What You Should Know About Self-Love and Relationship by Fajar Zakhri

I think it’s very important to address the real issue at hand: the gulf between a man being single and of a certain age and a woman being single and of a certain age. The video is using a 35-year-old woman as an example and there is no denying that our society places an unnecessarily heavier burden for women who remain unwed at a certain age, whether voluntarily or otherwise. I doubt a man of the exact same age would be subjected to a similar burden, although this is not to say that men are not pressured into these things — but the extent to this is, more often than not, vastly dissimilar.

I do not believe there’s anything inherently wrong about being single, especially being single and of a certain age. I think it’s a precious window of opportunity to learn more about not only yourself, but also about other people, in your dealings with your family, friends, colleagues, even strangers in the street, about how you conduct your relationship with these people, and what it is exactly that works for you and what doesn’t in the context of these relationships. Of course, as people, we seek validation. A great part of being in a relationship is that validation, that feeling of being wanted and desired (and knowing you are wanted and desired) by another individual for whatever aspects or qualities that you possess. This is a very human thing.

On the other hand, I came across an old Facebook post of mine which stated the following: “Love without self-sufficiency is holding each other hostage.” I’ve said this to you more than once, if you find it hard to love yourself, at least have some self-respect. What this means is you do not put yourself down because someone else tells you to. It means still having the courage to hold your head up even when you’ve been knocked down over and over again. And what it boils down to is really knowing yourself and your core as a person, what and who you want for yourself and in your life but still keeping an open mind (and an open heart) to all sorts of possibilities that you may come across.

I’m as guilty as the next person, but the thing is, many of us fall trap into this heavily romanticized version of relationship, oblivious to the fact that there are always factors and variables that play into a relationship and thus manifest themselves as obstacles. A relationship is the meeting of two different entities, each with their own set of baggage. The question is always, what kind of baggage do you want to deal with? How far and how long do you want to deal with it for?

I’ve said this to you and I’ll say it again: ANY relationship is work. Often times, we measure our worth on the basis of success or failure in maintaining said relationship. In turn, this becomes the basis of our pride; depending on where the pendulum swings, that’s where our level of pride follows suit. But here’s the caveat: in an interpersonal romantic liaison, I strongly believe that this is the one area where pride should be kept at an absolute minimum. You see how frequent things like work or study contribute to the demise of a relationship. I’m not saying that you should sacrifice your personal wants and needs for the sake of someone else; what I’m saying is, there are always ways to make something work and it all depends on both parties’ willingness to do so. What one may see as a ‘this or that’ type of situation more often than not can actually be solved with ‘this AND that, but…’, you know?

It’s interesting what her father says in the video about how the nature of human being is “to procreate, to have children” — a line of thought cannot be more archaic, in my opinion. I think of procreation simply as a byproduct of heterosexual sex, nothing more, nothing less. It can actually be prevented or annulled, if you think about it! Sometimes I think why people are so intent on procreating is because subconsciously they know that they can mould this creation of theirs according to their own liking, because then they get to have more control than usual over another human being — even if it means more hassle, even if it means polluting the earth.

What I do believe is it’s human nature to desire intimacy and companionship, because obviously it boils down to connection. Every one of us, no matter how solitary we claim to be, has an innate need for connection, and to find that in another human being is always a good thing. Which is why I also strongly believe that there should be no distinction between your partner and your best friend. Ideally, your partner should also be your best friend, because I would think you would want to spend your life with someone you consider to be your best friend, wouldn’t you? I think this is where a lot of people get it twisted: in the pursuit of The One and the fairytale romance, they see the other person more as a concept or a vessel to accomplish said pursuit rather than an actual, living, breathing, layered human being. This is touched upon in the video, where she finds a good Jewish guy and how she can finally be “the nice Jewish girl everyone wants me to be.”

That type of perception is problematic because a relationship should only concern the parties involved in it. Once you start thinking about how other people might perceive your relationship or how your relationship looks like to the outside world, that’s when you have to catch yourself and examine the foundation of having the relationship in the first place. What is it that brought the two of you together in the first place? What is it that’s keeping the two of you together? How do you see yourself and the other person, say, in the next 5 or 10 years?

I think as queer people we have a very powerful tool to define (or redefine) relationship as we see fit. For all these talks of sexual liberation, breaking free from the constraints of heteronormativity and not having monogamous relationship as the sole acceptable model of coupling (or the most important relationship in our lives, for that matter), sometimes it does feel like we end up going about these matters arbitrarily instead of responsibly and I think that’s counterproductive. Sometimes it does seem like we forget to examine the course of action we take, why we adopt certain beliefs or behavioral patterns and hold on to them even when they hinder our growth, that kind of thing.

I’m all for people making their own choice, though. I completely support anyone — especially women — choosing to remain single and childfree, for instance. I know very well how much courage it takes for a woman to make that type of decision. Same goes for anyone wanting their own family. But I think it’s also important to ask yourself those questions and really examine these things. I always go back to that quote from Socrates — “An unexamined life is not worth living” — so there’s your food for thought for now, haha.

  • this witten well essay by Fajar Zakhri actually his commentary on a video, therefore I found it worth to read, for me and anyone else. I hope you enjoy it!
  • And for my beloved Fajrina, you are my favorite writer ever!
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