One of the reasons of which I started to resent J in retrospect was because she made me compromise on my beliefs. Because of all the threats and emotional blackmail, even my hard stance of not giving into her started to slide. Her actions were so extreme I started to apologise even when I wasn’t wrong because I just got tired of getting kicked out, or just didn’t have the energy to fight. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I just can’t stand being falsely accused in my mind. Where I used to get defensive, I started to just cave in and apologise more and more.

This was a blessing in disguise in many ways because I’ve learnt since that in a relationship, sometimes it doesn’t matter who’s right or who’s wrong. Sometimes it’s not about winning or losing or proving a point. It’s about prioritising what’s important. And that is putting the feelings of your loved ones before your own. There has to be a compromise naturally and I’ve learnt much since about finding and striking that compromise, even if she hadn’t, because I’m now a better person for it.

However making the move to apologise, biting the bullet and eating humble pie for the sake of your partner even when you believe she was in the wrong, not you, and being faced with absolutely no understanding and appreciation really really sucks. Many times I’ve sucked it up and took the bullet for the greater good only for her to just keep firing and show no acknowledgement for my apology.

I remember on one occasion where we had a fight over of all things, a fucking chicken. It was late, I was tired, and we were about to cook dinner. She wanted to cook chicken and we had none, and so asked me to drive to the shops to buy one. I told her I was really tired and we could just cook something else instead as we had other meats. Cue explosion. We ended up fighting all night and until the morning when I had to leave for work…. over a stupid chicken!!!!

At work, I just felt like it was the stupidest thing in the world. I mean, we fought for hours over a stupid chicken. How bloody dumb was that???!!! I just started analysing the whole situation and just told myself that maybe I should just have bought that damn chicken to keep the peace. I loved J, I wanted her to be happy, I should have done whatever it took to make her happy and so decided to try my best to make it up to her.

I left work a few hours early and drove to the shops. I went to a engraving/key cutting store and bought 15 of those little metal plaques that you engrave words on and stick them to nice boxes or trophies and stuff. I bought 15 small little gold ones that look really really classy and elegant. On each one, I got them to engrave “Tiki- One Wish”. Tiki was my pet name for her… don’t ask.

I bought a very elegant dark wooden gift box that was lined with felt and laid out those tags inside and wrote her a letter which I also placed inside. The letter stated how sorry I was for the fight that we had. That this gift to her represented the fact that from now on, I would try to be a better boyfriend. Every time she wanted me to do something, and I didn’t want to do it, all she had to do was give me one of those tokens and I could grant her whatever wish she wanted. Anything she wanted me to do (within reason of course) that I didn’t want to do, I promise I will do when she gave me a token. It would serve as a constant reminder to me that her life, her wants, needs, and desires meant more to me than my own feelings and my own conveniences and hopefully over time, I would not need her to give me any more of those tokens before I would do everything in my power to make her happy. And to go with that gift…… I bought a chicken.

To me, it was a huge gesture that I put a huge amount of not only thought into, but also my soul. Even the guys at the shop doing the engraving said that it blew them away so much that if she didn’t forgive me, bring it back and they would give me a full refund. I just couldn’t wait to give both box and chicken to her. The chicken was just for laughs really and show her that it was related to last night.

So needless to say I was quite crushed when I gave the gift to J and she just looked at it, looked at me, and just basically thought it was like the stupidest gift ever. She tucked it away never to be seen again, only pulling out a token once to get me to catch a tram into the city just to buy a boost juice for her. More than being crushed, seeing her reaction really hurt.

On another occasion, after a big fight, I went to buy her a pressie. This story I found quite amusing. I parked my bike on Little Bourke St in the city and went into one of those cutesy stores to buy this huge Mashi Maro soft toy (J absolutely adores Mashi Maro). It was huge! At between 2.5 to 3 feet high, and being pretty wide all round (since Mashi is meant to be a stupid fat rabbit!), it was pretty embarrassing to be seen by everyone trying to strap this huge Mashi doll onto the back of his bike like a pillion! This dude in race jacket and helmet trying to sit his fluffy toy onto his sports bike! Not only that, I went to that little flower shop on Swanston St just outside the Lin Contro cafe where all the students hung out. I bought a dozen roses but had no where to keep them as I was on a motorcycle. So I asked the shopkeeper to strap them to my back with sticky tape so my body would protect them from the wind.

The cheeky bastard laughed, pulled me out into the street, and in front of everyone started wrapping tape all around me whilst deliberately making so much noise so everyone would look! So once again, here is this guy decked out in his bright yellow race jact, standing next to his bright yellow sports bike with a big soft toy strapped onto it, getting a dozen roses taped to him in the middle of the street while the guy doing it is laughing his guts out. Basically everyone in the cafe and on the street was just staring at me…. embarrassing to say the least!!! Thankfully, J didn’t think it was as stupid as the previous gift, but she was still relatively nonchalant about the whole thing and so made me question as to why I keep bothering trying to go above and beyond just to make up to her.

It’s like a domino effect, or a runaway fission reaction. Where like an avalanche, once the sliding starts it’s very very hard to stop. The more I started to cave in and apologise, the more she would expect me to succumb to her every whim or tantrum. And on the occasions that I didn’t, the more she would flare up and explode because she was getting more and more used to it.

I remember some of her friends whom I got to know quite well looking at me with pity and asking me if I was okay, or how I could put up with her. And I hated that. I hated the fact that people would feel sorry for me. As much as I know they didn’t, given that they know J well, my mind still pondered the possibility that they may look at me as a weakling or as someone whom just can’t control his own girlfriend, especially given that the guys in her group demonstrated some chauvinist tendencies. I sometimes just wanted to scream “Don’t look up to us dammit!! Our relationship is fucked!!!”.

It was pretty twisted. Most of her friends were couples that I got to know really well. We used to always hang out in a group. They were all from either Singapore, Indonesia, or Malaysia. Basically they were all overseas students, just like J. I always used to get the impression that they looked to J and I as a “star couple” to coin a phrase. In the sense that because I was very westernised, I used to treat J quite different from the way the guys would treat their girlfriends. And so the girls would wish their partners would treat them with the same love and respect I showed J. I had no fear of public displays of affection and had no hesitation to hug, hold, kiss, or just show my feelings in public. Where as the other guys all refused to do so. Plus they all expected the girls to do their washing, cooking, cleaning, etc etc. One Singaporean guy even slapped his girlfriend across the face at lunch in front of all their friends.

People would talk to and ask me for relationship advice and I just wish they knew how bad things could get between J and I behind closed doors. Ever since then, I sometimes look at couples that seem so happy in a different light. I look at couples in blogs or in person that everyone seems to envy. Hearing and reading people going “You guys are just so perfect together”, “You’re both just so meant for each other” and think to myself…. what the fuck do you people base this on? Do you even know the couple apart from what they want you to see? PDOA does not equate to a perfect relationship or even a smooth one. PDOA is just PDOA… it’s an action like clapping your hands. It doesn’t reflect the possible pain, suffering, communication breakdowns, jealousy, unfair compromises, etc etc that really goes on beneath the surface. Just look at Hollywood where everyone is all smiles and teeth in public and maintaining that everything is perfect then the next day cite “irreconcilable differences”.

It really opened my eyes to the fact that the public face of a couple that everyone sees may just be the 10% tip of the iceberg, with the submerged 90% of it being what really counts, and invisible to all but the couple themselves. All these people whom envy couples that may only show the good times and not the bad, why envy what you really don’t know? It just makes me palm my forehead in frustration and wonder if people are that eager or desperate to live vicariously through someone else they don’t really know. Whose life is all perfect smiles and sunshine in the public arena when it may not be the same in private.

It was only until all her friends saw J explode in public for the first time in a Uni classroom that they started to see the different, and scarier side of her. Then one of her other friends moved in with us for a short period, and J exploded at him and damn near tore his head off on one occasion. He rapidly spread the word of what happened and her reputation started to change from the sweet one, to the scary one.