Case of the Ex: Valuable things I learned from 4 Exes and 1 friend

Before I begin, I’d like to make it clear that there’s no exposure of anyone here in particular cos this is not what this article is about. It’s all about the LESSONS. We’re not throwing hate here, we’re learning from my personal mistakes, in hopes that if you’re in a similar situation, it may guide you on some dilemmas and problems you may face. And if you feel that it has referenced you in some way, just because you feel that the story sounds familiar, well too bad. AHhaha. I can’t help you with that, so let’s move on.

Here’s some mistakes I’ve made that YOU might learn from.

image: Caleb Shong

Self Sabotage

In my previous relationship, the one that lasted almost all of my twenties, I had a partner that was a reader’s digest of lessons that filled my 15 years of knowing him with endless emotional drama.

Every person has their good and bad side of course, we are all flawed in our own ways. We can’t escape mistakes and especially really stupid ones. And as much as he has done some good in my life, the bad side of his character traits has really been an eye opener and also serves as a reflection to the many obvious flaws that I had.

When I was young and stupid, I thought I was really up there when it comes to looking out for red flags and being confident and independent. Boy, was I wrong. The experience of that relationship was a huge blow to my head. When I woke up from my zombified state of unaware sleep, I started to realise all the obvious things that had happened to me, that I somehow missed out during my 15 yr stint. Here’s what I learned from that experience.

1.Don’t Ever Give your Boyfriend or Spouse your Secondary Credit Card.

Ok I know, you’re in love, you trust them with your life and you pinkie swore to be each other’s forever and ever. Well, it doesn’t work like the lies they depict in Disney fairy tales, ok kids. You don’t know them until you really really know them. Even after you married them.

I regretted this stupid move I made and I made excuses to allow my partner to use my money. Yes… and might I add, he made me feel guilty when I asked for my card back ( I gave him a second card that’s linked to my debit card too during his National Service days). I mean like who even does that??

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I was left to still pay for all his credit card debt of the iPad he bought himself for his birthday. So be careful who you give your cards to unless you’re a freaking millionaire and don’t care where your money goes to, then it’s ok.

2.Don’t Ever Buy a Car for your Partner unless You can legally Drive it Too

This also goes for any form of vehicle, like motorcycles.

So yes, I bought a car for him. Though under my name (cos he couldn’t buy a car under his name due to credit score), he had convinced me that “we” should get a car. I don’t even have a driver’s license at that time. I don’t want to go into details cos this is not what this article’s about. This huge mistake I did, made me feel so annoyingly upset with myself. I actually allowed myself to be manipulated so easily back in the day. I mean…what the hell was I on?

People even asked me, are you sure you’re not like under a spell? Like how in God’s name would I even know that, right? HAha.

3.Never Give your Passwords to your Partner unless it Involves situations that Require It

Ok so, it’s ok to know each other’s passwords but the thing is, do you really know your partner well enough and trust them enough that they won’t sabotage you with it? Now, I got out of that relationship because it was toxic and abusive so I had to end my misery one way or another. But the fact is, my partner at that time had become someone I could no longer respect and admire. My passwords were being used against me. How about that.

I was in the shower, our mutual friend texted me, so my ex picked up my phone, saw the message and replied “as me” cos he knew my phone password, and he replied our friend in a most rude and unmannered way that sabotages me as a person.

I was shocked and appalled when I found out but still I didn’t draw the line. I must’ve been drugged throughout this whole relationship experience cos when I look back, it just doesn’t make sense that I would allow this to go on.

Now, if at any point of time,you and your partner are going through some emotional times and he or she has doubts in you and it requires you to prove your innocence and integrity to them by checking your devices, you still should not show them your passwords but instead you could “open the door for them by holding on to the key”. Get it?

Only give your password to a partner/spouse that you absolutely trust in their good character.

4.Always Share Loan Responsibilities and Money Matters

Guess what? Most or should I say all of the existing loans for our life was forked out by me. And who’s fault was that? Me.

I signed it all in black and white and put it under my name and left only simple utility bills for him to pay for. The bulk of our lifestyle was mostly paid by me and when we ended things, he went scott free to all loans that were outstanding during the relationship. Cos it was all under my name.

Now, there’s still much much more to learn from this particular relationship and mind you, it’s all about how dumb and smart I really was throughout this whole fiasco (but now we’re discussing my “dumb” parts).

I realised that I got out of this fog of confusion and idiocy after I started to be more in tune with God and when I started learning more about my faith. Somehow, the fog was lifted off of my eyes when I got closer to the Al-Mighty and I had so much clarity when I got out of that mess.

Thank God.


Hearing is Believing

When I was in my teens I was involved in the standard “BGR” (boy girl relationship) in high school. Though we were really too young to know head from tail, there were a few things I still learned from that experience.

image: Atikh Bana

Now being a pumped up hormonal teen, I can’t help but fall in love with the first guy who shows how mature he is and displays his gentlemanly grace by treating me like a lady and protecting me too.

That ex eventually turned out to be really good at lying and also tormented any senior that spoke to me who isn’t one of his friends.

Now, I know it all sounds like I’m attracting a lot of liars, manipulators and bullies which at a later part of my adult years, I learned how to avoid that of course. But with this experience, I actually developed an awareness to screen out the ones with these characteristics, as I grew older.

So from this relationship I learned:

1.Don’t Take Everything They say at Face Value

Most young and innocent girls who have not been exposed to anything lewd out there, tend to fall prey to this. You believe everything they say at face value. Now this doesn’t only apply to a young individual, it applies to ALL AGES.

He told me things that I thought were the gospel truth without even giving myself a certain amount of time to process this information and do some fact checking. Besides the back stories that I obviously could tell was a load of bull crap, there were more non obvious lies about whatever he had said that didn’t make sense after I had time to process it.

2.Take Into Consideration What People Say About Them

Before jumping into a relationship, hear out what people have to say about them. Though love is blind in some context and you would want to love people despite their flaws (unconditional love so to speak), you also have to listen out for all the red flags that people say about them.

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If someone is known for something that’s dodgy, that’s your signal to stay away for the better cos if not, you’ll become the next victim. At the same time, listen out for what they’re known for, as sometimes it’s just a conflict of interest amongst people. So practice some discretion when judging this.

Anyway, this guy was known to be the biggest bullshitter in school. And not only teachers knew that, and his classmates knew that, his very own group of best friends knew that as a fact. And they had warned me immensely, multiple times but I took it all as a big fat joke. Guess the joke was on me, huh.


The “Not Here Not There” Dance

This next experience was actually NOT an ex boyfriend cos he never made things exclusive with me. So I’ll say that this is someone I used to hang out with. A hangout friend. He was basically doing the cha-cha with what we had. Going back and forth and back and forth, till I was dancing giddy. Though I was not in love with him, I appreciated the companionship and was open to building something if there was a chance. But I realised that it was all a wasted effort.

” What are we? What are we?” every two months, I’d ask. And he still said no, “We’re just friends.”

So here’s what I learned by not being this person’s girlfriend.

image: breakreate


1.After two months of being “friends” and still No Exclusivity- GET OUT

Now as much as the time factor exists, it’s all quite relative and based on what level of the relationship you’re on at that moment. I mean, you could be two weeks in and you’re already a couple and getting married in 6 months or 10 yrs in and still he hasn’t proposed yet, right? So ya, base it on your own scenario cos it’s subjective.

This is just a basic ground rule. That after dating for that long and spending so much time together, investing your time and effort and still no exclusivity cos they’re “not ready” for whatever insecure reason, just get out of there.

Time is not a kind grandma that waits for you at the corner bus stop, bringing you cookies after school. It’s more like the cookie that got dunked in hot milk. It’s gone means it’s gone. Quality (commitment) versus Quantity (time) basically. Wasting time with someone who’s not at your level of commitment is a bad investment.

On the 8th month ( it’s waaaayy too long, should’ve done it earlier) , I finally packed my bags and said ” Bye Felicia!”

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2.When You Don’t Feel Comfortable – That’s a Sign

Ok so, throughout the course of whatever that was, there were so many red flags that me being me, I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt. Yea, I’m fun like that AHha.

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But just to point out some examples that I needn’t have to give this benefit to this person is when ; they need attention when I’m going through a personal crisis (long story) , wandering eyes at girls who wore really skimpy clothing ( basically undressing them with his eyes), not showing basic courtesy and lastly treating me with crudeness when I asked to be treated gently (he tugged and pulled at my hair like a rag doll).

So anyway, the point here is, that if you don’t feel comfortable as it is, and you know that it’s an obvious red flag, please trust your instincts and move on from there. If you feel like you’re dating a teenager and you are not a teenager, then you have nothing else to do but allow that person to just grow up without You. You’re not there to mother them. It’s not your responsibility to teach them relationship skills.

At the end of this, I was asking myself ” What the hell was that?”

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Honestly, I really did enjoy the downtime after back to back relationships, so this was actually refreshing.

But if you don’t have time to kill and all your ducks are aligned (ready for the next step in life) , just get out of that dance of neither here nor there with someone who isn’t at your level of commitment.

I’m glad I did.


Faith is not a Trooper Here

Image: Singapore Straits Times – Rapid Deployment Troops Pix by Zaihan Mohamed Yusof

I had wrote an article about this particular relationship before on another Case of the Ex exclusive so I’m just going to do a short one here cos the bulk of it is over on the other side. So go over there and read the whole story.

One thing I’d like to say about this though, is that, at one point I did truly believe that this person could be trustworthy but then again, it’s just me being me. Giving the benefit of the doubt, every time bad things happen.

Now I’ve been through enough to know that there are many people who make really bad decisions and develop wrong intentions. What I mean by wrong intentions is that, their agenda is usually selfish. It’s usually for their own benefit, their own self satisfaction, pleasure and what have you.

This is quite typical for most people but never did I think that a seemingly “good guy” was capable of this.


1.When They haven’t Introduce You to the People in Their Life – Drop Them

The main issue is, ” Do you even exist?” . Besides the two of you being all lovey dovey, go on staycations together and wear matching outfits kinda thing, does anyone even know about your existence? Is your partner without best friends, or regular friends and family?

If you’ve not met their true life friends in the flesh, think about it again.

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You actually are just as non existent as the back story they just made up about why you haven’t met any of their close friends and family. Yea, that happened with this person. I was actually his side chick and I didn’t even know. I had so much faith in him and sadly, I shouldn’t have.

2.When They Don’t Add You to their Social Media – Announce Your Relationship

This is easy. When this happens right, you post a picture of yourselves together and see if anyone in your network knows them. Like mutual friends. For this tiny island of Singapore, you’re bound to find connections. And someone kind will help you along. At least it did for me.

If they say that they have no social media at all or not even on it for most of the time, then super! Make your photo with them go viral 🙂 Hehe…. (evil laugh) . Of course, do this tastefully, not like an overly obsessed paranoid. Just post to public and make a common statement like, ” Me and my love off to the Zoo!”. Oh and hashtag them too even if there’s no Profile to tag, you can hashtag a name. Hashtags come up on search engines all the time.

Since he has nothing to be afraid of with social media, it’ll be fine to just let the World know that this is your new beau. Everyone does it anyway, so it’s nothing new and scheming.

How would you know who this person really is? Like truly is. They don’t want you to meet their friends and family, they’re suspiciously private… hmm what else right?

It’s ok. Don’t feel guilty about this. Cos they don’t.


Don’t Fight Fire with Fire

This last but definitely not the least, is a true mirror to me. He’s found ways to communicate to me what one or two of my exes might’ve spoken about in the past that I just simply ignored about myself.

image: Douglas Bagg

He has one fascinating skill. It was to make me realise what I’m actually doing is wrong. No one I knew could prove a case as compelling and logical as he could.

Like how I am when I’m pissed and when I argue. How I sound like in terms of my gestures, my behaviours etc. He’s managed to make me sit down and truly reflect upon myself.

I mean, many have tried and many failed but he, he succeeded so well at this that, it shook me out of my raw unpolished and stubborn mindset.

1.Be a Nurturer Who Listens with Compassion

I have to be honest that this particular ex is a man burning with passion just like me. So when in an argument, it’s fire and fire head on.

image: Aidan Bartos

I initially couldn’t accept this. But at the same time, I was hearing him. He says that when I argue, I sound like a man fighting with a man. So his advice was, to tune into my feminine side of my character instead of the masculine side when in an argument. Cos a “man’s voice” and another man’s voice arguing, isn’t going to get anywhere. But the voice of a woman’s compassion will help ease any heated situation.

He asked to be kinder and more empathetic to a man’s ego. He says that a man already knows that they’re wrong. They’re just too proud to say it. Not that we should encourage them to not apologise or not take responsibility for their actions. No.

We should still let them be accountable for their wrongdoings but just with a better approach to letting them know. Every man and woman is different but everyone has both feminine and masculine sides of their gender. So tune into that gentler more compassionate side of yourself so you can be a better communicator.

2.It’s Ok that We’re Not Ok

What he observe about me was that I was always telling small little lies to cover up an embarrassment. Like when we would fight and had to leave abruptly, I’d always come up with some kind of excuse for why we must leave to avoid embarrassment.

I did debate this with him cos I’m not the kind to attract attention to the problem. Why would I want to expose our fights to everyone? The only polite way to do it is to make up an excuse for us to leave, right?

In his argument, he says that, you don’t have to make up excuses for these kinds of situations. If you have to leave, just say, ” I’m sorry we have to leave. Something came up.” and then we could just leave. People will get it and understand. And that’s ok. Cos people fight all the time.

What I was saying to people was, ” Someone ran by and trampled over my foot and now I’m injured so that’s why we have to go home.” , oh we were at a Laneway Festival by the way when this happened.

So ok, I get it. I went overboard and created a whole other story instead of keeping it simple and truthful.

I learned from then on how liberating this was. I actually felt free the more I practised this. I didn’t have to lie neither do I need to tell the whole truth of something private. Lesson learned.

3.Problems Can Be Fixed Together, Don’t Abandon Your Partner

I believe this relationship was when I actually grew up (though technically he’s 5 years my junior) . This ex knows most of my adult history and the cause of all my relationship breakups. What he did was listen and gave very timely and sound advice. Cos he saw the vicious patterns I kept repeating again and no one in my past could relate this issue I had in a way that I could comprehend without bruising my ego.

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He observed that instead of talking about the problem and finding solutions together, I would give up on the person and call it quits. I needed to give the relationship at least a good amount of time to understand how the other person understands the World versus how I understood the World. Cos this discrepancy is how it all goes up in flames. Communication and style of communicating is the key to understanding each other’s language of love and how we perceive everything around us. Once we understand that language coding, we could tap into what our partner is thinking and what they actually mean when they communicate something to us.

He was the only person so far till this day that could relay back what I just said and fully understood how I actually felt. He could get into my mind and knew exactly what I mean and why I was feeling the way I was feeling.

I have him to thank for a lot of my attitude adjustments and mindset change. And I’m still learning more.


Thank you to all of my past, especially the best teachers that were kind and loving. The wise and thoughtful ones, I thank you.

Even the hurtful and vengeful ones who made my life a living hell. I had to sit down and ask myself what kind of person was I, to be able to attract such people in my life. And thank God, I managed to clean up myself and got rid of all the garbage I was holding on to.

I have learned many valuable takeaways about myself and what I can do in future situations if it ever happens again. And all thanks to the gurus in my life. Every person who’s pained me, who’s loved and hated me, who’s scarred and broke me and those who gave me a kind ear, loving arms and a shoulder to lean on. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

This whole article is actually a reflection of how I perceive and analyse my experiences with the people who has touched my heart, one way or another. So that I don’t make the same mistakes again and again. Cos in the end, I’m the one that let it happen. What good is life if you keep making the same mistakes? You can never level up and move on to other lessons of life. And the lessons keep repeating itself in vicious cycles of the same patterns of people until I get the message right. Until I’ve learned my lesson.

I’m glad things had to happen the way it happened for me to learn a thing or two in order for me to develop as a person. Though I do regret how some things ended the way it did, I don’t regret that it actually happened.

Through all these experiences and more, I could be more selective with my choice of partner and the friends I choose to keep. I was more careful when making decisions and also learned how to let go of old habits and acquire new healthy ones.

Just imagine, without these lessons, these good and bad experiences, I wouldn’t have attracted the one that complements my character the most.

My favorite human on Earth.

My Husband.

I love you Syku.

You are all the best pieces all rolled into one.

XoXo


image: Everton Vila

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– LM

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the incredibly open and honest post! I’ve made plenty of these mistakes as well, once set up a mobile phone contract for a boyfriend in my name. He didn’t cancel it properly and I had letters from debt collection agencies for months afterwards. It feels stupid when you know the consequences and have the benefit of hindsight, but at the time you might be rushed into a decision or manipulated into someone else’s logic. I like the ‘don’t fight fire with fire’ concept as well although my take on it is not to feel like you need to lower yourself to someone else’s negative opinions or behavior. Thanks for sharing!

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