How are you doing? I see this thread is a few weeks old now, but I’ve got a story for you!
I was with my ex for almost 5 years. We were in love. It was real. He was my best friend.
But we were just not compatible. We wanted different things out of life. We were driven by different things. Over the years this started to get to both of us. I was ready to settle down and lay roots. He’s a wanderer. We started resenting each other for asking the other to change and stretch. But we loved each other, we lived together, we had combined out families – both sets of parents routinely spent holidays together with us. I lucked out, because at the height of all of this I fell into a new career that I loved and was able to throw all my energy into to distract myself from this unhappiness. My ex didn’t have that, and he turned to alcohol. He made himself really sick, and that was a reality check for me. One day while he was at work I wrote him a letter that said he needed to stop drinking, or else I would leave. I watched him read the letter when he got home, then pour himself a drink.
And that’s how the decision was made. It took us a few more months to actually break up. We were both working seasonally at the time and we agreed it made more sense to stay together until my job finished 2 months later. We were sharing a small place and it would have been impossible to find another place to live for the last two months. So we decided to officially seperate when it was time to actually physically seperate. I decided that after my job finished I would go travelling in Central America.
Those two months were really weird. We stopped fighting because we both knew there was nothing to fight for anymore, so in some ways things got much better. But every time we had a good moment it would then hit me that this might be the ‘last’ good moment, and I would get overwhelmingly sad. Still, I’m grateful for those in-between months because it gave me lots of time to reflect on what went wrong and what I wanted in the future. By the time I actually left I was still profoundly sad, but I wasn’t in love with him anymore. I spent so much time preparing that I was truly ready.
Before I went traveling I came home to my parents’ for a month. And while I was home I made a list of things I wanted in my next serious partner (who I hoped would be ‘the one’). Then I packed a backpack and got on a plane to Nicaragua.
After about a month traveling on my own, I met my now-fiance. I thought I would be single for much longer than 2 months, but I had learned so much from that previous relationship that when I met him I just knew immediately that this was everything I had been missing before. Weirdly, he was coming out of a very similar experience, having just broken up with his ex of 6 years just a few months before as well, and he descibes having a similar feeling. Neither of us went traveling in the hopes of finding a partner, we just wanted to spend some time with ourselves. That is ultimately what led us to each other.
We’ve been engaged 3 months now, together 2.5 years. I loved my ex, but this is something else entirely. It is so good to find someone that you can not only love but that you’re truly compatible with as well, that makes you a priority in their lives, that actively plans a future with you. I am so incredibly happy. But there’s also no doubt in my mind that I could never have what I have now without the experience I had with my ex. For that I will always be grateful.
Best of luck to you Bee! As long as you’re true to yourself, you will find your happiness!