Manila — Married, engaged, de facto, separated, divorced, widowed, never married or been in a de facto relationship. When I encountered these checkbox of options on the Australian visa as I prepared for a short travel to Melbourne in 2014, I realized that the relationships we find ourselves in, enter into, or walk out off can be puzzling.
But for those of us who are not in the usual single or married categories, trying to situate ourselves can be fun. What’s even better is that somehow, it helps that our realities as individuals are now more than ever being scrutinized.
Every time I read a discourse on this subject, the more I realize that the state of affairs of the heart could now go farther than the traditional. It’s synonymous with the current spectrum of options for sexual orientations and expressions, thanks to LGBT and the other letters people freely add to this acronym.
But all these, however, boil down to one pick – to go solo or be with someone. This can also apply to people who are in a relationship with their dogs, cats, plants or mobile phones, or those whose only relationship is with anything that keeps them busy from being bothered about these status labels and identities, or those not in a relationship at all.
On a day like Valentine’s Day and other red-letter days in the calendar that seem to impose cruel requirements for us to hook up with a fellow human romantically or sexually, relationships are magnified. When you’re with someone on days like these, you’re lucky and you must be happy. When you’re alone, you’re lonely.
It’s been a standard practice to define people by their relationships and living arrangements, but again, thanks to a broadened discussion in recent years, people can now choose the life they want.
Most married persons see their relationship as a job —something to work on in keeping the companionship bright by infusing some spark into it. Many believe that people should marry for love, so for those looking for the one, they are encouraged, nay pressured, into finding that person, connecting, falling in love, and then seeing if they can stand waking up beside each other every morning and growing old together.
For single people, it takes courage to be alone and to choose to be alone, and creativity in embracing the beauty of going solo. Many single people attest to the fun of travelling, dining or seeing a movie alone without having to accommodate others who insist on their food and entertainment choices. Singletons live their lives with last night’s casual partner whose name they didn’t even bother to ask or with friends they can cherish for years.
It’s complicated but wonderful. From sharing moonlit kisses with whispers to owning the beauty of a spectacular sunset in quiet solitude, life remains surreal. We still watch movies and read books that tell us to wait or to look for true love, but we are also able to let these pass us by with our day-to-day realities of what may or may not be important to our individual lives.
We stay, we leave. We hook up and break up. We are hopeless romantics and eternal optimists looking for our own fairy tales. We can also be cynics not wanting to be part of this story and find our insanely happy ending, alone. And, to top all this craziness, someone might be meeting his or her awesome soul mate as we speak.