I have always wanted to write this post but could never quite find the right words to frame what I wanted to share. And after putting this off for months, I decided it is about time I give it another try, to illustrate that when people remain single, it really isn’t that they are not trying, but that even trying doesn’t always get you very far.
I started thinking about relationships and marriage later than most, when I was approaching 30. Before that, this really wasn’t an important department in my life. There was so much going on that having a man there or not was simply irrelevant. So by the time I think I wouldn’t mind having someone around, many of my friends have already found that someone. And this really wasn’t bad because then they were able to help me in my project-M, and I could also tap on more resources, namely friends of their other halves.
Since then, I have tried a variety of methods and I have always thought that it would be a shame if I don’t talk about my failures and caution the next person who might be thinking of trying some of these avenues. And I also want to say upfront that in and of themselves, they are viable avenues to finding a life partner; but like everything else, they come with their own set of pitfalls.
I started my journey with the path of least resistance: introductions by friends, a.k.a. matchmaking. And over the years, I learnt first hand how awkward this could be when well-meaning folks doing the introductions, i.e. the matchmaker, did not do their homework. For instance, I have often been introduced to guys who were obviously looking for someone that I was not and I wondered why the matchmaker did not see that. Sometimes when I asked, they would give the reason that one never know for sure until one tries, which I guess is a debatable perspective. That said, I remain indebted to these friends who at least tried to help me along in my journey to find Mr Right.
The most normal type of matchmaking I have gone through was to meet the guy with a chaperone over a meal. In a number of these instances, I had to work doubly hard to keep the conversation going, a clear signal that the guy was not interested. That did hurt somewhat, but seriously, not as bad as having to work so hard during dinner to maintain polite conversation. Very often, I was simply relieved that dinner was finally over and I can tuck that waning smile away. During those times I wished the guy could just be more cooperative or more gentlemanly. There are a hundred and one ways to let someone know you are not interested, keeping busy silent or being petulant are really not the best ways.
My two most ‘exciting’ matchmaking sessions had to be those day trips organized by friends who felt that extended time together would help us get to know each other better; not realizing how hard it is to have to make polite conversation for an entire day with a stranger. And I have gone as far as JB for one of this! As much as I appreciate the thoughts friends have put into engineering these ocassions, I can’t quite lie and say I enjoy those moments with the guy, even though I enjoyed those times with my friends.
Where I am now, I am more careful about accepting invitations to meet someone in such a context. Older and wiser, I have come to appreciate the importance of physical attractiveness in the initial stages of any relationship; I no longer would meet someone whose photo I have not seen and vice versa. While I would be willing to give someone who does not meet my expectations in the looks department a chance, I realize that men usually don’t offer such second chances.
In addition, I will also make sure the matchmaker informs the other party of my age and what I do before the meet-up, for I realized that there are men out there for whom these two are key considerations. While it is sometimes disappointing that a guy chooses not to go ahead with the meet-up after learning all these, it is far better than for the meet-up to go ahead as planned and for both of us to waste our time going through the ‘event’ which would more often than not be awkward and painful.
These days, even as I remain open to meeting new people, I avoid going for matchmaking sessions because most guys come and meet me not because they are interested but because they want to get their friends off their back. As such, I would really like to encourage ladies to go into this with caution and discernment. It is possible for you to meet your life partner under such circumstances – that was how my sister met her husband – but it doesn’t always turn out the way we hoped, and it doesn’t hurt to be mentally prepared. It sounds oxymoronic but it is about finding the balance in being open and being careful with our heart.
P.S. I intended this post to cover all that I have tried, but looking at the length of this post, I think it is best that I leave the rest to the subsequent posts.