Dating A Month Before Moving Overseas
I’ve never been very good at casual dating. Within the first date, I’m always scoping to see if the guy fits my long-term plans and whether it can turn into something serious. Some may call it boring. But I don’t want to waste my time dating if they clash with my goals and values, or if it isn’t going to lead somewhere in the future.
A few years ago, I made an exception to this rule.
I was working for a bank in Malaysia when I was offered a job in New Zealand. This meant I would be moving overseas in one month. However, I had arranged a date before I found out about the job. I considered cancelling the date after I received the job offer, but I’m so glad I didn’t.
The first date
On the first date, I remember thinking he was very good-looking. Too good-looking, actually. Pretty boys aren’t my type. I also don’t like dating guys who have better hair than me—my ego and morning bathroom routine can’t take it. I don’t want to fight for mirror time in the morning!
But I figured it didn’t matter as I would probably never see him after a month, so I let the conversation flow and enjoyed myself. There wasn’t a big spark but I found him so entertaining. I also found it amusing how other women in the restaurant kept checking him out.
Normally, this would bother me, as I don’t want to worry about my man being lusted after all the time. Nevertheless, on this occasion, I found it funny. I bid him goodnight not expecting to see him again.
A changed approach to dating
He texted me the next day asking if I wanted to check out the best burgers in town. I’m a sucker for a good burger, so I said, “Yes, why not?”
Knowing I was leaving actually changed my approach to dating. I stopped worrying and questioning little things that I would normally would if I was dating a guy who could potentially be a long-term boyfriend. I didn’t sweat the small stuff. It opened up my eyes to a different approach to dating: a more relaxed one with fewer expectations and more fun.
I was also less shy, more open and direct with what I wanted. The limited time I was going to be spending with him in the same country meant I might as well enjoy myself while I could! Interestingly, this approach to dating was quite refreshing and extremely liberating.
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Enjoying our limited time together
We started to really enjoy each other’s company and would spend hours chatting about our childhoods, hopes and dreams. I loved hearing about his family and his close relationship with his big brother. His parents were childhood sweethearts and he said he wanted to look after his future wife the same way his dad treated his mum, like a queen.
Although I was growing to be quite fond of him, I didn’t want to make any concrete plans for the future. I was moving 10 hours away and couldn’t guarantee how often I could return. I had been in a long-distance relationship before and didn’t want to be in another one. Instead of talking about the future, we busied ourselves with the present. We went hiking, explored hot springs, and tried all the Malaysian food I wouldn’t be able to eat in NZ.
The month came to an end much sooner than I anticipated. I remember feeling sad over the last few days but pushing the thoughts away, so I could enjoy the precious time I had left with him.
The day we said goodbye, we hugged and held on to each other as long as we could. He gave me a little gift and asked me to keep it with me in NZ. As I walked away, I turned around and saw him with tears in his eyes. I had tears in my eyes too.
My move to NZ was hectic and exciting. I texted him to let him know I was safe and gave him a few updates. After a while, the regular texts became more infrequent as I busied myself with my new life.
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Some may say what we had was a waste of time. Why pursue something that you know is going to end? Personally, I found the experience so enriching and a huge source of comfort in tough times. The truth is, people shape who we are, and I’m forever grateful to him for shaping me into a more open-minded and easy-going person, when it comes to dating or otherwise.
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Photography by Nadia Loewito