Life, Writing

What? No Romance?!

High school friend just got engaged. And I’m happy for her. πŸ™‚ She and her boyfriend have been together for 6 years. I’ve seen them together, and have heard her talk about him on more than one occasion. I can see that they really love each other, and their relationship has been solid. Or to maybe use a word that I don’t like, it’s a mature relationship, which I guess is what you need to have if you’re getting married. So congratulations to them. I wish them a lifetime of happiness.

That said, I really hope that no one misunderstands this post. I’m not writing this to criticize them. I kind of just wanted to say how I have a different opinion on what a relationship should be about. Haha, I know, me talking about relationships is as ridiculous as saying that CJC is a National Artist for Visual Arts, right? Oh wait—

Okay okay, silly stuff and disclaimers aside, I really did feel strange when I read my friend’s post about her engagement. I mean, I felt happy for her of course, but I also felt a little bit like something was amiss. But here’s another disclaimer just to make sure no one mistakes this for a bitter rant: We all have different opinions, right? Especially about relationships, or, okay I’ll go right ahead and say it, about love. And so this is what I think.

My friend said that this was what happened: He got down on one knee, but didn’t get to say anything. She begged him not to ask the actual question because she was too shy. There were no flowers involved, no candlelit dinner, or other cliches. Not even the question “Will you marry me?” was asked. And yet it was a marriage proposal.

Anyway, she said that for her, that was perfect. She said that she was happy that their “relationship doesn’t thrive on romance and sweetness but rather on laughter, respect, and friendship, and that she has always been proud of that.

Well, kudos to her! I’m glad she’s found someone whom she can spend the rest of her life with. And I guess there’s a certain point to what she’s saying. Yesterday I heard on the radio that there comes a point in a person’s life that he/she will no longer care about romance and will just be looking for companionship (or even mere friendship). The DJ on the radio said that eventually, everyone’s going to feel that way— that more than romance and butterflies in the stomach, what will be more important is that we have someone to talk to before we go to bed, be it a friend, or someone you just like, but that you’re not in love with. I really wouldn’t know, because the DJ also said that this point comes when you’re much older and much more, (it’s this word again) mature. So maybe he’s right, and that’s what will happen to all of us in the future. But… Life without romance? Or rather, love without romance? But that’s like breathing without oxygen!

Now, don’t get technical on me and say that we don’t have romantic feelings for a lot of people we love anyway, e.g. family members and close friends. Of course I know that. And it would be awfully weird to expect romance in that kind of love. So what I’m talking about here is the boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife kind of love. And that kind of love, I just really can’t imagine wihout romance.

Of course, when I say “romance”, I don’t just mean the Hollywood kind of romance that involves big gestures and airports and (often) public humiliation. But rather, the sweet moments that are likely to happen in real life, like long walks on the beach, or sharing an umbrella on a rainy day.

I once asked a friend (a different one), if she and her boyfriend ever have “movie moments”, I called them. “You know, the kind of moment that’s so picturesque that you can’t believe that it’s really happening?”

It took her about a minute to think of one. And all she could tell me was that it felt really strange (but in a good way) when her boyfriend introduced her to his family as his ‘girlfriend’. Well, I wasn’t there, and it didn’t happen to me, so I guess it can be considered a surreal experience. But I’m thinking that maybe she didn’t understand my question. I was curious to know if her boyfriend ever made any grand, unbelievable gestures for her, like if he ever chased her down the street just to give her another kiss before she went home, or if he ever sent her flowers at work (Yes, this counts as a movie moment!). She said that things like that didn’t happen to them, and that they’re more of a “traditional” kind of couple. Fair enough. After all, it doesn’t mean that if you don’t have movie moments, then you’re in a bad relationship. On the contrary, there are a lot of relationships that involve a lot of movie moments, but are really unhealthy, if you take a closer look at them. So maybe that’s the question I should be asking:

Between a relationship that has a lot of crazy, surreal experiences, and a relationship that’s based more on stability and friendship rather than big romantic gestures, which would you prefer?

For the two friends I mentioned, I guess they prefer the latter. But as for me, I really think that I’d rather have the former.

Some people say that you get hurt more if you lose a relationship that involves pushing your emotions (including joy) to the brink. But I honestly don’t think that you get hurt any less if it was a stable relationship that ended. In the end, you will just have lost the same — an important part of yourself.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m too idealistic. I also heard on the radio that if you’re a “destiny addict”, then love isn’t meant for you. That could be true, but I don’t think that believing in romance makes you a “destiny addict”. I don’t think that a person is stupid or naive if she still believes in getting swept off her feet in this day and age.

I read from a book called The Writers’ Wives, that Isagani Cruz, one of the more famous Filipino writers, while he and his wife were stuck in traffic, in different cars (because they came from different places, but were stuck at the same inetersection) once bought roses from a sidewalk vendor, and asked the vendor to give the flowers to “the woman driving the car in front of me”. There was no special occasion or anything, he probably just saw someone selling flowers, and he decided to buy some for his wife. And I don’t know about you, but I think that that’s one of the sweetest things I’ve ever read about. Imagine, to always be remembered whenever your husband sees some flowers, especially after so many years of marriage… Well, it certainly proves that romantic gestures are not just figments of our imagination. Or maybe I should cite my own grandfather, who although isn’t a writer, was able to come up with the absolute best words to tell my grandmother just before she died;

“I love you, not only ’til death, but forever and ever.”

I’m not saying that it’s easy finding someone whom you can have those feelings for, or who will say those kinds of things to you. And I’m not judging the people who prefer stable relationships, where you don’t even have to ask the actual question to ask the girl to marry you. (“Popping the question” is overrated anyway, especially after watching so many Hollywood productions.) But I just feel like there’s something missing in those kinds of relationships. Shouldn’t there be more than just simple conversations and civilized agreements between a couple? Shouldn’t there be drama? Shouldn’t there be passion?

I had a post before, ranting about something I read off a greeting card: “[It’s] those everyday, simple, no big deal moments [that] make my happiness.” I said that I think that moments that make you happy should always be a big deal, because being happy isn’t exactly simple.

So I guess this entire post stems from that, and you know, my friend getting engaged in a non-romantic way. I mean, won’t her grandchildren get bored with the story of how she and their grandpa got engaged? But more than that, if there isn’t a kind of feeling that makes you want to scream at the top of your lungs in the middle of a crowded street, not caring that people will think you’re crazy, or that you just might get a heart attack from all the excitement, if it isn’t an epic romance, even to yourself… how will it work out?

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10 thoughts on “What? No Romance?!”

  1. A relationship must be a mix of both passion and companionship. Wanting companionship right from the beginning is not wrong; its just that relationships normally take time to reach that level. First comes attraction, then comes liking, then love. Companionship comes as a complimentary thing to a profound relationship .

  2. It was actually very romantic. Well, she might say that it’s not based on romance and sweetness, but I think it is. I’m not really sure how to explain it… perhaps that light smack he gave her back then when we accompanied her to class. Or that he also offered to accompany me until i could catch a ride home. They started their relationship without questions anyway. (Nasa tapat lang yata sila ng building, tapos… yun.) I guess that’s how they’d start their… engagement. They’re kind of an unconventional couple, but I think that’s what makes them tick. The original plan was that he’d pop the question during the gondola ride. And, based on how I saw them, or how I think I know them, that’s kind of weird.

    The story they’ll tell in the future would be very funny, actually. How, the guy asked the girl’s mom first. Akala nga ni Tita uutang ng pera yung lalake. Hehe. They’d tell them of the gondola mishap. (Hindi natuloy yung plan na yun, because the gondola ride was in another island). They’d tell them how the two witnesses suddenly moved away from them to get a great angle for a photo shoot. She was very panicky and half-screaming… and incoherent at that time. I thought it was funny. She’s generally calm and collected.

    I think most relationships start out big, dramatic… even if we don’t see it that way. Kinikilig ka naman talaga initially. He brightens your day, or somewhat. Maybe that’s not exactly movie material, but I think it’s a BIG thing when someone has the capacity to move your emotions even if it’s not to the brink.

    In the long run, it just becomes structured: part na siya ng buhay mo. Everyday may not exactly be exciting or passionate like what we read in novels or see in movies, but perhaps, that’s where your happiness lies: in the calm.

    With regards to your question: “Between a relationship that has a lot of crazy, surreal experiences, and a relationship that’s based more on stability and friendship rather than big romantic gestures, which would you prefer?”… Gusto ko yung stability and friendship with a sprinkle of romance. I hope that’s possible enough.

    She said it herself. That she’s incredibly happy. And it’s “surreal”. Their romance isn’t epic, I’ve watched it from the start. There wasn’t any sudden highs or drastic lows. It’s can’t really be categorized as a romantic comedy, nor was it a drama either. It’s the kind of movie that, now that I’ve seen the ending (or, rather, it’s new beginning) that makes me feel just… right.

    1. And so I keep forgetting that the best answer when you’re being asked to choose between two options is a third one. πŸ™‚

      This is what I get for not knowing the whole story. But I do know that it’s always different when you’re the one in the situation, rather than someone from the outside looking in.

      Anyway, now that they’re going to spend the rest of their lives together, they’re going to be making lots and lots of memories, that would be exciting to tell people in the future. I guess any relationship that works out, no matter how strange it seems to other people (who cares what other people think anyway?), is epic. πŸ˜€

      P.S. I do hope I read a similar post from you, Les. One that specifically mentions a date and a place (like Corregidor? πŸ˜‰ ) hehehe.

      1. haha! Well, that’s far from my concerns right now. What with prc mayhem, usmle applications and review attempts, and trying to look for a job. Malabo pang mangyari yan.

        when we atteded the UST thanksgiving mass, everyone was talking about decisions if we were going to take up specializations now or take the usmle. Everyone factored in marriage, and having children in their decisions. I cringed. Maybe i’ve just been single for far too long, i don’t care how old i am to be concerned if my ovaries are drying up. haha. anyway, if it comes, it comes.

        πŸ˜€

          1. I wouldn’t exactly call it a great career as I am presently unemployed. Pwe. hehe.

            I think it sucks that a doctor gets his/her license, and then looks for a job, which would pay her (IF she’s lucky) 10K/month. (Tapos putol putol pa yun, parang katulong: 1,200 per duty). Whereas a lawyer, once getting licensed, can get paid 60K/month. Stable pa ang trabaho mo.

            LECHENG BUHAY!!!!

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