Hello Love - The Power of Two

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WHO SAYS THAT CHASING ONE’S DREAMS HAS TO BE A SOLO PURSUIT? A LOVING RELATIONSHIP HAS GIVEN DURRANI MAZLAN THE SUPPORT SHE NEEDED TO AIM HIGHER.

f you had met Durrani Mazlan a few years ago, she would have told you that getting married early was definitely not on the cards. Back then, she worked as a freelance marketing executive, did a part-time university degree over the course of two years and spent her weekends at work-related events. When she did take leave, the wanderluster would pack her bags and go on as many as six trips in a year. She went on these holidays alone.

Dating was simply not on her mind. “I felt there was no urgency to find someone and settle down. I was fully focused on building my career, improving myself and experiencing new things in new places,” Durrani shares. She had never been in a serious relationship and did not know what to expect. She felt that a relationship requires commitment and being in one would stop her from doing the things she loved – travelling and working. When she finally got together with someone in 2016, things did not go well. “It left an emotional scar and I was even more determined to concentrate on my career and building myself after that,” the 26-year-old says. Durrani told herself that she would not get married until she was in her 30s, for fear of another heartbreak and time going to waste.

THE WIND BENEATH HER WINGS

Like many love stories, Durrani met her now-husband Muhammad Fadhil, 27, when she least expected it. To pursue her dream of seeing the world, she applied for a cabin crew position. They were in the same interview group, but neither got the job. Unfazed, both of them re-applied for the job, and went for another interview two months later where they bumped into each other again. They started out as friends who cheered each other on before romance blossomed. “It is usually very hard for me to open up and get along with someone. But with Fadhil, it was just so natural. The chemistry was so good that we kept wanting to meet each other again,” she says.

Durrani was eventually offered a position with a regional airline, while Fadhil decided to stick to his engineering career. He continued to be her personal cheerleader, and the two became a couple in January 2018. “He was there with me at every step. He would pick me up from the airport and send me home, and call me when I was stressed or feeling tired. When I was down, he would send me messages and memes to cheer me up,” recalls Durrani. She eventually left her job as a flight attendant and is now a senior branding and marketing executive. Fadhil’s unwavering support helped her realise she did not have to forgo a beautiful relationship in order to fulfil her personal aspirations. She could pursue both concurrently. “I thought dating would be a distraction, but it was the opposite. To have someone support me in everything I do enabled me to go twice as far and do twice as well,” she says.

We had fun working together for Mediacorp Suria’s Pesta Perdana awards show

We will definitely not forget this date – our engagement!

We had a stopover in Phuket during our honeymoon cruise

Hari Raya celebrations – matching colours are a must! And blue is Fadhil’s favourite colour

Our first cruise experience, during our honeymoon

We had fun working together for Mediacorp Suria’s Pesta Perdana awards show

We will definitely not forget this date – our engagement!

We had a stopover in Phuket during our honeymoon cruise

Hari Raya celebrations – matching colours are a must! And blue is Fadhil’s favourite colour

Our first cruise experience, during our honeymoon

STRONGER TOGETHER

Within six months of dating, Durrani and Fadhil got engaged, and in January 2020, the couple had their wedding ceremony. “A lot of people say that six months is a short time to decide on marriage,” she says with a laugh. “But time doesn’t matter as long as you are certain of your partner and mentally ready. I know he is the one I am going to spend my life with and that we will be able to support each other through it.”

Looking back, she also realised her doubts were unfounded. She says: “One of my fears was that a relationship would change me. But little did I know that it would change me for the better. If I have a good day, I want to share my happiness; if he has a bad day, I want to make him feel better. We are stronger together. The decisions I make now are no longer just for myself. Besides enjoying new experiences such as travelling together, I am motivated to manage my finances better, so I can give my best to my partner and in the future, our kids.”

After their honeymoon, Durrani and Fadhil will be saving up for renovations on their five-room flat and plan to have children while they are still in their 20s. Her outlook has changed a lot from the earlier love-can-wait attitude. “If you have kids when you’re older, you may be more tired and have less time for your partner. If you get married early, you can pursue shared dreams and go through life as an adventure together,” she says.

LESS SNOOZING, MORE DATING!
Here’s how you can avoid inertia in your dating life and kick-start romance

any Singaporeans take a sequential approach to pursuing their life goals – concentrating on doing well in their studies and work first, before setting out to find love. When it comes to romance, some young Singaporeans hesitate to even think about dating. They think there is no standard timeline when it comes to it, shares certified relationship coach Michelle Goh, the founder of dating agency CompleteMe. “With no external influences, for example from parents and society, young Singaporeans usually let nature take its course – realising only when their friends are getting attached or married that it is about time they find a partner too.”

It is this sequential mindset that might be detrimental to finding love and settling down in the end. “Love is often neglected because young Singaporeans choose to focus on work. It is important to remember that love does not come immediately when you decide to look for it. It can take as long as a few years for some,” she explains, and adds that couples may spend a year or two dating, and another two to three years planning for their wedding and children. She points out that starting to find love early will help young Singaporeans better pace themselves and avoid health challenges or the lack of energy associated with having children at a later age.

HERE ARE SOME OF MICHELLE’S TIPS TO GET A HEAD START ON ROMANCE

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Once you get into the momentum of being more proactive in dating, it will prove to be fun and enriching to get to know people from all walks of life. Even if they don’t turn out to be your life partner, you end up with a new friend!

EXPAND YOUR SOCIAL CIRCLE
Explore multiple options, such as online dating apps, events-based dating agencies, matching services and meet-up groups. Try each option for a period of time to see which works best for you.

TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF
Think of events and gatherings as opportunities to make new friends, rather than to find a partner. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get any dates from these events. Simply do some self-reflection and prep yourself better next time.

PUT YOUR HEART INTO IT
Don’t see dating as a chore – positive thoughts bring positive experiences. To attract ‘the one’ into your life, you have to be mentally, physically and emotionally ready.

DON’T LOSE MOMENTUM
After dating casually for a while, you may want to take the next step to meet each other’s friends and family, or hint that you are ready for a more serious commitment.