If only with the passing of Valentine’s Day the college’s romantic woes also passed… Alas, it seems that some of you need my help, so I will continue to respond to queries for as long as they continue to be submitted. Seeing as you’re not paying my bills, I don’t have the time, or quite frankly the energy, to respond to every query, but I will address as many different issues as possible.
Sender 3 (she/her/hers):
“I currently like someone very much, but I sort of know this wouldn’t last long term, as I’m an international student while he’s Singaporean (I plan on moving back to my home country when I graduate). He’s communicated with me from the beginning that he’s only dating for the long term, and I also somewhat feel this way. However, we decided we would try dating regardless (cause why not).
It’s been several months into the relationship, and I’ve been rethinking this issue and tried communicating it to him again that we inevitably wouldn’t be long term. This time around, he said it’s fine that this wouldn’t be long-term because he loves me and that us not being a long-term thing didn’t matter to him anymore. I feel like he’s only saying this so that we wouldn’t break up. Should I just end it to not to waste his time? Or should I just let things be? I do like him very much as well, but I feel like I’m simply just going to hurt him later on when I move away.”
Dear Not on TGS,
If we didn’t live in Singapore, I would tell you that you’re doing entirely too much. However, considering the context, it’s good that you’re having this conversation with him: it shows that you care about him, rather than just your relationship with him. Dating him will likely slow down the process of him applying for and securing a BTO flat. Alternatively, if he’s a science major, the results of the graduate employment survey suggest that time won’t be an issue because it’s safe to say he’ll be buying a condo.
Now you may not like this but it’s the truth: you might not have ended up with him anyway. You’re still young and growing as an individual, and in two or three years, you’ll be an entirely different person. Think about how much reading Marx changed you. The chances that the two of you will be compatible two, five, or ten years down the line are slim.
However, not every relationship has to end in a “happily ever after” for it to have been worth it. Both of you can learn a variety of lessons from this relationship, even though you might not end up together. Letting go is an important part of life. Think of all the other things we have had to learn to let go: the ‘I’ in CIPE, buffet dining, 24-hour Starbucks…
His response is also encouraging. I was initially hesitant about the fact that he originally wanted something long-term, but it’s only natural that priorities change when you care about someone. It seems that he’s also realizing that sometimes the heartbreak is worth the good time, seeing as either way you’ll have to break up with him.
In the end, it boils down to this very fact. If you don’t live this out, you’ll always question what could have been, whereas if you do, you’ll only have fond memories of him.
Ultimately, it’s as deep as you make it.
Sender 4 (he/him/his)
“There is a girl I crush on at YNC. I even sent her a rose on Valentine’s Day, but without disclosing my identity. In the letter, I requested for her to wear the rose the next day if she could, but she didn’t. This is understandable since she didn’t even know who sent the flower, but at least I want to know whether she likes it or not. Actually she might not even know much about me as we have met only since the start of this semester. Should I admit to her that I like her? I am very afraid of being rejected and the embarrassment I would get.”
There’s a lot to unpack here.
Is it possible to have a crush on someone you don’t know? I would say it isn’t. You wrote that you’ve only spoken to her once, so for you to have a crush on her, you must have been actively selling yourself dreams (making up scenarios in your head, wondering “what if”). This shows that you don’t actually like her, because you don’t know her. Rather, you like the idea of her which you have created in your head.
Now, I understand that you probably had innocent intentions in sending her the rose, but, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, life is not a movie in which you are the protagonist. I think you need to understand how it may have felt for her.
Imagine you’re going about your business and you receive a random rose from some random person. Whack. Then, in the letter they send you with the rose, they ask you to wear it so they can see if you’re interested… Sorry, interested in who? How am I meant to respond if you don’t know who you’re talking about? As the receiver, you know two things: firstly, that someone has a crush on you, and secondly, that they’re watching you.
It’s scary, especially seeing as we live in a residential community and there is no way for her to distance herself from the situation. In addition to this, she doesn’t even know who you are, so she can’t take any action whatsoever to make herself feel more comfortable. The anonymity you chose to protect yourself from rejection negates any form of agency she may have had in this situation.
So, what can you do to move forward? It makes sense to let her know that it was you who sent the rose. If she thought it was cute, then she’ll be happy to finally know who it was, whereas if she thought it was creepy, it will make her more comfortable being able to pin down the source of the rose. The best thing to do would be to explain your intentions in person, but a text is better than nothing.
And it’s not too late to shoot your shot! Try not to be too forward in the way you ask her out by saying “I like you” or that you have a crush on her, because, as we have established, you don’t. It would also make it hard for her to respond to that because she doesn’t know you, so it’s hard for her to say if there’s any potential. When you tell her that the rose was from you, just invite her to dinner in the dining hall—it’s casual, non-intimidating, and it also allows her to make up an excuse about how she’s busy if she doesn’t want to.
If she declines, then move on. Stop selling yourself dreams about people you don’t know, and try setting more emotional boundaries for yourself.
For more information on how to contribute to a culture of consent, please refer to Kingfishers for Consent and their Instagram account @kfcync.
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Disclaimer: The advice provided in this column is no substitute for professional advice, and should not be treated as such. The Octant understands the sensitivity of such issues. If anyone has any complaints, concerns, or comments please feel free to contact The Octant at email@example.com.