(This is an exploratory letter of the hidden fears that women try to keep under wraps when in a relationship. I am not sure if other women can relate to this but I am posting it here just the same… Who knows? It might just echo someone else’s feelings for her man.)
Dear Important Person in a Loving Woman’s Life (can be lover, husband, boyfriend, kalaguyo, imaginary boyfriend, etc.),
This letter is tucked in the deepest recesses of my soul. No matter how long we stay together or no matter how long I stay in love with you, it is not something that I will always write about or talk to you about. But trust me on this: not a single day of my life goes by that I don’t think of these things.
I love you, and this love frightens me because of the numerous ramifications it has for our future.
Secure women will say, no this has not happened to me. But any woman with self-doubt can relate if they have love in their hands and it is an ongoing love with flames that need to be fanned continuously.
I know that even when we say forever, statistics are against us. I see more failure rates than success rates in this venture of keeping our love alive. It’s a miracle to keep this thing going. It’s such a fragile bond, what we have.
Someday, many marriage books tell that the sparks will stop flying roughly after two years and spike at what is called the seven year itch. And when that day comes, you will find me at my worst. You will see me wake up with my hair all in an entangled mess with morning breath. During honeymoon phase, that will be cute, adorable, and worth looking forward too, muta notwithstanding. During the itchy moments, you will ask me not to touch you during hot weather (Mainit! Dun ka!) or because my arms have become too heavy for you.
My musings about life are cute at first and so are my constant reminders and shows of affection but it will become irritating noise to your reverie while you read the newspaper over morning coffee as we both approach old age. You will become busy at work, and I will succumb to old age and bodily dilapidation after raising so many children and cellulite. Your burping sound after eating which used to be jolting at worst will sound like a gong that has no end when my ears get desensitized by those bodily functions. And vice versa.
I will become irritable too and engage in activities you dislike. You might run the risk of turning from amorous lover and supporter into tolerable and charitable partner. Sometimes, even early in our relationship, I see the signs and it frightens me.
Men will not call you macho if you are unable to attract chicks during Friday night out with the guys. How am I going to react if I see lipstick marks on your collar one evening? Will I ever see lipstick marks of some bimbo who chose to gave you a good time? I can only trust in the Lord’s help that He will mercilessly pound on you if you go one those dark places with beer.
What happens after? When at first I become as delectable as kare kare to you but later I become like sardines where you only come to me when you have no choice. And there are other tasty girly salmon in the sea with little bellies who will flirt with you for your looks, for your money, for challenge, or for sheer conquest, or old flames from your younger years who will have second thoughts about not giving you a chance in the past and other malicious people out to make a morsel out of you will try to pair you up with them during reunions.
Years later, I will become like those pitiful old women who are wrinkled as raisins, sexually repulsive, and hardly attractive even when I subject myself to Botox and all those complicated procedures that people have made a billion peso industry out of. A day will come where there is nothing to be complimented about my looks. And you will stop complimenting me because I have become as common as a doormat or a fixture in our bedroom. At that time, I need you to compliment me the most than when we were young but I will never hear it come from you anymore. Probably if that time comes, I can only get intimacy by fondling cats with my feet and become the neighborhood’s “cat lady”.
Things will happen, too. Children will come and go, and what will happen to our union when all those responsibilities of adulthood start coming in. Will we be screaming at each other when we cannot pay the bills? Will we point fingers at whose turn is it to get the children’s report card and to make a beeline for the Meralco bills? Will I have a hard time inviting you to family day? Will you scream at me when I am no longer pretty or as bright as in my younger years? Will you resort to drinking alcohol with your guy friends at night when my waistline has become as wide as our waste basket?
The question is not “Will you love me tomorrow?” It’s more of “Will you still love me when the best parts of me are over?”
Someday, you will fail me on something. And I, you.
Will we be strong enough to hold on to each other, look other people in the eyes with conviction and say: “I have made the right choice in staying with this person.” And be fully convinced of that statement every single day? Are we ready, really?
Your parents or some of your other loved ones or your bestfriends may disagree with me too, over something– a life decision, a color preference, a move that will affect our family. People close to you may implicitly ask you to take sides on an issue, to choose between siding with them or me. Who will you choose when that day comes? Will I feel the comfort of your solid support or whimper like a scorned woman in the closet until all the humiliation is over? When your buddy from college insults me behind my back or insults me brutally in a formal event, will you protect my dignity? Or will you just laugh it off and make sure I don’t know about it?
And maybe there will come a day that only one of us will be capable of loving and holding on to this relationship as if it were the first time we went out on a date. We may have one crisis after another in our respective careers and our respective personal lives.
I cannot count on romance or initial physical attraction as the deep glue that will hold our relationship together, although we have a lot of those at the early phases of our relationship. I can only hope that you love me for deeper reasons, and will love me still when those deeper reasons have ceased to exist.
I can only hope that as we pursue things over time, we retain our respect for each other and the general faith that we want what’s best for each other. Because where there is no trust, we will only fall out miserably in this mountain of love. It’s easy for you to appreciate me while I’m at my best, but are you really up for the challenge of appreciating me in the middle of my worst fits, my pending rheumatism, my approaching senility, and my physical deterioration?
The frightening fact is that I will never know the answer until I reach that situation and see for myself. And if it actually happens that all these nightmares I conjured in my head are correct, I am no longer insulated or young to make mistakes or switch partners like in those PE classes in high school.
I hope that when you say you love me, you will not change your mind over time.
That it will remain true even when other sexier and more attractive women will try to lure you away as I lose my youth and verve.
That you will still miss me even when I cannot walk on my own or cross the street with the agility of a teenager.
That you will still choose to touch me and spend your weekends with me because you want to and not out of a perfunctory duty of partner to partner. (And good Lord, never out of plain charity or pity! Never!)
That we can sleep soundly at night and never feel that the other’s hug, kiss, or natural snores is an irritation or disruption of an otherwise peaceful sleep.
That you will not find crying babies in the middle of the night as liabilities but blessings to our union.
That you’ll actually be there for the long haul because it’s the final stretch where your presence counts, not when everyone is still admiring how young and beautiful I am.
I will never be able to know what kind of man you really are until after the sparks are gone. I can only hope. I can only pray that I made the right choice with you and you made the right choice with me.
Sorry if I have so many ideas in my head and fears that need to be assuaged. Women usually get the short end of the stick in a marriage in this side of the world, and I am not going to close my eyes just to delude myself that we are not trudging the same challenges together.
I hope we make it. And yes, even despite all these risks that don’t come with an insurance policy (even wedding rings are no insurance to heartaches, we know it)… I love you still and I am willing to take the risk. And hope that this love will stand in my pristine and raisin form now and in the future.
Love you always and I will always mean it.
Looking forward to experiencing the real deal with eyes half-closed.