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Some of my acquaintances have asked me why did I decide to jump into the dating pool after so many years.  Yes, it has been a few years – four to be exact.  Well, many things changed in my life recently.  For example, I found out that more than anything else, I want to be in a happy relationship, to love and be loved.  It’s not exactly do-able if I were to remain single.  More importantly, I found out that the guy I was (am?) in love with for the past four years did not love me the same way.  Before I explain, let me rewind time and tell you the story from the beginning.

I moved to California five years ago.  I spent the majority of my first year here meeting people and making new friends, something I thoroughly enjoy even today.  During one of the gatherings, I met “K” and connected with him instantly.  It was not love at first sight, but he broke down my wall of hesitation with his charming pursue.  What did he do?  He would drive almost 80 miles round trip, several times a week, just to have lunch with me.  He would engage me in some of the most interesting conversations at all hours of the day.

After hanging out platonically for almost one year, he finally asked me out.  How can you say no to a guy who drove 80 miles just to hang out?  It took me a little while to warm up to him, but I soon fell head over heels for him.  But as my love for him grew stronger, he began to withdraw himself emotionally.  We had arguments over his emotional availability more often, and two years into our relationship, I called it quit.  However, since we became friends first before we dated, I thought it was perfectly OK to hang out as friends afterward.  Or so I thought.

Even as our relationship turned south, our friendship flourished.  We became closer than ever — we would share inside jokes and lean on each other for support and advice.  He would call me to hang out, and we would have lunch and/or dinner about once a week.  I didn’t know it at the time, but hanging out with him even as friends deepened my feelings for him.  It took a vacation away from him to discover my true feelings for him.  So I asked if he would give the relationship another chance.

Turned out while my feelings for him deepened, his feelings for me changed from a romantic one to a purely platonic one.  Not only that, he’s now dating others.  Needless to say, I was devastated.  Looking back, I realize I let his enthusiasm and friendliness fooled me into thinking he still cares about me the way he used to.  I thought the fact that he wanted to hang out so often meant that he still harbors romantic love for me.  Well, I was wrong…very wrong!

What do you do when you love somebody who doesn’t love you back?  You learn to let go of the emotion, the past, the dream of the future, and everything about that person.  It took me a while to get it straight in my head, but I am finally learning to let it go.  And part of letting go is rediscovering others around me.  That’s why I decide to date again.  It’s the only way I am moving forward with my life in the romance department.

Learning to let go is one of the hardest things I ever have to do.  But every time I think about how difficult it is, I say to myself, “This is not helping” to stop myself from feeling sad.  Acceptance follows, even if it’s for just a little while.  But with each passing day, it gets easier.

For all you heart-broken souls out there, I feel your pain.  Sometimes it feels like you are suffering by yourself all alone, but that’s not the case.  At least I am suffering alongside you, even if I don’t know you.  In the end, you will triumph, and you will feel good again.  You have to believe that!

This post is dedicated to my friend, ADK.  While I can’t be there for you in person, I am with you in thoughts!

As mentioned in my previous post, I recently decided to get back into the dating game. It’s only been two weeks, but I’ve met quite a number of people already. Alas, most of the people I’ve met so far don’t make very good first impressions. Nevermind dating, I am not even sure if I want to hang out with them as friends based on their initial behavior. But rather than criticizing, I thought it may be more constructive to write about the kinds of behavior that are complete turn-offs. Here goes (they are not in any particular order):

  1. Do not interrupt conversations needlessly. I met this guy recently who interrupted me six times in the first ten minutes of our conversation. He not only butted in when I was talking, he RAISED his voice to get his two cents in. I finally had to tell him to stop talking over me. He initially complied, but it was back to square one after that. Guess I won’t be talking to him again!
  2. Be careful of the questions you ask. Another guy I met asked me questions that were simply inappropriate for the first meeting. For example, “Were you married before?” simply wasn’t a question you ask a person you have just met, regardless of whether the meeting was platonic or romantic in nature. Stick with neutral questions such as hobbies and activities instead!
  3. Don’t carry on a soliloquy about yourself. Yes, we all like to talk about ourselves, but unless you are on a stage, the monologue is incredibly boring to your audience. This guy I met went on for what seemed like an eternity about his job, his life, his accomplishment, etc. I tuned out after a while, but he didn’t get the hint. Sigh….
  4. Don’t brag about yourself. I may not have gotten an Ivy League education, but I have plenty of friends who did. Truth is, an education does not a person make, Ivy League or not. Some women may find it sexy to date a guy who graduated from Harvard, but I find it incredibly tasteless to use that as an opening line. If you must, a better approach is to mention it with subtle undertone. Better yet, let her find out for herself!
  5. Do act like a man. I met this guy who would start out talking with normal voice but gradually fade as the conversation continued. Hello? I can’t hear you if you whisper. And why are you whispering anyway?
  6. Don’t appear cheap. One of my favorites places to eat are holes-in-the-wall with great food. And although I don’t mind at all going to a hole-in-a-wall restaurant for the first date, I want to know that the reason for the choice is NOT because my date is cheap! So how do you get your date to try your favorite hole-in-a-wall without appearing cheap? Provide her with three or four choices and let her choose. Briefly introduce her to each of the choices, and while you do that, mention that the hole-in-a-wall is one of your favorites.

Well, that’s two weeks worth of dating do’s and don’ts. I will post more as they come up! Meanwhile, feel free to add more of your own in the comment section.

Update: I have since written another post of the do’s and don’ts of making a good first impression.  You can find it here.

While poking around for some research on user behavior, I came across a study conducted by Evercare called the 100 @ 100 survey.  The objective of the study is to provide insights into one of the fastest-growing segments of the population.  According to the study itself, “the anecdotal survey of Centenarians is meant to provide a cultural snapshot of the lives and lifestyles of Americans who achieve and surpass the 100-year-old milestone by remaining active and independent.”

The findings were interesting, but I was drawn to the section about achieving lasting relationship.  Here is what the wise Centenarians have to say about cultivating lasting love:

  • Be honest with each other “even if the truth sometimes hurts”
  • Have fun and laugh together
  • Respect each other’s independence
  • Say “sorry” even if you don’t feel you are wrong

Pretty good advice, I’ll say.  For the full report, go here:

I recently decided to jump back into the dating pool with both feet.  Naturally, I am drawn to reading materials pertaining to love, relationships, and courtship in general.  While pilfering through some of my daily reading materials, I came across this post about flowers.  More specifically, it talks about courtship involving the giving and receiving of flowers back in the Victorian age.  As much of a romantic as I am, I never knew different flowers bear different meanings.  Here are some of my favorites (straight from the post):

  • Daisy – Loyal love
  • Orchid – Love and beauty
  • Pink Rose – Secret love
  • Yellow & Orange Rose – Passionate thoughts
  • Red Camellia – You’re a flame in my heart

For more, click here.

Oh, and for all you men out there, when a woman says she doesn’t want “anything” on special occasions, you would do well to read this post about women’s secret code. Here is a hint: What the woman in your life really wants when she says she wants nothing is an acknowledgment that you love her and are thinking about her.  It need not cost money – you’d be surprise what a love note will do!

Happy loving!

Update: For more cheap romantic ideas, check out this site.

Update: If you are looking for a practical guide to emptiness and non-attachment, you may want to visit my more recent post here.

One of my dearest friends is a devout Buddhist. I actually learned a lot about Buddhism just by hanging out with him. Although I am not a Buddhist myself, he claimed my thinking are very much in line with many of Buddhist teaching.

For those of you who may not be familiar with Buddhism, the concept of “emptiness” is central to the Buddhist philosophy and the practice of Buddhism. If you want to read more about it, here is a great resource to learn more. Without going too deep into what emptiness is (since I don’t really know much about it myself), it’s suffice to say that one of what they preach in “emptiness” is non-attachment. That is to say, you are not enslaved to anything or anyone with either your thoughts or your body.

In this day and age where consumption is king and materialism rules the world, it is too readily assumed that “non-attachment” is better than a full acceptance of earthly life. In fact, it is often assumed that ordinary humans only reject the non-attachment concept because it is too hard to achieve. But I am starting to wonder if that’s really the case. Could it be that there are people who genuinely do not wish to become enlightened? Is it not probable that some who achieve or aspire to achieve enlightenment have never felt much temptation to be human beings? In other words, what if I just want to be human with all the virtues and vices of one, including being attached? In fact, I rather like the fact that I am attached to the people I love; it makes me feel human. Why is that so wrong?

July 2008