked me to be his girlfriend, after which I dished out my final questions before commenting on anything.
This was the first time I saw him sweat in person.
At Loch Lomond
Then on May 5, 5:55am, after 30 minutes of final grilling (and four separate “interrogation” sessions which happened earlier that week), I had no more questions left. I was satisfied with all of Ken’s responses to everything which I had asked and I was finally ready to be with him.
Ken had allayed all of my fears and reservations with his patient and forthcoming answers and had helped me to move to the next step of our connection.
A New Phase of Our Relationship; A Place of Uncertainty
While we had gotten together, I wasn’t sure how things would work out since this was a new phase in our connection.
I told Ken to view our new status as experimental and he was free to leave if he realized at any point that this relationship wasn’t what he was looking — same for me as well. I didn’t want either of us to feel like we needed to stay attached just because of our new labels of “girlfriend” and ‘boyfriend”.
I didn’t know if our relationship would last and how long it would go, even though he is definitely my best match I had met my entire life. I was prepared to go all the way to make things work out, but at the same time I didn’t want to force things if there were fundamental issues (despite all my grilling to uncover them).
It wouldn’t be long before I realized that this guy is actually the one for me forever.
Proceed to part four, where I share how I realized that Ken is my soulmate in life: Part 4: How I Realized Ken is The One for Me Forever.
This is part three of my love series where I share my love journey, how I met my soulmate (Ken Soh), and how to attract authentic love into your life.
- Part 1: My Journey in Love
- Part 2: Appearance of Ken Soh (Someone I Knew Before)
- Part 3: Addressing My Inner Demons
- Part 4: How I Realized Ken is The One for Me Forever
- Part 5: How Ken Realized I Am The One for Him (and Your Other Questions for Him, Answered!)
- Part 6: Your Guide to Love: 10 Steps to Attract Authentic Love into Your Life
- Part 7: How to Know When You Have Found “The One” (8 Questions to Consider)
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