STEP 1: PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE
Before love can be felt, a search has to be initiated. In 2011, that was exactly what Julia and Yi Heng did. No stranger to dating events, Julia and Yi Heng both attended activities such as ice cream-making and dance workshops organised by SDNTrust-accredited agencies. “As we get older, most of us get stuck in the same social circles,” warns Julia. “You need to step out of your comfort zone, which isn’t going to be easy — your true love isn’t going to fall from the sky.” It took her around six months of rigorous searching, and one too many misses, before a matching service got her within range of Yi Heng.
STEP 2: EXPERIENCE IS ESSENTIAL
Previous failures aren’t for naught. For Julia, they were lessons on getting straight to the point. After dating for three months, the eager Julia decided she wasn’t going to wait for slow-and-steady Yi Heng to provide an answer. “Intensive dating made me braver, I think. Every two to three months, I would be sent a new contact from my friends and consultant,” she discloses. “I became pretty direct, lah. I just asked Yi Heng, ‘What are we?’” For Yi Heng, showing up for events helped him navigate what types were suitable. “I’m not extroverted, so I didn’t like mass social events,” he admits. In hindsight, Yi Heng advises fellow introverts not to write off someone after one meeting: “Everyone has something interesting to offer. You may not always discover that on your first meeting!”
STEP 3: OVERCOME THE ODDS
Relationships are not always the sweet stuff on the silver screen, chides Julia. Over the two and a half years that they dated, it took understanding and accepting the other party’s perspectives to overcome obstacles. A source of strain to Yi Heng is Julia’s constant emphasis on socially accepted protocols. That forced him to be a little more sociable when going out with Julia and her family or friends. “I’ve learned that friends and relatives are really important to Julia; I do my best to accommodate her,” he reflects.
This still applies today, especially now that they’re married.
STEP 4: CONTINUE TO HAVE FUN
You may have been together for years, but don’t stop enjoying activities with your partner. Among Julia and Yi Heng’s many interests is the Lindy Hop, a lively dance set to jazz music. Yi Heng, who had already been dancing the style for some time, asked Julia to do the Lindy Hop on their third date. Because it’s a partnered dance, Julia claims she didn’t have much choice but to do it.
When the couple finally decided to register their marriage in November 2014, they knew what they wanted at the party. “I knew that Yi Heng would like a place where we all could dance, so we held it in a shophouse restaurant, and we got friends who play in a jazz band to help with the music. It was very intimate,” Julia reveals.
This article was first published on DUET magazine.