"Dear Thelma" is a relationship advice column that appears in The Star, a publication that is part of the Asia News Network.
I’m a 26-year-old working as an associate in an MNC company. A few months ago, I met a girl on an online site. We exchanged numbers but she did not respond to me much in the beginning. I assumed she wasn’t so interested in me as we live in different cities.
I became so curious about her that I engaged a good friend of mine who happens to be a private investigator to gather information just to know more about her (without invading her privacy, of course). She’s slightly older than me and doing well in her career. She was dating a few guys but none of them worked out as she was looking to settle down.
I was so impressed with her character and other aspects about her that I decided I wanted to settle down with her. To make her curious about me, I started letting her know that I knew some things about her. As expected, she started engaging in conversation.
We started talking for hours on the phone even before meeting for the first time, which will be soon as she moves to my city permanently to start her new job. I fell even deeper in love with her and we planned a vacation. I told her we could get married after a year and I have agreed to convert to her religion due to legal requirements as I think it is worth the sacrifice when it comes to her (especially since I’m not a religious person).
She told me that there is an older guy who has been after her. He and his family have met her family and have discussed marriage.
To prepare for our first meeting, I went on an intense diet and workout plan for two weeks and have lost 6kg in the process after starving myself just to look good. I’ve planned a grand dinner to celebrate meeting for the first time.
One day, she texted me to say that our relationship will not go far because of the other man. I cried so hard and felt all my dreams shattering. It’s terribly depressing and I can’t accept it. I have no clue what to do next. Part of me says to let her marry him and be happy. But I do know she doesn’t love him as much as she loves me. It was just that she needed a commitment, which that guy can give.
I do know that she has been going through tough times since her father’s death recently and she really needs someone. I feel in my heart that she deserves someone like me to go all out for her. The other guy is quite religious and he wouldn’t allow her to drink and stuff, and I know she could be happier with me than with him.
What should I do? Should I continue to try hard to meet her as soon as possible and make her understand my love. Or should I move away?
I really need her so badly that all I want to do is give her a tight hug at least if I have to say goodbye. I am looking for the kind of love that Eric Benet sings about in The Last Time. Something really emotional. But it has gone too fast. It feels as if I have not been given a chance to prove myself. Even a single meeting would have convinced her of my love for her.
Premature broken heart
Dear Broken Heart
From the way you write, I can see that you had good intentions. However, your idea of romance comes straight out of fairy tales mixed with a little Instagram glitter. Life isn’t like that.
Marriage is a partnership. For it to work, the couple need to like each other, share their life goals and be prepared to work together nicely. If you marry for love, that extra feeling gets you over the difficulties that newly married couples face.
You ask if this girl is for you? Based on the fact that you met her just a few months ago, haven’t actually met, and that she’s said your relationship won’t be going anywhere, plus all the complications that come from changing religions in this country, I’d suggest you walk away from this one.
Send her a nice note, and start a proper romance.
But before you start, some words of advice.
No private investigators. You did invade that girl’s privacy and it’s completely unacceptable. If you start a relationship by spying, you poison the foundation with mistrust.
Also, you need to ditch the idea that men set young women some kind of virtue test before “rewarding” them with marriage.
You and your wife will lean on each other for 50 years or more, through thick and thin, so think in terms of a life partner. A best friend you’ll have sex with. And maybe babies.
That means you need to get to know each other. Texting and talking on the phone isn’t good enough. You need to go out together and share experiences so that you can see if you can live together happily.
Start dating girls who live nearby so you can go to the cinema, the park, dancing – and who you can enjoy a glass of wine with (if you’re allowed to, of course) during those romantic dinners you want to shower them with. Also, don’t meet one girl and stop there. Date lots of different girls to see what’s out there. Have fun, see what works, what doesn’t. Make sure that when you do propose, it’s someone you want to spend a lifetime with and who wants you in the same way.
If it sounds scary, that’s okay. Being a little nervous is fine. Focus on the positives: when she falls in love with you, it will be the real you. Not a person who feels they have to work out like a gym rat and lose tonnes of weight in order to measure up to some sort of Instagram-inspired idea of perfection.
Finally, don’t worry about occasional knock-backs and dating hassles. Those things are just part of life’s rough and tumble. You have good intentions and that’s enough to get a nice girl interested in getting to know you better.
So, go date, have a lot of fun and I hope to hear you meet someone lovely soon.