I broke up with my girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.
Now, before you rip me a new hole for being so ruthless, hear me out. It was a long time coming. And when it finally came, it just so happened that the day was also Valentine’s Day.
Before the breakup, Rica* and I were doing pretty good. We had been together for over a year by then.
But when a single event led to the breakup, it laid bare the little frustrations that had built up in me over the time we were together.
A few days before Valentine’s Day, I had invited Rica’s family to a big celebration hosted by my family. Rica was away working so she couldn’t come, but by then, I felt that we were already comfortable with each other’s families so I thought nothing of inviting her family over.
My family hadn’t anticipated that there would be a lot of guests at the gathering, and we almost ran out of food. It was a simple miscalculation, but it was enough to upset Rica’s mom, who felt disrespected that not enough food had been prepared to accommodate them. I had done my best to make them comfortable and went out to grab more food to remedy the situation, but the fact that I had left to take care of it just angered her more.
Come Valentine’s Day, I called Rica to greet her, since she was still away for work. That’s when she dropped the bomb on me: her mom was mad at me, and so was she. I tried to explain my side, but I lost my temper because I couldn’t understand why she and her mom were overreacting. I normally never got angry with her, but that time, I did.
As we argued on the phone, she said, “Ayaw ko na, ayaw ko na.” I took it to mean that it was over for her, so I replied, “Okay. Thank you for the memories.” She abruptly ended the call. Later, I found out that she had blocked me on social media.
At the time, I felt it was a good enough reason to call it quits, because I couldn’t see how I could last being around Rica’s mom if we ever got married. It wasn’t the first time her mom had made up new issues or brought up old ones against me, and I was tired of being on the receiving end of her hate. That the tipping point happened right on Valentine’s Day was immaterial. I didn’t want to pretend that things were fine just to preserve some old belief that love should be in the air because the calendar read “February 14.”
But spending over a year of your life devoted to someone is no joke, and I felt the relationship deserved another chance. So I reached out to Rica after a week. As we talked, she conceded that the whole mess wasn’t my fault and admitted that she didn’t really want to break up; when she said “Ayoko na,” what she really meant was “Ayoko nang pag-usapan.”
I still loved Rica, and hearing that was the sign I needed to give it another go. Even though I still believed I had done nothing wrong, I went out of my way to win her back.
We ended up dating again—only to break up for good a few months later. Her mom had struck again, bringing up a beef she had with me from a year ago. A year ago! Even though Rica defended me against her mom, by that point, I was done. No matter how much I loved her, I couldn’t let her mom keep pushing me around.
One lesson I’ve learned from my time with Rica is when you get in a relationship, you don’t do it just for the dates and the “I love yous”; you take on your partner’s issues and struggles, too. I’ve learned that a relationship will always have ups and downs, but on the whole, there should be more ups than downs, otherwise, what’s the point? Finally, I’ve learned that you can wring yourself dry with efforts to win a girl, but at some point, you will run out of steam if the reasons it ended remain. At that point, it’s okay to give up.
With every Valentine’s Day that comes, I guess I’ll always recall how Rica and I fell apart, but I don’t regret how it all turned out. I’m much happier now, anyway. I enjoy everything more now without people dragging me down. And I am blessed with a family that always has my back.
Besides, Valentine’s Day has always been just any other day for me, even when I was in a relationship, so I won’t exactly be spending it crying man tears alone in my room. It’s Ash Wednesday this year, too, so since I’m not seeing anyone, attending mass will probably be my big agenda. That’s as good a way to spend the day as any.
*Names have been changed