Love or Something Like It

 |  March 27, 2013

When I was five years old, I decided that I was going to grow up to be a writer and travel the world. A few years later, I amended that dream: I would become a writer, move overseas, meet the love of my life and begin the greatest romance in history.

This vision for my life got me through a lot of dateless Friday nights in my adolescence; through the grueling months leading up to prom spent wondering if someone would ask me and spare me the mortification of having to go alone; and through all the times I was introduced to friends’ newest beaus, gritting my teeth to suppress my jealousy.

All of that was simply my penance, I was sure. Once I finally made it out of suburban New Jersey and finally began my life overseas, I would no doubt find the greatest guy ever, be the envy of all my friends and live out my life of adventure and romance.

Well, I began my life overseas in 2010, and things haven’t quite gone according to plan. Who would have guessed your love life doesn’t fall into place as soon as you set foot on foreign soil?

So here I am, three years later, doing what every other 20-something who has ever been told she could write does when she realises her cache of romantic experiences falls more into the insane-ridiculous-messy-occasionally-hilarious category than the happily-ever-after. I’m writing a column about it.

This column will feature my monthly musings about dating as a long-term expat who isn’t into Asian dudes and isn’t a farang retiree with a host of potential…ahem, partners, at my disposal.

Dating can be complicated even under the simplest circumstances: two people who live in the same city, have compatible interests and work schedules and no plans to uproot their lives every six months to live in a new country. But when you’re living a perpetually transient lifestyle, things can get…messy.

For all the joys of being an expatriate, there is also the bittersweet truth that people are always passing through your life. This includes potential love interests. You meet someone, hit it off, discover you share all the same interests, goals and views on the world, and have explosive sex to boot. But they’re moving on to another continent in a few weeks.

My dispatches from the front lines of my personal relationship battles will be at turns awkward, dark, cringe-worthy, (hopefully) humourous and maybe even insightful. I’ll be talking about everything from making the drunken Hail Mary pass at dudes hanging around Zoe on a Saturday night – embarrassing, yes, but we’ve all been there – to my ongoing sexual recovery from years of strict Catholicism.

Nothing will be off-limits, and indeed this column may sometimes turn into an overshare situation. In the years since I started dating, or at least since I started having crushes on boys, I’ve had far more failures than successes, but I’ve also managed to learn a lot along the way. Including the fact that things like body issues, insecurities, fear of rejection and the occasional moment of overwhelming fear that you’re going to be alone forever don’t magically go away once you become an adult. You have to not just face them but dive into them, and that can produce some heavy and unwelcome realities.

This is not an advice column or a Cosmpolitan-esque attempt to sound edgy and kinky. I won’t be offering advice on how to get a man or the hottest sex positions you should try tonight – though I’m always open for suggestions on the latter. If there are two things I’ve realised I enjoy in my life, they are writing and talking about relationships. This is simply my rather public attempt to make sense of my own romantic life and hopefully entertain people while I’m at it.

And so, dear readers, I introduce myself to you and hope you will glean some kind of insight, or at least have a laugh, at what I will share in the months to come.