They say you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. This would have been a very handy tip had the author been more specific in defining “a lot.” At least it would give girls an idea of how many more mistaken decisions they would have to endure before they can finally be with a tanned, gentle man whose biceps and triceps would gladly carry them into the sunset.
For Therese, however, it wouldn’t have mattered either way now. Single at thirty-four, Therese is convinced that she has seen it all—all types of men, that is. From immature twenty-something guys to we-should-get-married-now mid-thirty men, life has taught her that despite the many facades of the male specie, the truth of the matter is, they can all be frogs and princes at the same time.
Just right before she reached the big three-oh, Therese was in a serious relationship; serious enough to have her already scouting for a wedding dress. It was with a man who changed her negative perception of the opposite sex, a result of three untruthful relationships. But the euphoria of such serious romance ended just a year after an inevitable LDR arrangement took over.
But that didn’t permanently crush her world. Two years ago, she met the perfect man. Perfect because he had all the things she wanted in a man when she was just fifteen. He was her Richard Gere. Looked good, smelled awesomely good, and yes, significantly more mature than she was—and oh, he was newly annulled. But unlike in the movies, it didn’t work. Annulled men always have children who get in the way, and that’s not only in the movies.
Five failed relationships later, Therese now feels oddly complete. If there was anything she had gotten from all those misadventures, it would be wisdom. Over time she has learned to control and dissect her emotions better, she has learned the difference between having trust issues and just being plain guarded, and above all, she has learned to love herself more. Again and again her heart was broken, but time and time again she also realized that her sanity is so much more important than having a partner.
What she never gained in her journeys however was bitterness. All the disappointments contributed by each of the men she met were never reasons for her to collect grudges. Truthfully, at one point she had hated each of them, but likewise, they were also the reasons that made her happy in numerous instances in her life. She fondly thinks of them as Starbucks stamps that aided her to gloriously redeem a planner at the end of the painstaking process of collecting them.
Never mind the benefits of being single or being able to make decisions on your own, not having a better half means you’re a complete whole on your own. There is nothing wrong with being with someone either. After all, your Facebook relationship status will never define you as a person (unless of course if you’re switching it from “single” to “it’s complicated” and vice versa too many times). Prince Charming may or may not exist. Love may never be for everyone. But as long as you’ve got yourself enough cash to buy you a drink and a box of chocolates to get you through the overly commercialized annual event that is Valentine’s Day, then you’re good. ♥
* This article first appeared in The Philippine Star.