I was a few weeks shy of 21 when I got engaged and I couldn’t wait to get married. However, three months before our wedding, I found out my fiance wasn’t the man he claimed to be and I was forced to make a life-changing decision. Despite the fact that we’d already planned and paid for the wedding, I left him. It was the best thing I’ve ever done—here’s why.
I focused on my career and built an amazing one.
I was in the middle of my final year of studying for my law degree. My fiance and I had planned to take a year out and go traveling together the next year so I hadn’t applied for any jobs. It felt as though my life had zero direction. Although my parents said I could stay with them for as long as I needed (and I’m eternally thankful for that), I didn’t want to wallow. Finding a job helped me kickstart my career and gave me not only financial independence but a fresh start. That meant the world to me.
I learned how to live alone.
I used to fear living alone until I had no choice but to do so. I now love my own company! Losing my relationship sucked, yes, but it was also a fabulous opportunity to learn to enjoy being alone. There’s nothing better than coming home from work and spending the evening exactly I want. I can cook the food I want to eat, watch the TV shows I want to watch, read a book without being interrupted, etc. It’s heaven!
I’ve never been closer to my friends and family.
When my relationship broke down, I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by amazing friends and family members who had my back. I was inundated with help both practically and emotionally, and it reminded me how important having a good support network is. Although I’m in another really happy long-term relationship now, I’ve focused much more of my time energy on both my family and friends since leaving my fiance. Consequently, I’ve never been closer to them.
I learned how to date and to enjoy meeting new people.
Having gotten engaged so young, I didn’t really have the opportunity to date properly. Yes, I’d had previous relationships, but I’d never truly been part of the dating scene. After ending my engagement, I discovered the joys of Tinder and learned how to navigate awkward first dates. Frankly, I loved every second of it—the good, the bad, and the ugly—because with every date I went on, I learned more about what I wanted in a relationship. I eventually met my boyfriend and we now live together. Needless to say, I’m thankful for forcing myself into the dating arena.
I achieved things I never thought possible.
When you feel you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s always a fear you won’t regain your strength. There were days where I honestly didn’t want to wake up in the morning, but you have to work past that and dig deep. I graduated with honors, I found a job, and I found an apartment. I learned to do things by myself, for myself which I never thought I’d do. Since then, I’ve quit my job and now I run my own business! Sometimes it takes a crisis to push us to be our best selves. I now look back and realize I’ve always had a strength I didn’t even understand.
I spent time on things I was passionate about.
Sometimes when you’re in a long-term relationship, you forget to pursue the things that excite you. It’s not that my fiance kept me from doing what I wanted but rather that I was so distracted by the relationship and everything happening in it that all the stuff I loved just kind of fell by the wayside. Never again. Rediscovering my passions and finding new ones makes me a much more fulfilled person and I’ll never let that go again.
I gained perspective.
When you feel like your world’s turned upside down, it’s easy to imagine your future in the worst possible light. The thing is, the worst case scenario is rarely what happens. I learned to be thankful for the smaller things in life. When I listened to the news, it gave me a new perspective on what it meant to be going through a difficult time and how to get past it.
I was grateful for an easier life.
Because my relationship was so turbulent in the latter stages, I found that I was actually relieved for a simpler, more harmonious existence without all the arguments and aggravation. Once I got over the initial shock of being single again, I found I was actually a lot happier.
I had time to reflect.
After a breakup, it’s important to take time to reflect on both the good and bad parts of the time you spent with your ex. Even though things ended badly, I always tried to view my relationship as a learning experience. Because of this, I now have a much healthier outlook on and approach to love.
Most importantly, I can say with confidence that I didn’t settle.
And really, what’s better than that? Enough said.
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