Together for 6.5 Years!

1:22:00 AM

Never in my life would I have imagined being with you for so long. 

We both met back in Junior College, when Ben wore his pants loosely at his hips & successfully hid blonde streaks in his thick head of black hair and Mel was always caught for not having hair that was "black enough" (ya, seriously?!?). Coincidentally, we attended the same church but never really met before, also because Ben's a year older than Mel and so we were from different cohorts for our weekly catechism lessons.

None of our friends expected us to get together, and even when we did, not many thought that our relationship would last long. Perhaps it was because of how short we dated before settling into a BGR or because we didn't have common friends who "match-made" us in the first place. We did not have many common interests as well. Ben was sporty, outgoing and forever in party-mode back then, while Mel was musical, less outspoken (back then, haha) and disliked crowds (ok she still does). 

It took us both a while before announcing to people that "hey, this is my girlfriend Mel", or "I'm dating Ben" because we had past love issues to settle. It was also because of past experiences that made us want to embark on this "new" relationship together, one that would cause minimal heartbreaks and maximum happiness. 

Now we all know that... in reality... that's bullshit, it usually doesn't go that way. Haha. Obviously there are bound to be misunderstandings, petty moments and squabbles in relationships. It wasn't otherwise for us.

"The ups-and-downs"

The first year was difficult because Ben was completing his national service with the naval diving unit and apart from being at the other end of Singapore 5 days a week, there were 3 - 4 overseas training assignments that he had to attend, the longest being a 21-day trip in the 4th month of our relationship. You know, women and their insecurities + possessive (ok la, protective is a nicer word) nature. On top of that, it was hard to communicate with someone who was constantly out by the sea because of poor connection.

Moving on, Ben signed on another 4 years with NUS, and he stayed in a hostel for 7 out of 8 school terms. Again, it wasn't easy because that meant less time together on weekdays and even on weekends as we took up part time jobs giving tuition or piano lessons. All these happened while Mel was studying at a very "relaxed and chillax-ed" university for 2 years, and full-time working at the media agency for another 2 years (Read about Mel's Job Experiences here).

If that wasn't enough, Ben dropped the bomb towards the end of his final school year that he would not take the "usual route" of getting a full time office job post graduation as he wanted to have a take in being an entrepreneur. An Entrepreneur. Yes, the word ENTREPRENEUR was not part of Mel's "happy-living, stable-income and financial-worry free" plans. Thankfully, this initial worry was only temporary.

Even though we had miscommunications that would usually arise from conflicting schedules or last minute change-of-plans, there hasn't been a moment that either one of us wanted a break-up. Over the years, we had friends asking us questions like "how do you keep things going?" or "aren't you sick of each other? Aren't you bored at all?" (Excuse me ah to these friends, do we really look that boring? Don't like that leh. Haha).

"A lot of Give-and-Take"

Yes it was tough at the start. We had worries, disagreements and often wondered if we were meant for each other because we had different characters and habits. However, the many obstacles we have faced along the way has taught us to accept each others' flaws learn from each others' strengths so that we can accommodate to one another. For instance, Ben's patient and forgiving nature rubbed off Mel after a few years of "training" and Mel's meticulous nature taught Ben to be more organised and systematic at home and at work. It is because of this difference in our characters that helped us grow and better ourselves as individuals.

We used to often quarrel because Ben tends to inform Mel of his plans rather last minute. To most guys, we typically don't deem 24 hours notice as "last-minute" but to most girls, they probably expect 36-48 hours advanced notice. It is precisely because of the little squabbles that made Ben plan his time a lot better and as an entrepreneur who has multiple businesses, he definitely needs to organise his time very well.

Ben's character would probably be like a dormant volcano, he does not get angry easily but when he reaches his boiling point, it would usually be a very bad eruption. So far it only happened probably once a year? (Oh, but you must see him when he plays in competitions, he is so competitive that he's like a never-ending fire cracker!)

Ben's reasoning for controlling your temper is quite simple. He does not want to go to bed feeling angry and he feels that sometimes it is just not worth the time and energy to quarrel over small issues. He stood by this Chinese cliche he learnt from his dad, "忍一时,风平浪静。退一步,海阔天空". In literal translation: "Tolerate a moment, the seas will be calm. Take a step back, the skies will be clear."

And this is how the both of us learn to tolerate each other. Especially for Mel, who has to tolerate a lot more of Ben's nonsense and irritating ways (yes, he is irritating. And he's really proud of it. Check out his Facebook cover photo)

As time went pass day by day, and with the strong support we constantly receive from our families (which could be one of the main contributing factors to us surviving all the obstacles in between), things just kept going, and got better. In fact, all the hurdles that we had to cross along the way were just tests on our love for one other. 

Of course no one should compare our relationship to couples in Long distance relationships, because we aren't comparing ourselves. We admire men and women who have been through LDRs. It isn't easy and we can so imagine how much trust is needed for it to turn out successful.

"We are happy to have similar goals, are family-oriented and live a simple life." 

We had friends coming up to us and telling us that they look up to us as role models - for being able to stay in a long-term relationship and still be so loving (Haha, this is where they don't get to see the Knife-throwing and Evil-stare moments in our relationship). Thanks for the admiration but we do have many areas that we can improve on most definitely.

Here's to many more years together. Happy 6.5 years anniversary 

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