QQ,QA #5: About Love

“How do you know if you love someone or if someone loves you? Do actions speak louder than words? Maybe sometimes we need to hear the words.”

love.jpgWent to watch The Prestige last weekend with Jamie. For those of you who have not watched it, you must go see it, it’s one of the best movies we have seen this year. It is about the tale of 2 young magicians who started as friends, but end up as arch enemies.

One of the minor plots of the story is the relationship between Alfred Borden a.k.a. The Professor (played by Christian Bale) and his wife Sarah. The wife will often ask him, “Do you love me?” Alfred will tell her yes every time she asks this question.

Sarah will either reply, “Today, you are telling the truth,” or, “Today, you don’t, and that’s why it makes those days that you do so precious.”

Don’t you find that strange? How is it that on some days, she knows that he loves her, and on other days, she knows that he does not? Well, as the story unfolds, the audience eventually finds out the reason. And the reason is… for those of you who have not watched the show and plan to watch it, please do not read on; so that I don’t spoil it for you. 🙂

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The reason is because… Alfred has a twin brother. And both of them have been living half lives. So on some day, brother A plays Alfred, and on other days, brother B plays Alfred. But they kept this secret from everybody even from Sarah.

So, one of the brothers, let’s call him brother A is actually in love with Sarah. But brother B is not. Hence on days that brother B plays Alfred, Sarah knows that Alfred is not telling the truth when he says that he loves her. Even though, she never figured out that there were actually two of them.

Coming back to this Installment #5 of QQ,QA – so how do we know when someone loves you? How does Sarah know that brother B does not love her when he proclaims he does? Is it the way he said it? Or is it the look in his eyes? Is it the emotion conveyed? Or sometimes you just know? And you don’t know exactly why.

I think different people want to be ‘shown’ love differently.

Some people like to hear it everyday, every single time you part ways, or end a phone conversation. Some people feel that it is meaningless as it sort of become another thing you say, like ‘Bye!’ or ‘Talk to you later!’

Personally, I think communication is very important. We have to understand how our partner expresses his/her love.

I think it is futile if you are the type that wants to hear him say “I love you!” all the time, but he is not the type to do so. And you keep expecting him to say it, and every time he does not say it, you get disappointed and upset. Well, I guess we can always ‘train’ our partner to meet our expectations, but the problem is… it is often difficult to change our partner. It is usually easier if we can adjust our own expectations. 🙂 By picking out the small things that our partner does for us that demonstrates his/her love. And by associating these small and sometimes subconscious actions with love, I will always feel loved. 🙂

I think there is no right or wrong answer. Sometimes, we are just so bombarded by the romance shown on Hollywood and HK movies, that we are led to believe that love is electrifying, love is ground-breaking, love is like fireworks exploding. And when you don’t feel that, you are not in love, or you are not loved. Well, that probably describes the beginning of a courtship. But if we expect things to be that way for the entire 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years of marriage, then… we might be setting ourselves for a great big disappointment.

Because I believe that passionate love or better known as lust is momentary. It is like a great big firework display that might eventually fizzle out. I think.. it is what that continue to brew in a slow cooker, might not be too exciting, but always constant and unfailing… that truly matters.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13)

What do you think? What are your thoughts? Share them with us. 🙂

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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QQ,QA #4: About Long Distance Relationships

“How do long distance relationships work? If you’re in a relationship, the point is to be together right? If you live apart, what can you talk about since you are leading separate lives?”

Think this topic has been discussed to death. 🙂 But the reason probably is because it is such a relevant topic. Whether you are at university, having to leave your high school sweetheart behind. Or you have just started your career, and have been seconded by your company to a foreign country for 1 year.

Have many friends who told me that they can never do long distance. Because it defeats the purpose of having a relationship in the first place. You cannot meet each other whenever you want, you have different groups of friends, you cannot relate to each others lives anymore.

Yeah, LDR (long distance relationship) is tough. Especially when you walk on the streets, seeing all the couples cuddling up, especially during special days like Valentine’s Day, and you wonder if it’s all worth it… LDR is even tougher when you live in different time zones. As both of you have to study/work, there’s only a small window of opportunity where you are actually both awake.

7 tips for LDR to work (from personal experience!)

1. Have a plan. Plan a holiday together. Maybe meet halfway. Know exactly when is the next time you will be meeting up. Should it be in 1 month’s time. 6 month’s time. Or 1 year’s time. So at least you have something to work towards, and look forward to.

2. Stock up on international phone cards. Or now, there’s Skype. Whatever it is, communication is the key in any relationship be in LDR or non-LDR. This is where you keep track of each others lives and growth. I think I spent a big chunk on my allowances on phone cards when I was studying in UK…!

3. Take plenty of photos. Email those photos to your other half. So at least while both of you are making new friends, experiencing new things, you still can share them with each other.

4. Do an activity together. Ok, this sounds weird right? How are you supposed to do something together if you are like 30,000 miles apart? That’s where the Internet comes in. Now, you can play online Yahoo! Games. Jamie and I used to play Age of Empires (an epic real time strategy game), he in Singapore, me in UK. Or for those of you who are in the same country, but just different cities, you can even arrange to watch a TV program together! 🙂

5. Surprise him/her once in a while with a gift. Jamie used to send me what he called “Goodies Box” – so he will get one of those boxes from the post office and stuff it with goodies e.g. candies that I like, a small teddy.

6. Be honest and upfront. Being apart from each other makes both parties feel vulnerable. You might need more reassurances. There might be times that you wonder if the relationship is working out. Or if your boyfriend/girlfriend is getting too close to that cute colleague. Be honest if you have doubts. Do not keep it all inside. It’s better to ask than assume.

7. Keep busy. It’s not going to be easy. You will be moping sometimes. But life has to go on. And your other half does not want you to just be moping at home waiting for him/her. Make plans to meet up with your friends, especially friends whom you have neglected after being in the relationship. 🙂 Take up a new hobby! Learn new things, and look forward to the day you meet up with your other half again.

The bottom line is… LDR is not easy. For it to work, many ingredients are involved. Both parties have to make an effort to keep communication going. And trust is crucial in a long distance relationship.

But if you ask me… if both of you want it to work, and you are willing to work hard to make it work, then it WILL work. 🙂

Have you been in a long distance relationship? How did you keep it going? Or if it did not work out, why? Do you think people should be involved in long distance relationships in the first place?

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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QQ,QA #3: About Making Effort

“If one party in a relationship is making more effort than the other, does it mean your partner has lost interest? Are they just being lazy or taking you for granted? Which is worse?”

When it comes to making effort in a relationship or a marriage, we often hear ladies complaining that their other half does not make enough effort.

And when you talk to the guys, they will say that they are really making the efforts, but those efforts are never enough.

So what’s happening here? 🙂

It is the different point system that a lady and a guy keep. It goes like that. For a guy, working hard, bring back the bacon would score them say 20 points. But to their wife, it’s probably 1 point. When they buy a bouquet of flowers for that once in a year Valentine’s Day, they thought that would score them 20 points, that would also score them only 1 point. However, if they buy a stalk of rose for their wives for 20 days, that would actually score them 20 points! 🙂

As you can see guys, it’s the frequency that matters. You can buy her a huge gift which cost you a lot, but that would only be 1 (or maybe 2 points max). But if you buy her small gifts regularly, that would score you 1 point every single time!

Women want to feel loved and cared for. They want to know that they are loved. And how do they know that? By your daily words, actions and gestures.

As for my dear ladies, the guys are just wired differently from us! That is why they are said to be from a different planet altogether! 🙂 Hence, sometimes, guess we just have to take a step back and examine whether he is really not making the effort, or are we just not appreciating the effort.

For our 1st year Wedding Anniversary, Jamie and I were actually apart due to work circumstances. I could have kicked up a big fuss (which I almost did, I have to admit). From a female perspective, I would see it as he’s not making the effort to rearrange his work schedule to make sure that we are together on the anniversary. This means that he does not care enough about me, or our relationship.

But looking at it logically, we really did not need to celebrate it on the day itself! Hence, I let it go. We celebrated 5 days later. And we had an almost perfect celebration! 🙂

I guess sometimes, when we are so busy making the effort, and keeping tabs on whether our partner is also making the effort (the type of effort that qualifies as effort in our eyes), we miss out on the efforts that our partner actually put in.

Do you agree? Do you think you keep a different point system from your partner? 🙂

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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QQ,QA #2: About Marriage

“How do people stay married for years? Don’t they run out of things to say to each other? If they do, what can be done?”

When Jamie and I first got together 6 years ago, people commented how ‘sticky’ and ‘lovey-dovey’ we were. Some people attributed it to the ‘honeymoon phase’. 6 years down the road, 5 years of dating and 1 year of marriage, we still are as ‘sticky’ as ever, if not more.

I can share with him my deepest and darkest fear and not worry that he will see me as a lesser person. We play jokes on one another, we poke fun at each other. And often, he knows what I am going to say even before I say it. To put it very simply… he’s my best friend. 🙂

Well, some of you might say, I am not exactly an authority on this subject, since I have only been married for one year. 🙂 I don’t deny that. However, I have observed marriages that have worked, and one that I really admire is that of my parents.

They have been married close to 30 years. And sometimes, to tell you frankly, when I was growing up as a teenager, I felt it is a bit embarrassing to go out with them. Haha! 🙂 My dad teases my mum endlessly. They hold hands in public. And sometimes they just behave like teenagers, and not the ‘elderly’ couple that they are supposed to be.

In my opinion, one of the main reasons people are able to stay married for years because… they simply chose the right person to be married to. This sounds like the weirdest thing to say… but I think it is important to choose someone that when stripped off of all passion, lust, physical attraction… the person is someone that you like, someone whom you can see yourself befriending for the rest of your life.

And I think even that is not enough. Let’s face it. Sometimes we tire of our best friend too. Marriage, like love, is a commitment. And once we have made that commitment, we work hard at making it work.

My parents’ marriage has its ups and downs too. But they work hard at it. My Dad makes it a point to call Mum to check on how she’s doing. It’s quite sweet really. Like how the other day, after having dinner with mum and I, he drove off to meet some friends. So mum and I took my car home. About 20 minutes after parting ways, Dad called to check that Mum and I have arrived home. It’s such a tiny gesture, but imagine after being married for 30 years, he has not gotten complacent. It is not the flowers, nor the presents, but I think it is tiny gestures such as this that glues a marriage stronger.

Another thing that keeps a marriage going after years… respect.

My parents never run out of things to say to each other because of mutual respect. I know of some couples where the husband never asks for the wife’s opinions because he just assumes that the wife knows nothing.

Dad will tell Mum about his day at work, his business dealings, his friends, his business partners. He never assumes that she would not know what he’s talking about. He asks her for her opinions all the time.

And to answer the last part of the question… if you really do run out of things to say, what do you do?

I think there’s no easy answer to that. The couple probably just have to revisit their past, and rediscover why did the fall in love in the first place. Or perhaps, they could explore some new interests and life objectives together. Problem is… when you have hit this stage, there might be many other problems in the marriage. So… like the old saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. 🙂

And if I were to answer this question in one sentence… I would choose this quotation.

I came face to face with this wonderful quote… when I attended my high school friend Ai Wei’s wedding dinner on Friday and :

“Today, I marry my friend. The one I laugh with, live for, dream with, and love.”

–| Any love stories of long-married couples to share? Or have you been married for a long time, and you facing the problem of having nothing to say to your spouse. Share with us your thoughts! |–

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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