Lim: KathNiel

Wide Awake
Melanie Lim.
Melanie Lim.File photo

The entire nation was in mourning on Nov. 30.

And it wasn’t because Bonifacio Day had been moved to the Monday prior. It was because celebrity couple Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, fondly called “KathNiel,” had finally broken their silence.

A reel couple for 12 years, a real one for 11, their tandem created for them—fame, fortune and a fandom that overflowed with grief at the news that the breakup was real—finally putting a stop to the rumor mill that had been grinding furiously in the last four weeks.

I am not a fan. I have not seen any of their work. But obviously, I know of them—as anyone not living under a rock in this country in the last decade, would.

So, in a sense, I was spared.

Last Thursday, my tears did not flow. My heart did not break. And while I did follow the leads about the rumored breakup the week prior to the confirmation, I can mark myself safe from the avalanche of tears that followed after the announcement.

I moved on quickly because I was not invested in this relationship—unlike the way I am, in others.

Yes, I confess I am invested in other relationships. Like many people, I root for other people’s relationships—celebrity or otherwise. And when their relationships end, they do, somehow, make me sad.

With celebrity breakups, I just sigh and move on. But with those of couples closer to home and to my heart, the breakups do cut me up—because despite my pessimism, I prefer to be proven wrong.

I want to believe it is possible to persist and prevail. I want to believe it is possible to find the strength to forgive and the courage to love. Again and again.

Yet, when a love that’s deep and strong, ebbs, gets lost in the maelstrom of mistakes and misgivings and never returns, how can anyone cling to the hope that a love less profound and persevering, can survive?

Each time a relationship ends, it affirms every person’s struggle to find someone who they can bear to be with and who can bear to be with them—for a lifetime.

There is, almost always, a sense of sadness when a relationship ends.

You wonder if it was something you did or didn’t do. You wonder if you were ever enough. You wonder if anything was ever real. You wonder if love was ever there. But most of all, you wonder if you will ever love again.

Despite your lack of remorse or regret, endings can have the capacity to haunt you—for, often, they can cause you to second-guess not just your capacity to love and be loved but also your capacity to make choices in life.

If we were more truthful, we would admit that we root for the relationships we hope for, for ourselves. And when these relationships fall apart, we also lose hope for ourselves.

The “KathNiel” era has ended. I’ve marked myself safe from this devastating event. You should, too. Many endings, after all, are for the best.

It’s time the Filipino nation moved on.

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