It’s hard to describe the pain of a broken engagement. It’s harder than losing a boyfriend or girlfriend. When you get engaged to someone, you have thought critically and at length about sharing your life with another person. You become less worried about the future because you understand that your partner will be there. Questions about life start having answers. You understand that your relationship will not always be roses, but your partner is worth the thorns. Anxieties quiet, and fears dissipate. Everything about life does not make sense still, but your partner gives you clarity.
I was caught by surprise by the sudden dissolution of my relationship. I thought that we were doing well. I worked hard for our relationship. I became a better person. I showered him in love and validation. I read countless books, blogs, and news articles about communication, how to be a better partner, and how to keep the spark alive. I listened to podcasts. I went to therapy on my own to work on my personal issues. I did the work. I changed. I loved harder than I ever had. I trusted. I cared. I sacrificed. I was selfless when and where it counted. I learned patience and acceptance toward situations I could not control. I rediscovered my love of writing again. I made healthier choices, like easing up on alcohol, and participated in healthy activities like my fitness class and yoga.
I came out of this relationship better than I went in, so I think that counts for something.
I am sad. It’s like I’m grieving a death at the moment. I’m grieving the loss of a life that I will never know, but I have no anger or ill thoughts toward my ex. I know what I had in him. I forgive him for not seeing what he had in me. We bonded in a way I thought impossible after many traumas and negative relationship experiences impacted my perception of men and love. I learned to challenge my pre-conceived notions and fears. I learned to trust again. I grew stronger. Tougher. More prepared to deal with the unpredictable world around me. It is hard to understand being told that I’m not at any kind of fault in this break up, but I will learn and heal.
So as I start this new chapter of my life, as a single woman in her thirties, I refuse to feel uprooted and tossed aside. I grew where I was planted. I refused to be anything other than my authentic self. I did not try to blend in, in a place where I stood out. I found higher standards and held myself to them. I stayed honest and true to my values. I remained kind. I changed for the better, instead of becoming a version of myself that I wouldn’t like or recognize to fit in. I didn’t want to celebrate mediocrity. I wanted to grow.
I’m so grateful for the people that reached out and helped me see the positives of this experience. They’re helping me handle this new and unexpected pain with grace and dignity. In a way, I’m happy to go back to the States and reclaim parts of who I was and discover who I will become. So much of me got lost in our relationship, because I couldn’t do many things I needed to, couldn’t find a worthwhile job, and couldn’t find a group of friends that I related to. In leaving, I’m restoring my sense of self and independence, two things I have sorely missed.
I came out of this relationship better than I went in.