Li Ming shook his head at himself, not wanting to think about this particular angle any longer. He continued to eat in silence for a moment before looking back up at Rong Xiang. “I never had that kind of breakup save for that ex brother Zhu met. Usually, it was all very friendly, the kind where we mutually realized it wouldn’t work out in the long term and talked it out slowly. I guess I was … a bit spoiled in that regard.
“After watching one relationship pretty much go up in flames, I don’t think I’d want to take the risk any longer. If the relationship implodes while we’re living together and I’m also financially dependent on the other person … What am I supposed to do then? And I feel like the likelihood of that happening is just too high. That kind of setup early on would strain a relationship too much.” He shrugged, feeling that no matter whether it was him or somebody else, this should be the case.
“As for Zhao Chen and I … I feel like we had something good going. With enough time and effort, we probably could’ve stayed together for a long time.” Yes, he wasn’t sure if it could have been forever. With Mo Fang, he had still dared to think like that but not with Zhao Chen. For one, there were his own issues. And two, he had to admit that — as much as he had loved Zhao Chen and still did — he might not have been the kind of guy that was really looking for that ‘forever’. It could have happened, sure, but to him, it might not have been a necessity while Li Ming himself was looking for precisely that kind of relationship.
“I definitely loved how openly he was able to communicate if there were issues. With that kind of partner, you can indeed fix issues as a team. But when moving in together, that changes the dynamic between you. That isn’t anything bad in and of itself but it means even more work has to be put into the relationship.
“I guess if I were to start working as a volunteer next to the courses and my actual job, I wouldn’t have had the time or the mental capacity to work on my relationship like that.
“On the other hand, if I had quit my job and stuck him with most bills while trying to get a qualification for a new job and doing the courses, I might have had the time and been able to put in the effort but it would have changed the dynamic of our relationship too much. Definitely too much to deal with it in a short amount of time.
“Thinking of these scenarios, I wouldn’t have wanted to see either outcome. Compared to that, I’m happier with our relationship being cut short due to outside circumstances. At the very least, it’s not that we lost feelings for each other. Looking back later … we’ll always feel good about the relationship while it lasted and won’t look back with resentment. I prefer that even if it’s hard at the moment.”
Rong Xiang gave a hum when he finished speaking and nodded. “I get what you mean.” She glanced at her boyfriend and hesitated for a moment but finally still spoke up. “You know, I had that accident shortly after the two of us had started the courses and moved in together. Being in that situation …” She shook her head and sighed. “Ah Yi never made me feel like I was a burden to him but I still felt like it.
“It just wasn’t how it was supposed to be. We had planned so much and started with the first courses. It was hard work but also meant that our dreams were on the cusp of becoming reality. It was … beautiful even if stressful.
“When we realized that with everything going on, there wasn’t as much time for us anymore, we decided to move in together. It was supposed to help us get closer as a couple again. And I guess it might have worked. But then, from one day to the other, it wasn’t what it was supposed to be any longer.
“Now, we were knee-deep in work and I could not only not help Ah Yi any longer, but I was even making more trouble for him. He had to wrap up matters on my end of the move so the last items from my flat wouldn’t be left behind. He had to take over the people who had signed up for personal training with me and deal with some of them canceling the contract, making us lose money we had been counting on.
“And on top of all of that, he had to help me with recuperation, make sure I got to my appointments on time, do all the chores around our now shared apartment, and everything else that occurred on a day-to-day basis.
“Watching him do all of that … it was difficult. He got up earlier than me, took care of the home without a single complaint, and then left for work until he could finally take a break. At that time, he would still call me, make sure I had everything I needed, or get to organize somebody to stay with me. As soon as it was time, he still had to immediately get back to work, and when he came home … he still worked until late at night because it wasn’t like I could help him.
“Seeing all of that play out in front of me, I felt like he didn’t have a life any longer and I felt that it was my fault. He might not have been in an accident that left his body a mess but his life became one through no fault of his own. He was simply in that situation because he was my boyfriend and wanted to do a good job at it. I was grateful but … I also felt that I was making trouble. That did definitely change the dynamic as you put it.”