Relationships

Lies and Ties

It’s been a while since my last post and it’s mostly because this one has been cooking for a while. November is always a difficult month for me as it has a lot of painful memories. The reason it took me forever to finally write this down is because I want to be careful about how I get this message across.

When it comes to romantic relationships, a lot of people have probably experienced infidelity. Either they have been cheated on or they have cheated. People have different standards of what cheating is. It can be as simple as a flirty text message, or as complicated as having another family hidden somewhere. Regardless, this post is about how one can deal with being cheated on.

To start things off, let me tell you about my story. I was in a relationship with a man who I thought was a decent guy. He talked about his mom a lot and he generally acted like a gentleman around all women. Unfortunately, I found out he was cheating on me less than a year into our relationship. That began five long years of repetitive arguments wherein I would catch him cheating, we would fight, he would apologize, and we would get back together.

At this point, most people would ask me, why the hell did I stay for half a decade? While initially I would answer because I love him, and for the longest time I believed that, I realized eventually that wasn’t true. I was in love with who I thought he was. And when I found out some six months into our relationship who he really was, I was angry with myself.¬†I stayed in the relationship out of pride. I refused to accept that I was wrong in choosing him. I thought if I stayed and gave him everything, he would change and turn into the guy I hoped he would be.

I was wrong. After all those years of putting up with his lies, he broke up with me. He said he didn’t want to hurt me anymore. Less than 24 hours after breaking up with me, he announced his new girlfriend. She was one of his students, and was eight years younger than me.

This broke me. Even though I say I didn’t really love him, he broke me. The affair had been going on for months and everyone at our workplace knew except me. I had my suspicions but I thought it would just be another fling that he would get over. I was so humiliated and hurt that I couldn’t work. I spent all my vacation days to leave the country for a month. I went to Singapore and stayed in my room, crying the whole time.

When I returned, I threw myself into work. But I was angry. Angrier than I’ve ever been in my life. I was a supervisor and my team took the brunt of my fury. I was yelling at everyone for every little thing. I thank them that they understood what was happening to me during that time.

Now this is the part where people would ask me, what happened after that? I like to annoy them by saying we got back together, we’re married now, and have a baby on the way. ūüôā

WHAT?!

Yeah, I hear you.

So how did that happen? Well, after six months of crying and yelling at people, my sister who is a devout Christian invited me to go to church with her. I don’t see her much and thought I could sit through church for an hour and a half if that meant we can go hang out after. I was a non-practicing Catholic. I even almost cancelled that Sunday morning because I wanted to sleep in. When I was about to text her to cancel, she texted me first, saying she was waiting outside my apartment. So… LoL. Off to church we go.

I was not religious in any way. A lot of things have happened in my life and I ended up living some twenty years without entering a church. For some reason, though, I was invited to go to church on that exact day to hear this message,

“It is not a wife’s job to change her husband.”

If you’re not religious, you may call it serendipity or luck or just plain stupid. But at that moment, I came to realize something. I realized I spent the last five years being angry because I was trying to change a man and was failing miserably.

Now this post isn’t about how God magically healed me and changed my life. I know not everyone buys into that and I want everyone to understand that you don’t have to be the religious kind to deal with the pain the same way I did.

The key thing I want everyone to understand here is: Change Yourself. This is something that was very hard to swallow when I started out. I was a proud and independent woman who always, always followed the rules.

Why should I change? He’s the one who did something wrong!

That’s exactly the problem. Whether you are in a relationship, or just ended one, you should always focus on what you can do to improve. You are not doing this to please the other person, you are doing this for yourself. Do you know how exhausting it is to hold on to a grudge? You won’t know until you feel how light it is to let go.

For months, I focused on myself. I thought about all the things I did wrong in the relationship. The nagging, the yelling, and even throwing his past mistakes in his face during arguments. All those times, I could have just backed off and let things go. I thought about all the hurtful things I said whenever we argued. All those things I could have let slide. I saw how toxic our relationship was. I realized that’s not the kind of person I wanted to be. I had to change. Not to win him back, but to be better.

Several months after breaking up with me, he asked if we could talk. It turned out the little young thing he was with had gotten over dating older men and found something else to amuse her. He said he missed me and wanted to get back together. (Stop rolling your eyes, I see you!)

I wasn’t seeing anyone during that time and I did miss him. I said we can start over. I’m still not sure if I should have just moved on but the first few months back together were the hardest. I felt such a strong urge to make him suffer the way I did. I was still so pissed. Everything he did annoyed me. Every time he tried to do something nice, something cynical would pop in my head and it would take every ounce of willpower in me to hold my tongue. (We would be in the mall and he would¬†point to a cute little girl in a fairy costume and all I could think of is, “Oh, maybe you’d like to date her, too?”)

It was hard as hell but you know what? It became less hard over time. Months went by and eventually the cynical remarks stopped popping into my head. I stopped clenching my fist whenever he would say he loves me. I stopped getting annoyed by the things he did. I just started being happy again.

This post isn’t meant to tell you to get back together with your cheating ex. By all means, leave his cheating behind and find someone better. This is meant to tell you¬†that trying to change a person you can’t control will only make you frustrated and miserable. Focus on changing someone you can control – yourself.

Whether or not your current partner is meant to stay is beside the point. Try saying “good morning” or “I miss you” a bit more. Try ending arguments sooner. Try to not bring up past arguments when you’re upset. It would be hard, I know. But try it anyway. If your partner doesn’t respond to it, it doesn’t matter. You’ll feel better if you change to improve yourself, instead of changing to get a result from your partner.

Pregnancy Rants

Three Things Pregnant Women Can’t Say

If you are anything like me, and you are pregnant for the first time, you might be surprised to find that there are a few things you are not allowed to say as a pregnant woman. The frustrating part about it is that people would sometimes lure you into the trap by asking you a seemingly innocent question. Here are three of the questions you need to watch out for:

1. Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?

The correct answer to this is, of course, “as long as the baby is healthy.” The thing is, if you make the mistake of saying you are hoping for one or the other, you will quickly learn the correct answer. Most likely the person who asked the question will tell you. It doesn’t matter what your reason is for wanting either, any mom-to-be who expresses gender preference means she will love one gender more.

2. How many kids do you want to have?

Don’t say anything that’s less than two. You’re free to say a dozen but even doctors will frown if you say you just want one baby. What kind of mom wants just one baby? You’re supposed to want hundreds of babies bouncing around in your house regardless of your financial capacity or tolerance for pain.

3. Is your pregnancy difficult?

This question has a lot of variations. The most important thing to remember is to never express any unhappiness with your pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you have been in and out of the hospital due to pregnancy complications. It doesn’t matter if you are constantly in a lot of pain. You are supposed to be a hundred percent happy about every detail of your pregnancy. Complaining about it means you are ungrateful for the blessing that a lot of women can only pray for.

If you manage to survive your pregnancy without saying any of these taboo things, you are on your way to becoming a good mother. And for those of you who¬†are not currently pregnant, please consider that pregnancy is not all sunshine and roses. It can be scary and even dangerous. Please consider that sometimes someone who is going through it needs to express her feelings about it without fear of being judged. But that’s just a suggestion, feel free to chastise any time you want.

Pregnancy Rants

Don’t Be a Tough Momma

I get it.

You’re an independent woman who happens to be pregnant right now. It’s awesome and you want to have the best of both worlds. Yes, it can happen. One thing I learned in the first four months of my pregnancy, though, is that you can’t act tough.

 

Since this is my first pregnancy, I had no idea what I’m supposed to do. I’ve seen plenty of women who continued working while pregnant and everything turned out fine for them. As a 30-year-old career woman, I assumed I could do the same.

After researching for a bit which aches and pains were normal for pregnant women, I decided I was strong enough to juggle both work and pregnancy. A little over two months into my pregnancy, I started getting cramps which I assumed was perfectly normal. My uterus is expanding, right? Or something like that.

After a week of of cramps, spots of brown blood appeared. Dr. Google told me it was probably¬†implantation bleeding which was supposedly as normal as morning sickness. I braved through it without consulting my doctor. I didn’t want to be the panicky greenhorn who constantly texts her doctor about every little thing.

A week of my self-diagnosed implantation bleeding went by and it seemed to get worse. This was when I decided to text my doctor to ask how long I can expect the bleeding to last. To my surprise, she was unhappy with the fact that I did not text her for two weeks of having weird symptoms. She ordered me to go straight to her clinic.

It was a threatened miscarriage.

Over the next two months I spent thousands upon thousands on medication and medical bills just trying to keep my baby. I spent a lot of time away from work because everything I did made me bleed even more. Not only was I burning through my savings, I also lost two months worth of wages. Thankfully though, the bleeding and other symptoms stopped.

Of course, my stupidity didn’t stop there. (That’s why I have time to write this now)

People kept telling me that problems only usually arise during the first trimester. Since I was in my second trimester, I assumed that meant everything will go back to normal. I went back to work and tried to make up for lost time by trying to be extra enthusiastic.

Just two weeks after going back to work, I woke up with massive cramps. It was so bad I could barely stand. My doctor told me to stay in bed and take a day off. A day’s rest did the trick and the cramps were gone the following day. Instead of cramps, I was greeted by a pool of fresh red blood that had soaked through my shorts while I was sleeping.

Another threatened miscarriage.

This time around, my doctor was not taking anymore chances and ordered a month of complete bed rest for me. That means no chores, no shopping, no working, no nothing. She said that if my cervix opens up even just a little I will lose my baby.

I was in tears.

I take pride in my work and in my independence. I used to¬†be so busy I would completely forget about meals and I loved it. But my baby is telling me to slow down and I need to listen. This isn’t just about me anymore.

Pregnancy Rants

Lies They Tell Pregnant Women

There’s a lie about pregnancy that has been promoted for generations. It’s something that has been made worse by movies and TV shows that portrayed this lie.

That lie is called, “Morning Sickness.”

Let me tell you about Morning Sickness. I would very much like to sue whoever coined this term as it is grossly inaccurate and gives false hope to hapless pregnant women.

There is nothing “morning” about it. It will plague you from the moment you wake up until the sun goes down at night, and even while you are sleeping. Yes. While you are sleeping. Vile liquid will spring forth from your gurgling stomach and you will wake up in a pool of last night’s dinner.

You know all those movies where pregnant women are shown running to the sink and just make hurling sounds then cover their mouth looking horrified?

Those are very misleading.

They make you believe that it is possible to have morning sickness while keeping the rest of the area visible on cam clean. You’re given the hope that the small off-cam space, which presumably is a standard-sized sink, is enough to contain your expelled food.

The truth is food will be expelled from your mouth with so much ferocity that it wouldn’t even be possible to make it to the sink without defiling the rest of the room. The hurling sounds are also not always true. Sometimes all you have to do is open your mouth and vomit will fly right out like water from a fireman’s hose.

The only accurate TV/Film depiction of morning sickness that I can think of is that vomit scene in The Exorcist (1973). Most likely you’ll also look like that from exhaustion and pain. Prepare to clean because there will be vomit on the walls, on the floor, on the sink, on the toilet, in bed, and pretty much everywhere else.

Now that I’ve terrified you enough, some of you may ask how I lived long enough to write this post. Well here are a few things that helped:

1. Small frequent meals – This will be tough. If you eat too much, you will get more acidic and will have more to throw up. If you don’t eat for a long time, you will get more acidic and you will still throw up only it will hurt like hell because you will have nothing to expel.

2. Avoid good food – Haha. Avoid oily food, chocolate, caffeine, fizzy drinks, citrus fruits, alcohol, etc. Anything that makes you happy is probably going to make you more acidic, hence you will throw up more. Believe me, I tried them all.

3. Antacids – This works only as a temporary relief. In my experience maybe 30 minutes tops. Consult your doctor first but mostly just take this if you need to pull yourself together for half an hour for a meeting or whatever.

4. Don’t drink lots of water –What?! I’m kidding. Water is good. Just don’t drink a lot of it eat during meals. Drink water in between meals.

Please take note that these things just helped. They did not eliminate the morning sickness. They just helped me survive until my 13th week of pregnancy. On my 13th week, all the hurling just magically stopped. If you’re going through this as well, just hang in there and try to survive.