By Eunice Aber

I am a hopeless romantic and issues to do with relationship and marriage catch my attention quite easily. I believe in happy endings and “till death do us part” kind of commitments. However, through experience, I know too well the harsh reality of breakups.

A question I would like to ask is: Does “For Better, For Worse” apply in relationships?

Should you stick with the person you said ‘yes’ to (unofficially) even when times get hard? I don’t mean meeting the wrong one and sticking with them “For Better or Worse”. No. That’s a dead end.

I will use the language my generation gets because I bet we make up the biggest population of those still dating or are in relationships.

The story normally goes like this for relationships: you meet this really cool guy or chic. First you are just friends. Then, for the girls, he asks you out. For the boys, you ask her out. Very rarely does it happen the other way round. So you evaluate (this is for the girl: the boy probably already evaluated). You try (read: test) the guy from all angles and with all possible questions and you decide that he fits the budget you made with life.

His finances are okay, you can handle his temper, he is just the right kind of romantic and yes; his family from afar looks liveable with. Meanwhile at this time, the guy has already made his side of the bargain and decided that the girl fits his life budget too. Whatever negatives are negligible and do not count too much to the bigger picture. Neither do they spoil the painting. Maybe just a little bit. But manageable.

Then you start the beautiful journey to what you hope will be forever. The guy looks forward to building houses and making babies. The girl mostly looks forward to the fairy tale proposal and the dream wedding. And the sooner, the better.

However, along the way to your dreamy thoughts, everything goes haywire. Character traits that candle-lit evenings and phone conversations could not show finally come through. You learn that his or her family is not as liveable as you thought.

Along the way, love still exists (or at least the will to love) but prince charming is not so charming. He’s probably lost his job and the brilliant career path seems to be taking a down turn. Princess Perfect isn’t getting all things right either. She’s the moodiest moody you’ve ever met. Let’s not talk about the very serious illness that she just found out she has contracted. Life isn’t just going the way the two of you once dreamed.

You remember the days when everything was flowery and you made commitments to each other to love and to hold. But the tides seem to be washing these away. You look around at your friends having the time of their lives with their Boos and Baes and you remember the new workmate who is available and appealing.

But then, you made a commitment to a one Mr. or Miss. on one starry night in the absence of friends and family; when all skies were cloudless and the lights never dimmed. If you leave, no one gets to know and no one gets to point fingers. Maybe a few close friends will get hurt but soon everyone will move on.

So the big question is: Do you stick to your word and stay? Or since no public vows were made, do you run for your life and seek the next available better person?

In a world where divorce thrives, this is probably a non-issue. But in a world where love thrives, we’ve got to ask the question: Is it okay to walk away when times get hard simply because the commitments made were non-binding?

Have you ever considered the cost of a breakup before doing it?