Jul 21, 2008

Complicated Relationship


Dear Joe,

Hi!How are you? It's been a long, long time since the first time i wrote you. I'm not even sure if you will still remember me. But as far as my memory serves me right, you had my letter aired on your show April of 1994. I think i better refresh your mind by giving you the name i used on that letter. I am Michelle Santiago, now 25 years of age and presently managing my own business. I wrote again to say "thank you" for the time you gave me before and "Congratulations" for keeping up a good show. Joe, i'm seeking your advice again for all these fears i'm having right now that are locking me up in my own shell. The advice you gave on my last letter was a big help 'coz when Lawrence came back to me, i was able to handle things the way they should be. Yes,Joe, i accepted him again, gave him another chance because that's what my heart dictated. I was just being honest with my feelings that time and simply took the risk 'coz that's what love is, after all. It's simply a gamble wherein you either win or lose. And part of that game called love, is believing. So, when he left for the States last July of 1994, i believed in all his promises that he's going to come back for me after 3 or 4 years. Everybody especially my family were against our relationship 'coz they kept on saying that the time frame for long distance relationships to survive is only 6 months for unmarried couples. Anything more than that would be a burden, a heavy crucifix i will carry on my shoulder. I chose to be deaf to all that i've been hearing and with my own effort, my faith to the Lord above and my love for Lawrence, i decided that i will prove them wrong and that our relationship will survive all obstacles, not to mention, infidelity, 'coz it does and can happen. But everything went on smoothly with us especially on the first year that we're apart. Lawrence had promised that he's going to marry me when he comes back but it will take him 2 or 3 years to establish his citizenship before he can return. It will take me 2-3 years to wait for his return so i thought of starting to look for a job, try to save some money for our future so that it will be easier for us to start our life together in the land of milk and honey. During that time, maybe luck was on my side 'coz in my search for greener pastures, there came the offer for me from a larger construction company in Japan. I was really happy that time 'coz i believe that in a span of 3 years of working in another country, i'll be able to save enough money, maybe more than enough to start a married life. Lawrence also agreed on the idea of me working abroad 'coz he believed that it would be of great help for both of us and our will-be children. So, i left November of '95 for a 3-year contract to work out of the country. Joe, it was really a struggle 'coz it's the first time that i've been away from my family and i don't think i'll be able to survive the loneliness of being alone and the fear of being in a place full of strangers. But i firmly held on to myself and set my mind that everything i'm doing is for me, for Lawrence and for our future. His phone calls and letters helped me survive those struggles.

But it was on my 2nd year of working there that everything changed. He suddenly became cold, stopped calling and writing me. I just passed it off 'coz he told me that he's having 2 jobs that time. But everything became clear to me when he decided April of '97 to cool it off with me. He told me that he can no longer fulfill my expectations towards him because of the pressures and demands of his jobs there. I asked him if there's another party but he said none. He said he still loves me but he needs space and time and that if we're meant for each other, no matter what, we will still meet again. I was in the lowest point of my life that time 'coz i had nowhere to turn to and i can't go back to the Phils. 'coz that would be breach of contract. I can't even seek for my family and friends' help 'coz they have been against our relationship from the start. It was at this time that i received an unexpected letter from a long, lost acquaintance here in the Phils. He was
the guy who introduced himself to me while i was doing my thesis at the National Library during my 4th year in college. Let's just call him Gerry, now in his mid-30's, presently working as a newscaster, TV host and Radio commentator in one of our famous TV stations here. During our acquaintance which was 6 years ago, he asked for my number and we talked for a couple of times and then he just disappeared for no reason at all. I just shrugged it off thinking he's just one of those guys. But i learned from his letter that he got a very demanding job, he also moved to another house, got his things jumbled-up and he got it fixed, i was gone. Maybe Gery's letter was a real saving grace for me 'coz it was when i needed a friend the most, someone who would listen, there he came at the right time. He really extended a helping hand across the seas. I confided in him my problems regarding Lawrence and he did all he can to give his unbiased thoughts and advices. It really made my burdens lighter when i receive letters and calls from Gerry. He really took time despite of his demanding job to write and call me to ease the pain i'm feeling that time. Lawrence was then avoiding my calls whenever i tried to call him up. I was not yet giving up on the idea that Lawrence still loves me and that everything will go smoothly again in the future. I kept myself believing that if there's only a chance for us to see each other, everything will be back to normal 'coz i realized that time that no matter how strong your love is to each other, physical presence really counts.

It's true that "absence makes the heart grow fonder", but this is true only for short absences 'coz long absences also makes the heart forget and sometimes reluctant. But i was able to survive my 3rd year of work there with the routine of me writing and calling up Lawrence but receiving no response at all and me and Gerry trying to create a link that connects us between the seas. It was this May of '98 that i learned from Lawrence's relatives here in the Phils. that Lawrence is planning to go home for a vacation. I was able to talk to him on the phone but he didn't tell me of his plans of vacationing in the Phils. I was hurt again that time 'coz i don't see any reasons why he has to hide his plans of going back to the Philippines. So, i decide to myself that i need to go home and see him 'coz now's the chance for me to clear up things between us. If he really had a change of plans, i deserve an explanation and if we're really not meant for each other, at least, i deserve a decent break-up. So, i begged for permission from my company to allow me to go home with the lie i made up that i have some medical problems. They allowed provided i'll shoulder my airfare and i had to pay some penalties because i still have 6 months to work. So, without Lawrence's knowledge and Gerry's too, i came home last 11th of May. Lawrence was already here 'coz he arrived one day earlier. I decided to see Lawrence on the 12th and true to my words, it really brought back the old feelings between the two of us. It seemed as if we've never been separated for 4 years. I thought marriage plans will push through this time but i was shocked when i learned from Lawrence's relatives that there was another girl. Lawrence's relatives want us to get married before Lawrence leaves for the States again because they don't want Lawrence to end up with that girl in the States who is actually married, has 2 kids and 34 years of age. I confronted Lawrence about it and he admitted that he loves the girl but he loves me more. I didn't buy the idea,joe and i decided not to marry him.

He has left for the States last May 30 and during his departure, i made it clear that there will be no more Michelle waiting for him and that it's better if we just both move on with our lives. It was again one of the saddest times of my life and only then did i remember to call up Gerry to break him the news that i've already arrived. He was surprised 'coz he was expecting me to come home by November. I told him what happened, the marriage plans, the other party and that i've already put an end to my relationship with Lawrence. Gerry played again the role of a best friend, adviser and a brother to me, giving words of consolation, cheering me up and making me feel i'm not alone. I could never imagine how it would be for me
to go through this stage without Gerry's help. He always visits me at home, calls me up regularly and he really helped me forget my miseries. And he's starting to express his feelings towards me, saying here's here to mend my broken heart. I was beginning to like him,too, but it was then that i realized that i never knew him that well. Yes, we've been open to each other about our moods, characters and feelings,and i've open to him,too, from the start. So i began asking him about his personal life. It was then that i knew that he comes from a very rich family, his father held a high position in the government before. And regarding his previous relationships with women, he's been involved with big stars both in showbiz and modelling world. I asked him why he's not married yet and he told me that he doesn't have any plans yet. I tried believing everything he said but i really don't know why i still have reservations and hesitations towards him. Maybe my mind can't absorb the idea that a man of such power and wealth, can fall in love with someone like me. You know,Joe, i am a very simple person with simple dreams, simple hopes and simple wishes. And you know for a fact how people in the high society live their lives and i don't want to belong there. And i've actually opened up these things to him (about the hesitations) and he told me that i shouldn't be bothered by those things because what he has shown me was the real him, with no pretentions at all. But i told him that he should have told me those things before hand but still, he defended himself saying that he doesn't want those things to be my basis in deciding what our relationship will be in the future. He said that if i don't want him, it's only because i don't have that special feeling and need towards him and not because he's a man of power and wealth. Maybe he's right after all, maybe it's like entering a house thru the backdoor. I know i'm beginning to fall for Gerry 'coz of all the men who's courting me, it's only towards Gerry that i've felt this kind of feeling of longingness. The last time i've felt this feeling was towards Lawrence and i am starting to feel it towards Gerry,too. I have never been involved with any other guy since Lawrence left for the States for the first time and even when i was out of the country, i was able to survive the temptations. And when i became
aware of my feelings towards Gerry, i also realized that i was not in love with Lawrence anymore. Maybe all i needed was to feel that same feeling again to be able to realize that i wasn't in love with Lawrence anymore.
Guess it's true after all, that to forget a lost love, you must get another love. And i'm really thankful that with Gerry's help, i was able to let go of Lawrence. Gerry knows all the hardships i've been through with Lawrence, the abandonment when i got pregnant, the sacrifices i've made for Lawrence, and all the pains that i've been through but he said he's willing to help me go through and forget these traumas. I'd be untrue to myself if i'll say that i did not believe what he said, but i still don't feel that assurance. No matter how he tries to convince me of his feelings and intentions towards me, i still have these hidden reservations. Joe, i really tried to give him the benefit of my unbiased doubts but there's always something inside me that tells me there's something about him that i should know. So, i decided to discover by myself about things which i'm not even sure what. To make the long story short, i tried finding out one of his nephew's telephone number, succeeded in befriending him without his nephew's knowledge that i know his Uncle so well. It was then that i found out that he's been married for six years. His nephew told me that his Uncle's marriage is now on the rocks 'coz Gerry's wife can't bear a child but that doesn't justify Gerry's reason for looking for another girl and for wanting to have a child with me. Yes,Joe, he wants to have a child with me and i must admit i'm beginning to give in to that idea and it's a good thing that i followed my instincts first. But why me, Joe? I can't find the right words to describe how i'm hurting right now not only because of the deception but because i've trusted Gerry so much and his one of the few persons who knows how much i've been hurt before and he's the last person i've expected to hurt me. Joe, why are all these things happening to me? I feel so alone right now. I really feel like i'm going to give up. I don't even know now if i'll be able to trust and love somebody again after all i've been through. Right now, i'm trying to go through all of these by myself, every night has been a sleepless night for me. Gerry doesn't even know that i've known his secret 'coz i've been avoiding his call 'coz i really don't know how to tell him without breaking down.

Joe, please help me. All i ever wanted is a simple relationship with a simple guy. Why am i being deprived of these? I know there is a light for those who patiently search, and i'm asking you to help me see this light. Again, thank you for your time. More power to your show and God Bless!



Joes Notes

Dear Michelle,

There comes a moment in our lives when we feel so alone. Times when there seems to be no one we could turn to, no shoulder to lay our heads upon. Michelle, we will go through the lowest and most depressing times of our lives. Love that should have helped us get by turns out the very same emotion that will bring us down to our bare senses.

You have held on so strongly to a feeling that you hoped will last you your lifetime but just as when you thought you’re going to have it all, love suddenly decided to leave you. I have had my own share of a long distance affair. And I was one of those blessed to have found love again. But, many others have not been so lucky. For a handful of reasons, I would still have my reservations in getting into the same boat again. If There could be a sensible and practical alternative, I would rather have love within reach than let it be taken away by distance and time.

Michelle, Laurence never wanted to hurt you but he was tempted to get into a relationship outside your knowledge because his love for you was overpowered by his own needs. We all could make up an acceptable justification for the wrong we do but what is wrong cannot be right and hurting others for our own gain doesn’t come close to the definition of what love really is. You cannot blame him for giving up. He was just human., like all of us, capable of making mistakes and hurting even those we love. Let him live his own life and get on with yours.

Like rain from heaven on a dry desert, Gerry came and brought color back in your dull and bitter world. But this knight in shining armor turned out to be a thief in the night. He was dressed in royalty but most of what he truly s lie hidden in the back of his dark secrets. Michelle, like Laurence, Gerry probably never wanted to hurt you. He never told you he was married because he was afraid that would spoil his chance of being closer to you. He finally got to you but he stands a great chance of losing everything now that you found out that he was really never the Gerry that he wanted you to know. I don’t see anything wrong in telling him even if you have to break down in tears. He probably knows you have already fallen for him anyway. At least you have a good excuse in avoiding him. I’m sure you would never want to get in the way of an ailing marriage and become the reason for its fall. Again you just have to let him live his own life and get on with yours.

Now, you’re all by yourself, longing for answer, drifting in loneliness and hurting in love. The light at the end of the tunnel may not appear as soon as you want it but you just have to believe that it will. Whatever it is that happens in our lives happen for a purpose. Even if the whole world has fallen on us, God will never forsake us. He will never leave us even if everyone is hurrying for his own way out. You have met men who have changed your life. Who you haven’t met is the man who will be your life. Believe me, he is out there, just like you, waiting for his chance. Don’t let pain stop you from moving on. Forgive Laurence and Gerry for all that they have done to hurt you and pray for their happiness as well. Only when you give your heart this chance you will find peace, love and happiness in your own God-given time.