How Do You Know?

Last week, a friend and I were chatting and we got into the topic of ‘just knowing’ that the person you were with was the one you were going to significantly be with. Both of us wondered how people ‘just knew.’  Also, how do you know the other person got the memo?  There are, after all, two people in a relationship.


And once you both know, can your past or the stuff that happened with your parents influence you into not knowing?


Almost fifteen years ago (was it that long ago?), I thought I knew. I, we, were both so confident in the fact that we would be together that we spoke of marriage, children, where we would live etc. I was so sure that I failed to see how his dreams and mine just didn’t align. In fact, I was so sure that I didn’t even make my own dreams.


We were so young that we didn’t even know ourselves, so how could we possibly know we wanted to be with each other? When I started to explore my dreams, I realised that trying to be the person who fit into his dreams would be the end of me.


Then about seven years ago, it happened again.


This time though, it was more that I really wanted to know. Perhaps we both did in a way. We worked the social scene well, but he never really met any of my friends. Because I was the nomad and wasn’t fully rooted here, I was just sort of absorbed into his social life. There was a lot about the friends and family that I loved, but in a way, I wonder if I distracted myself into this elusive ‘knowing’. At some point, you have to wonder about not being able to have a meal together without the television on or just being able to do simple things together, like go for a walk in the sun, or go to the beach, things that require you to actually be together.


Maybe it is a personality thing.


I’m such a sucker for love stories it’s quite worrying.  In my travels I have friends who met their current partners when they were 19 or even younger than that. Somehow, they knew then and they know now. Something about their knowing allowed them the space to explore their dreams with the comfort of having a place to land in the end. Then I’ve met people who know within the first few meetings.  Then I’ve also met people who don’t worry about knowing for sure and just go with it.  And yet I also know people who might know but will analyse and second-guess themselves into not knowing.


Is it the curse of the thinker to never find this kind of knowing? – The kind that comes from deep wisdom and intuition instead of the head.


Or is it such that when the time comes, your heart will just know and your head will shut the fuck up?


Perhaps you can’t know until you truly know yourself and embrace the parts that you keep hidden from the world. Until then perhaps you will date the job title, the big car, the physically attractive person who will look good together walking hand in hand and at social events. It is perhaps not until you know the loneliness of that of relationship that you understand that perfection might not be perfect.


It is all an exploration isn’t it?


This knowing is such a mystery.


I don’t know how to know but I know that I can’t start to know until we can see each other without the glitz and the glamour (in my world, it includes being sweaty, smelly and occasionally teary and snotty as well). We can’t know until we can laugh with (and at) each other, fall over, make really bad jokes, go through conflict and recover, be in silence together, know how to tease each other, have conversations and walk, just walk without having to do.


We can’t know until we can just be together – you and me.  No candles or flowers, no sweeping off feet (definitely no sweeping off the feet), no social spotlight, just us being apart of each others’ unglamourous and sometimes even mundane and uninteresting lives.


Will I ever ‘just know’?


Perhaps I did.


But perhaps really knowing is over rated.


Perhaps it is just knowing enough, letting go of perfection and expectation, and then taking a leap of faith with the rest.  Perhaps it is a degree of surrender and a lot of trust.  What is life after all without taking some leaps and what value is love if there is no risk involved? And what can we know until we know?

ImageSoul Mates and Twin Souls by Dr. Tan Kheng Koo



Flower by Opulent Garden:

There are many days in a woman’s life when everything changes.  The first period, the first kiss, the first time you fall in love.  But there is one day, when things really change.  It’s the day you realise the man you’ve cared for, have loved even, for a long time just doesn’t love you back.

Once, when I was 21, I thought that I was in love.  It was crazy.  We argued about everything, and fought all the time.  Our fights were not constructive arguments. They were full-blown nightmares. I even remember telling him once that he made me want to die, and he used our fights as a reason to get high.  We said “I love you” at the end of every phone call, but that’s only because we thought we should. We thought it was passion, when really it was almost like a game to see who could hurt each other more.  He was the man I thought I should be with, same home town as my mother, spoke the same language, ate the same food.  Maybe it was too much the same.  Maybe I was trying to make up for the fact that I wasn’t “Malay” enough that I had to date someone who was pure Malay.

We were together for a long time though, but there is no doubt in my mind now that had we stayed together, we would have burned each other to cinders.  One day I decided that I had fought for the relationship enough, and I just let go.  What did he do?  He got stoned. Then I looked at him, at all the things that he had ever given me, and I realised, he didn’t even know me enough to love me.  What he loved was the idea of me. The person he loved, was who he wanted me to be. It was never who I really was. I know I hurt him when I left, but we would have lived in pain had I stayed.  And even though I was the one who left, I cried for months after.

Women.  We can be so smart that we have two degrees, a million certificates, own a business, have rent paid in time and be able to manage a dinner party for ten without breaking a sweat but when it comes to love, we are reduced to idiots.  When a man strays and messes up, we sit there and think about all the things we did, or didn’t do. We wonder where we went wrong. Did we give him too much freedom? Did we not give him enough? Were we never there for him? Or were we there too much? Was our cooking not as good as his mother’s? Were we not like his mother enough or too much like her?  Did we put on too much weight? Did we lose too much weight?  A million questions and a million insecurities followed by a million tears.

What would you do for love? Would you fight until there is nothing left of you? Personally, I have held on, and I have let go. When I held on, I kept faith in us, and when I let go, I did so having faith in him.   I was so busy having faith in him and us, I forgot to have faith in me. Sometimes though, you just need a man to fight for you or at least with you. Sometimes you just need a man to say to his family and friends, “this is the person I want to be with regardless of what you think,” and you need him to have some faith in you, and in you and him.  As hard as it is for a woman, a relationship can’t just be about you fighting alone.  It’s like a doubles game, where it is you and him against the world.  What happens when he just doesn’t rise to the challenge and fight with you? What happens when you realise that you were just something to fill a gap.  What do you do? You cry for days, weeks, months, and sometimes years, and then although it will take time, you have to have faith again… this time it’s faith in yourself.