Waiting for Mr. Right

“The wait is long, my dream of you does not end.” ~ Nuala O’Faolain

When I was much younger, I used to dream that a Mr. Right would come along, and everything would turn out as it should be. I thought that I would recognise him the moment I saw him. I would just know. Like in the movies. I even had a check list for all the qualities that he would have possessed. But as each year ticked closer to 30, my Mr. Right did not show up. Instead, I panicked. With my biological clock kicking and screaming at me, I hastily settled for a Mr. Not-So-Right.

I will not deny that I had rushed into my marriage. I won’t lie about being a coward then. I was a different person then.

I thought that being with someone was the solution to my being alone.

13 years have passed since my divorce. At the beginning, I still held onto the dream of finding my Mr. Right. I thought that after regaining my freedom, I would find him. So, I waited. And waited. Then, the waiting became a habit.

Waiting for the weekends, waiting to be called upon, waiting to be welcomed into a new group of friends, waiting to be wanted and needed. Most of all, waiting to be loved. The worst was the feeling of being left behind – being abandoned or excluded. It reminded me of my younger days at school when I was left waiting because no one cared to have me in their groups. It felt like an abject humiliation – to be the only one left standing in front of the whole class.

The taunting questions inevitably started to roll like clockwork – Why won’t they pick me? Why no one likes me? What’s wrong with me?

Then, when you learn that your ex-husband had moved on with another woman (or several other women) – the blade plunged deeper. No one came for me. No matter how long I had waited – there was no one but me.

It became an old tired scene – going on solo holidays, ordering for one at restaurants, finishing my meals over the kitchen sink or experiencing something wonderful but there was no one to share it with. And the person I cozied up to in bed on most nights was called, Mac – as in MacBook Air. He didn’t snore, or tossed and turned. However, there was a real risk of him heating up. Yes, that puts a whole new meaning to burning up the sheets! 🙂

This summed up the landscape of my SINGLE life, where even my daughter has become too busy for me. But don’t feel sorry for me. I insist. Because I don’t feel sorry for me. Because it is about me not settling for anything less.

Yes, it would be nice to travel with someone. But it would only work if that someone enjoys traveling and adventure just as much as I do. And that we both can get along. My rule of thumb is – if you can still stand that person after being stuck on a boat with him or her for a week, then there is real hope. Being stuck in small confined spaces with someone will bring out all the colours of their personality and yours. By the end of the week, you’ll discover if you really like or hate one another.

Yes, it would be nice to dine with someone. But it would only work if that someone’s company is the one you’ll enjoy or appreciate. Ever been to a blind date? Ever been to a really bad date? When two people can’t relate or connect with each other, it’s terrible. The minutes pass like an eternity and you’re both wondering how to get yourselves out of it. At best, you will try to be polite but you’re really cursing under your breath. Enough said.

Marriage or a relationship IS NOT a cure for loneliness, or being alone. – Click to Tweet

We could be in a marriage or relationship and STILL feel all alone. There were countless nights during my marriage when I was lying next to my husband, and yet I had never felt more lonely. We may as well have been living on different planets. The divorce merely formalised our separation.

In the past, I was so bruised, broken and in desperate need of loving care. But I would have been unable to return any loving care to anyone in my splintered state. It was really a blessing in disguise that I did not meet any Mr. Right or Mr. Nice guys. I might have ended up bruising them, and nothing would have turned out right.

I realised that my not liking being alone stemmed from my own issues. I did not like my own company back then. I didn’t even like myself, but I yearned to belong and to be accepted. And I actually thought that relationships (or marriage) could fulfil that need. As if having someone to love and adore me would validate my worth or being. As if without any of it, I would cease to exist. It was not until I made peace with my own personal issues that things began to change.

Instead of waiting for someone to rescue me, I became my own friend. Getting to know myself on a much deeper level, finding out what mattered to me, and what I am truly made of. In the process, I began to take pleasure in my own company.

These days, I take out my best China and tableware whenever I eat. Yes, even when I eat alone. Just like how I wear my best lingerie to sleep on certain nights even though the only people who get to see me in it are me, myself and Mac. I wear nice clothes and put on make up whenever I feel like it. I do not wait until I have a date to dress my best. I indulge in solo pampering like luxurious spas and retreats. I am not afraid to watch my favourite movies alone. Whenever time and $$ permit, I treat myself to special dream holidays. No, I don’t save the best for last. I enjoy what I deserve NOW.

To be honest, I am much happier these days because I am loving the life I live. I value the time alone as much as I appreciate time spent with loved ones and friends. Because the key to having successful relationships with others begins with cultivating a good relationship with oneself. If we do not even like our own company, then who would?

At the end of the day, I learnt that the person I was really waiting for was me.

I would say that the biggest change in me is my positive attitude. Because of that, it makes me easier to be around people. I am no longer carrying that “woe-is-me” weight around. I feel much lighter and cheerful. I no longer see adversity as a deliberate crisis designed to derail me. I see it as an opportunity for me to learn, discover and grow. As a result, my life started to change for the better.

There is no such thing as a perfect mate. Or a Mr. Right or Ms. Right. But there is definitely a person who is worthy of our time, love and attention. However, it is important to note that every person we meet will be as perfectly flawed as we are. What makes someone “perfect” for us is that he or she can truly inspire us to become the best version of ourselves. And if we know how to do that for one another, we would know how to nurture each other for the long haul. This would form the basis of a beautiful lasting friendship or relationship.

There is no such thing as a perfect relationship or marriage. Everything takes work. Even the relationship we have with ourselves takes hard work. We all have our own bad and good days. Without a strong understanding and love for one another, we would crack and break apart at every challenging situation. This is why it is important for us to be aware, to remain considerate and respectful of each other’s needs. Our needs are just as crucial as theirs. And these needs would change at different junctures of our lives. If we do not even know how to manage our own needs, it would be very difficult for us to be there for someone else when he or she needs us. Hence, this is why I say that the relationship we seek is the one we build. – Click to Tweet

While we can never shield ourselves from getting hurt, disappointed or heart-broken – we can stop being victims. We remain victims when we close our hearts and stop caring or loving. When we stop caring or loving, we cease to really live.

The day you start to heal from your past trauma, or personal issues is the day your heart grows bigger and braver. Sometimes we need the heartaches, pains and suffering in order to grow stronger, better and wiser. Sometimes, we may even need them so that we can learn the true meaning of love, gratitude and happiness. Above all, mercy and forgiveness.

All of our experiences – good or bad – should make us more understanding and compassionate. Only then we can relate to others in a meaningful way.

So, while you are waiting for someone special to share your life with – start living your own life to the fullest. Don’t put your life on a pause-mode just because that someone special has yet to appear. We don’t have to stop dreaming, but we do need to start being proactive. Be your own true friend, and enjoy your own company. Don’t stinge on yourself, but pamper yourself. Make each day worthwhile.

Fall in love with every aspect of your life, and value yourself. 

Be grateful for all that you already have, and share the joy. 

Become your own fearless hero, and life will love you back.  

Being Afraid Is Human, But Staying Afraid Is A Choice.

  • mihrank
    January 26, 2015

    It’s Time to Live Your Life! Your life begins now! You have the right to be content. Right here. Right now.

    Keeping your heart happy with what you have right now can make a big difference in how you live your life. It doesn’t mean that you don’t work towards future goals, but you shouldn’t spend too much time pining over not having something (like a relationship).

  • Wendell A. Brown
    February 2, 2015

    When I was alone, the best relationship was with God, I knew I could count on his love each day! In our world the way it is sometimes the best relationship is with yourself, a never changing love! Wonderful write Shirley…have a beautiful week ahead and always remember you are important…and loved greatly by God!

    • shirleymaya
      February 5, 2015

      Thanks so much for your very kind words, Wendell. Have a fabulous weekend ahead. 🙂

  • scottishmomus
    February 3, 2015

    Brava, SS! Positivity oozing. There is synchronicity here. 🙂

    • shirleymaya
      February 5, 2015

      Thank you, AM/SS. Hope all is well with you. How is the novel coming along? Great to see you writing/blogging again. Big hugs x

  • Carol Balawyder
    February 3, 2015

    I really like your post. I wrote an entire novel about women waiting for Mr. Right (Getting To Mr. Right). Lots of great advice in your post and lots of stuff woman can identify with.
    I think as I get older, I still want that special someone, but I’m really not willing to settle. Sometimes it is lonely but less and less so and I like the freedom of being single.
    “The relationship we seek is the one we build” — I’m not on twitter but this should be a tweet! 🙂

    • shirleymaya
      February 5, 2015

      I googled your book, Carol! It looks great. Love the characters of the women and of course, Campbell herself. Unfortunately, we don’t have Kindle in Malaysia. Wish I could get hold of a copy. Would love to have read the whole book and not previews or reviews of it. Would have loved to interview you or have you guest blog about it. Let me know if you are keen. I really appreciate all your supportive comments all this time. Means a lot. I do agree that as we grow older and know better, we would resist the urge to settle for anyone or anything less. Yes, it gets lonely. But I believe that comes with the territory of not settling. In my earlier post, Successful Single Women, I stated that every journey has its cost and benefit. My benefit for not settling for less far outweigh the cost of loneliness. We can always do meaningful stuff to fill our time and our days can pass by so quickly. However, being stuck in a bad or negative relationship is a much higher price to pay for not being alone. Hence, it has to be with the one “right” for you. Thanks for sharing, Carol. I have always appreciated your blog and how you selflessly share all the tips on getting published. Big hugs x

      • Carol Balawyder
        February 6, 2015

        Hi Shirley,
        There is nothing lonelier than being lonely in a relationship.
        There’s really so much social pressure on being a “couple” and if you’re not then there is something wrong with you. This is changing though. Pepper Schwartz wrote on the rise of the voluntarily single woman on CNN news. In case you haven’t read the article here’s the link:
        I really like her number 1 reason: a useless husband.
        I think she’d fit right in with your blog.
        Oh, dear no Kindle in Malaysia. I am very keen on doing something with you on your blog. Let me know what you have in mind.
        In the meantime I’ll see what I can do about sending you a copy of my book, either electronic or print.
        Warmest Regards x

        • shirleymaya
          February 12, 2015

          Hi Carol,
          Thanks for your wonderful message. Sorry it took a while for me to reply. Chinese New Year is next week. So, I’ve been very busy over and will be away as well. I really appreciate you sharing Pepper Schwartz’s piece. Useless spouse be it husband or wife is always most unhelpful.;p
          Yes, no Kindle in Malaysia. Very frustrating! There are so many e-books that I can’t get a hold of and had to miss out.
          I’d love to collaborate with you, Carol. Thank you for saying yes. I am so thrilled! Please email me at shirley@shirleymaya.com. We can discuss more.
          Hope all is well with you. Will look forward to hearing from you.
          Thank you again.
          Much care x

  • narita
    February 3, 2015

    i really appreciate your post. it is more developing your intrapersonal skill.learning to love your own self before you love others. but above all love god.

    • shirleymaya
      February 5, 2015

      Thank you so much, Narita. It is very encouraging to receive the feedback from readers on my blog posts, especially women. In truth, through our mutual sharing, we learn so much more from one another and we can better ourselves in the process. So, thanks again. Hope to see you around here more often. Have a blessed day! 🙂

  • Michelle Chua
    February 4, 2015

    On the several paragraphs on the first part, before the “Marriage” part, I can relate myself to it. I have been single for almost four months now. Honestly, four months is really a long time for me since I have been through several failed relationships, one after the other.

    And since I’m an only child, I’m alone sometimes. Yes, I have friends, however, they have their own lives so we get to meet up very often.

    Somehow, I can relate myself in you. And honestly, just reading this blog of yours, I became a fan right away.

    Please continue to blog to inspire and help people just like what you did to me.

    May God Bless you always! Take Care!

    Love lots,
    Michelle of PH

    • shirleymaya
      February 5, 2015

      Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for taking the time to share and comment here as well. I appreciate your open sharing very much, in FB and over here too.
      In my earlier reply to Carol, I shared that as we grow older and know better – we tend NOT to settle for anything or anyone less. Sometimes, people may misunderstand this statement and think that I am being prejudice or snooty. But it is about not being compatible and everything that runs much deeper than just a companionship or having a good time.
      In my earlier blog post, “Successful Single Women”, I stated that every journey (and decision) has its own cost and benefit. From past experience, I learnt that the cost of settling for less or the wrong person far outweighs my loneliness. Hence, my being alone is a very small price to pay for being happy on my own, finding value and purpose in my life as a single mother. Because I know that I can do amazing stuff and pass each day meaningfully while single. However if I were to be stuck in a bad marriage or relationship, then it would be more toxic and hurtful to myself and those involved. This is why I would always stress on finding what’s truly important to you, as an individual and knowing yourself well.
      Wish you all the very best! x

      • Michelle Chua
        February 6, 2015

        You are very much welcome Ms. Shirley. I may have said thank you a lot of times, but i feel that those words are not enough to express my gratitude for you. You have inspired to me to be more fearless in a good way through your advices and your own opinion about things that most women go through.

        I’m enjoying my time now even though I’m alone sometimes and still waiting for “The One” to come. Its all about priorities, right now I’m balancing my time for myself, family, work, friends and a little bit of hobbies.

        And now I’m still learning on how to create my own blog, hopefully someday I can manage my own blogsite in just the way I want it to help others.


        • shirleymaya
          February 12, 2015

          Happy to hear that you are enjoying your time now. Wishing you all the best in all that you do, especially your blogging. See you at the FB Fan page on 14th Feb, 8pm tp 10pm Malaysian time. 😉

  • maya
    February 4, 2015

    I learned a lot from this…when I was reading it, I felt like I was watching my life story. This is really inspiring. Thank you!!

    • shirleymaya
      February 5, 2015

      Hi Maya,

      Thank you for your kind comments. We share a common name! How nice is that.
      I think in reality many lives are similar in the sense that we all seek love and happiness. Most women grew up believing that she should find a man, get married and have kids, make house and in all that gamut of life, find herself and pursue her own dreams as well.
      It is not surprising that many women and men are waking up to the realization that life is not that simple. Finding the right person to be with is not that simple, for that matter.
      Find yourself, know yourself and invest in yourself always. Then, when you do meet someone you wish to spend the rest of your life with – you’d know on what terms you’ll be happy to settle down for. No fairy tales, just real love and connection.
      All the best x

  • mari
    February 5, 2015

    This applies to everyone.

    • shirleymaya
      February 5, 2015

      Yes, I’d like to think so, Mari. I believe men and women alike do want love and happiness. Although our individual definition of love and happiness may differ, we all want to share our lives with someone if it were truly possible. If we get that lucky to find that someone who loves us and inspires us to be the best version of ourselves. 🙂

  • Fall D
    February 5, 2015

    Thank you for this post. It somehow somewhat gave me a realization of what i am facing / feeling right now 🙂

    • shirleymaya
      February 5, 2015

      I am glad it has been helpful for you. Do write back and share more on the “how”, if possible. Would love to hear all about it. Wishing you all the best x

      • Fall D
        February 5, 2015

        I’ve been in a relation before. My bf and I had a child but we took seperate ways for some reasons. What I did is that I waited for him, years passed he came back knowing that we can still be together and forget all the bad memories and start a new one.. But it turned out that he doesnt love me anymore. It’s just hard to accept that after the long wait it’s like i felt the same heart ache… I dont know what im going to do. For almost years i’ve been in vain thinking all these stuff that how would our relation would work out again… Oh 🙁 but through reading this i got an open idea/mind that i need to find some time to myself… Instead of wasting time the loneliness i’ll try to focus in new things…

        • shirleymaya
          February 5, 2015

          Hi Fall D,

          Thank you so much for taking the time to share more with me. I am deeply honoured and humbled. Please don’t blame yourself or be angry at the time wasted on waiting. Just reading those words from you tells me that you are ready to move on. That means, you have grown wiser now. That’s a real positive sign!
          Healing takes time. You may not feel better today or tomorrow. It may take weeks or months, but if you focus on better things and make the effort to move on, I promise that you will start to feel much happier in time. So, do whatever you need to do in order to get better. Your future is still waiting to be unveiled. There is still much to look forward to, live out and rejoice. Never quit your entire life just because of one lousy relationship or a partner. You are so much more! Your life is worth so much more!

          I wish you all the very best. Much care x

  • Fall D
    February 6, 2015

    Thank you for that. God bless you.

  • dougstuber
    February 12, 2015


    Bunch the usual
    ne’er-do-wells into
    an alternative
    Franklin Street, Chapel
    Hill art café, and

    presto! For
    that brief period
    she brought/gave
    us the chance to let
    it fly, hang it out in the

    breeze for all to see,
    some to comment on,
    few, very few, to
    purchase. That marble
    effect you gave me

    lingers, though
    myself far flung to
    just under
    missile range on this
    mountainous peninsula.

    Carolina life seems so
    happy, yet
    only pictures tell
    a story that must be

    as complex
    as you always were back when
    we had time
    to wander free, be
    ourselves, love each other.