Though we weren’t consistently fighting about the same thing, little things like me leaving a dish in the sink would make him upset. It was normal couple stuff that happens when you live together, but it started to shed some light on our different lifestyles. I started to realize that I was more of a free spirit, while he was more structured. During the honeymoon phase of our relationship, I thought his consistency balanced me out and made me grounded, but I began to think that I needed to be with someone who was willing to run with me, not tie me down.
For example, I always wanted to buy my dream car, a Jeep Wrangler, but when I talked about it with Jesse, he would always bring up the fact that we should be saving money. Any trip we went on was always thoroughly planned and saved for, which is fine, but we rarely did anything spontaneous. I wanted a lifestyle where I was more able to fly by the seat of my pants.
On top of those differences, we just didn’t feel the way a couple should when they’re about to get married. I thought being engaged would be a time full of joy and excitement, but instead we had taken a wrong turn somewhere
It seemed like every time we had a fight, one of us would say something like, “I don’t know if we’re ready to get married.” And those small fights about putting dishes away or delegating chores turned into bigger fights about whether we were right for each other. After we fought I’d think, “Is this the way I want to live for the rest of my life?”
After one argument, I realized that I needed to decide once and for all if getting married was what I wanted. But I knew that if we were together in the house, I would be more inclined to stay with him. So I told him that I needed to leave for the weekend to clear my head. Then, I called my best friend and told her that I was having doubts about getting married and started crying. This was the first time I had ever told anyone that I wasn’t sure I wanted to marry Jesse. My friend was super worried, so she called my sister Amy and told her what was going on. Amy booked a flight that night to see me in Arizona the following weekend, and we drove to Sedona to spend the next three days together.
My sister knew that I was struggling, and she also knew that it was complicated—the save the dates and invites had already been sent out for our destination wedding in Mexico, and many things had already been paid for.
Amy was always there to listen to me, and she knew what I was going through. She’d felt the same things when she was engaged, but she ended up marrying him anyway. They decided to separate after four months of marriage. I didn’t ever want to be in that position.
So we went on our trip together and had an amazing weekend. Though it was full of positive energy, I was still flip-flopping about my decision, going from “I love him and I’m going to marry him,” to “I know I have this feeling and I want my independence.” Suddenly, I realized that if I had any doubts, I needed to call it off.
When I came back from the trip, I told Jesse I didn’t think we were ready to get married. Though we both had doubts, I don’t think that he thought I would pull the trigger and actually call off our engagement.
We cried together—we just couldn’t believe that this was actually the decision. It was really sad, but it was also a good moment in the sense that we both just accepted it. Then we went into separate rooms and called our families. The next day, we coordinated telling our extended family, wedding guests, wedding planners, and the resort, to let them know it wasn’t happening. Luckily, we only lost our deposit, and we got most of our money back for everything.
That week, Jesse moved out of our house. Leading up to that moment, I thought that the hardest part would be the day after he moved and the following weeks as I tried to adjust to the single life, but that was actually the easiest part. That’s how I knew that we made the right decision. The toughest part was actually calling it off, putting my foot down, and saying we should go our seperate ways.
When I was in a relationship, I was a toned-down verison of myself. Jessie was always the voice of reason. Though he never told me I couldn’t do anything I wanted to do, he made me think twice before I jumped into something new.
But when he was gone I could do what I wanted on a whim. After he moved out, I started focusing on myself. I redecorated my house, changed my hair color, and got a new car. These were all things my inner free spirit had been dying to do.
After our breakup I also got a tattoo. During our trip to Sedona, Amy and I found necklaces featuring a picture of the phase of the moon on the day you were born. Amy’s moon was a waxing gibbous and my moon was a waning crescent. We realized our individual moons actually make a full moon when you put them together, so we decided to get them as tattoos. I’d never had the courage to get a tattoo in the past, but suddenly I did.
I also traveled. Since our wedding was supposed to be in June, I went on a trip with my sister that month to Kauai instead. We rented a van and cruised around the island for eight days. It was the most amazing experience. I’m also planning to take my first solo trip to Costa Rica in April, where I’m planning to stay in a treehouse for five out of the 10 days I’ll be there.
Ultimately, breaking off my engagement was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I didn’t only break up with my fiancé because our relationship wasn’t what I thought it should be; I did it for me. In the past 12 months, I’ve become more in-tune with myself and more independent. Now I know that I don’t need somebody, which is a huge realization for me.
I do go on dates now, but it’s nothing too serious. I’m so in love with my independence at this point that I’m not sure I want anything serious, but I’m open to it. If it happens, it happens. If not, I’m okay with that, too.
I talk to Jesse every once in a while, and we’ve had dinner together a few times. I’d call our relationship cordial, but we don’t really hang out together. We still have mutual friends.
If I was talking to someone else is in the same situation as I was, I would say this: It’s really important to listen to your heart. Even if you’re with someone great, you need to put yourself first. I know that sounds selfish, but if someone is going to love you, you need to love yourself first.
(This story was Originally Published at Women health magazine, please click here for more)
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