Below is a letter I wrote my best friend who is currently going through a rough time in his relationship. This applies to everyone who are still looking despite the fact that what they are looking for is just right in front of their nose. This also applies to everyone who has been in a relationship long enough to have passed the honeymoon stage and are now feeling doubtful, bored, unsatisfied. This letter can only do two things: shed some light or get you more confused than you already are. (Note: * not their real names.)
Dearest Monkey Potatoheadski,
Where to start? Last night I started writing something about obsession. I get obsessed with a lot of things and a lot of people. When I want it, I have to make sure I get it. I will do everything in my power to have it. If I have to cry or throw a fit or jump over a mountain or roll down a hill, I will, if that’s the only way I can have it.
Now, what does that make me sound like? A spoiled brat, right? Terrible.
I obsess when it comes to love. I am in love with love and romance which is why my life has become a huge romantic drama comedy movie.
But I want you to know that sometimes, I really like something only for the reason that I cannot have it. It’s the challenge of proving myself I can have anything and everything that I want. And then once I finally get it, it’s over, too late to realize I never want it in the first place.
I always tell my friends about my story of chocolate ice cream.
Imagine. All your life you’ve been eating chocolate ice cream. It’s the only flavor you know, the one flavor you ever tasted. You know the creamiest and sweetest details down to the littlest bits. You know how it melts in your tongue and how it can send you to moments of glory. One day you decide to go to the shop to get your chocolate ice cream and to your dismay, you find that there is none. Lots of other flavors are left, strawberry, pistachio, mango, vanilla, caramel. You name it. All new and exciting flavors are waiting to be devoured. Very tempting isn’t it?
And you start thinking: “should I just wait until the chocolate ice cream is available or should I just get a new flavor?”
It’s your call, but think about this: why did you go to the shop in the first place? Is it because you want ice cream? Or is it because you want chocolate ice cream?
If it is because you want ice cream, then go ahead and try all the new flavors you want. Two at a time, three at a time, get a dozen different flavors if you will. But if you went to get nothing else but chocolate ice cream, chances are you will wait until the shop restocks, or you will run to the shop, next block, to get the exact same thing.
Should you decide to try a new flavor, there are only two things that can happen, you will either love it and think that this will be your favorite flavor from now on, or you will regret it and feel terrible not getting your old favorite.
So, you like this girl and you think that if she likes you just the same, you will give it a try. *John, why do you like her? You said she’s the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen on earth. That is a pretty big statement coming from you, and yet it is embarrassingly and undeniably shallow at the same time. Is it only because she is pretty? What else? How well do you know her? How well does she know you?
And what about *Lilly? The two of you have been together for what, seven years? You’ve been through the best and worst of times together, emphasis on TOGETHER!
Maybe, because she’s traveling to Asia for some months, it has been easier to entertain new thoughts and consider new feelings of liking. I don’t know how she treats you, I have no idea how she shows you or make you feel her love, and obviously, I only know little about how you make her feel that she is loved.
What I do know and believe is that when you are in love, you stop looking. There is a reason why, out of the blue, you started looking, why you started reaching out to a girl from three years ago.
When Hisham broke up with me last September, Chris, my ex-boyfriend from Michigan, started sending me a lot of emails. This was the guy I met when I was 21 and had a two year relationship with. I am very sure that at that time, I loved him deeply. It was real and sincere. Four years later, he sends me an email telling me he’s been in serious relationships with other girls after me, but he can’t take me off his mind. He knows that I am the one he wants to be with.
I guess if I was the same person I used to be four years ago, tears of heavenly joy would have rolled down my cheeks and I would have easily left Egypt and flown to the U.S., but I am so much different now, and I also know that four years would have changed him as well. He said he still loves me, but that is not quite true. Who he loves is his idea of me when I was 21 and I am no longer that person.
I don’t know what it is with being or staying loyal to someone, but I am the kind of person who can only be in love with one guy at a time.
When I am in love with someone, I stop looking. I never looked for anyone because there is a reason I am with a certain guy to begin with. I never experienced being confused or torn between two lovers when I am in a relationship because I know what I want, I know what makes me happy and I choose to be with that person that I want and makes me happy.
When I went to Australia last August, I was still dating Hisham then, I travelled to Queensland for a few days and met this Brazilian guy who looks like a perfectly photoshopped image, and to my surprise, he was interested in me. If I was single at that time, maybe I would have awkwardly flirted back, but because I was with Hisham, no one catches my eyes but him.
The same story goes with Ali and everyone else I have been with. Whoever it is that I am with will always be the best, most loving, most attractive guy in my eyes despite his dirty nails or the snot in his nose, or his snort of a laugh that is clearly unattractive.
It is not about being with the perfect person but being with the person who makes you feel that you are perfect.
I don’t know how *Lilly makes you feel. And even I have not experienced being loved as though I am perfect. On the one hand though, I know that whenever I love, I make that person feel that he deserves the best and that, to me, he is perfect. It is quite sad realizing that in all my relationships (at least the recent ones) I always have to beg for their love. It felt like a constant battle of trying to win them over and fighting not to lose them, which I now regard as half-assing myself.
Like I said, you have to be with someone who makes you feel perfect. Who will love you for everything that you are, and accept you for your past, present, and future. At the same time, you need to be with someone who you will love for everything that she is. Someone who can make you stop looking, someone who can make you taste different flavors of love and life even when she is just one person.
And about your century long relationship with *Lilly, you have to really clear your head and look at it in all angles. Why are you with her? Is it because you love her or just because it’s the right thing to do? Is it because it is convenient or comfortable for you? Who knows, maybe she’s also thinking the same thing, I don’t know. And how will that make you feel if you find out she’s having exactly the same thoughts as you do?
If there is one thing I have learned, you shouldn’t stay in a relationship because it is the right thing to do or because it is what is expected of you or just out of responsibility and obligation. You should stay in a relationship because it makes you happy and because your heart is in it.
So, think. A lot! Where is your heart, *John? If it’s with *Lilly, then no doubt, stay. We shouldn’t even be discussing this. But if it is somewhere else, then do your heart a big favor and let everything go before you cause yourself a serious cardiac arrest.
Whichever you choose, there will always be a consequence. Nothing ever comes easy these days! If you go, then you have to understand that *Lilly might not be back should you realize that the other girl is not what you want after all. And if you choose to stay, you just have to let go of your thoughts and the maybes and the what ifs and all the what-could-have-beens with this other girl. The unknown can be quite attractive but it can also turn to ugly once you submerge yourself in it.
Tough luck, Monkey, but I know you’ll get through this.
You know I’m always here.
I love you,
PS. Why do you think the shop ran out of chocolate ice cream if it isn’t the best flavor there is? 😉