The first time I saw you, I could vividly remember what I told myself: “Oh God, I like this man”. Never wondered you would bear the same thought and it was the most wonderful feeling, like butterflies sweetly tickling my stomach.

There were nights I prayed to God for a man that I could keep and for a man that would love me unconditionally. I made my prayer so specific that it included every aspect of a guy, and to my sweet surprise, every detail fit you to a T. So when I met you I was more than excited to start a fresh and serious relationship even when the situation wasn’t favorable: you were my suitor’s best friend.

We started our love in secret. I was made to believe that you would eventually remove the blanket of fear–the fear of offending your friend. But deep down, I honestly felt that you would never be able to do that. You know why? Because how can someone betray a friend for a woman he just met? But because I was deeply in love with you, I just surrendered to you and trusted you even if I felt you didn’t deserve it.

The relationship initially went well. You met my family and you made jokes about being in my family reunion. You are a funny guy. You are charming, intellectual and family oriented. You have a smile so wide that it spreads across your eyes as well, making it smaller and making you even cuter. And your love for Sinigang?: it’s crazy.

I made so much effort to make time for you even if my work outside the country was a constant challenge. And as months passed, I got to know you more. Your moods and your personality shifted as fast as the passing time. Is it circumstance? or is it just you being you? I know nothing has changed because I still see you in all of it.
Of course, I have accepted everything: your temper, insecurities, frustration and anger. I have delighted in all the sides of you.

And the day did come that I realized I shouldn’t be kept in the dark side of your life. I deserve to be recognized as part of you. And to make your best friend look stupid all this time? It’s not fair. My heart knew better.
My best judgment was to finally tell your friend. You became frantic, you hated me, broke up with me and eventually blocked me. I am deeply hurt and I don’t know now how to trust and love again.

I read a book from Regina Brett ( God Never Blinks). A line struck me.
She states in one of her life lessons: “ If a relationship has to be kept secret, you shouldn’t be in it.”

To all the women out there, please do recognize the red flags of the relationship. Please do not be blinded by love, it is so hard to move forward if you have invested so much in your partner. Please leave more of you for yourself. And if he is keeping you a secret? Run. You deserve better. A woman loved is a woman showed off to the world. Know your worth.

-A