I Left My Partner Of Eight Years & Moved To Europe—Best Decision Ever

Sometimes you find yourself in a life that you just kind of fell into and you can’t quite remember how it happened or why you didn’t take a big leap when you were younger and had more freedom. This happened to me, but instead of staying where I was and feeling like I’d missed out on another life, I dropped everything and moved across the world on my own. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

  1. It’s never too late to make your life what you always dreamed it would be. No matter how old you are, you have the ability to change the course of your life. It’s so easy to stay on whatever path you’re following out of fear of the unknown, but this leads to unhappiness later. If you find yourself wishing you’d gone on that backpacking trip to South America or started your own company or moved halfway across the world, don’t ignore it. It’s never too late to go for it.
  2. Sometimes you have to leave a perfect relationship so you can have a perfect life. If you’d asked me seven years into my relationship how I saw my future, I’d tell you that all I wanted was to be with my boyfriend forever and ever. We loved each other and were truly happy together. Still, I realized at a certain point that even though I was happy with him, I wasn’t completely happy with my life, and the latter was way more important to me.
  3. I learned how to trust myself. It’s so easy to rely on other people, especially when you’re surrounded by people who love you. But no matter how important it is to have a strong support system, it is infinitely more important to be able to support and trust yourself. Moving completely out of your comfort zone forces you to confront all the things you’re afraid of and all the things you usually rely on other people for, and you end up having to step up for yourself and be everything you need. That’s certainly what happened to me.
  4. I became more confident. Sometimes you have to just jump off the metaphorical cliff into totally unknown waters to find out what you’re capable of. Before moving to Europe, I wasn’t confident traveling to another city on my own, let alone another continent. But after navigating new languages and different cultures and currencies, the little things that used to make me feel nervous, like asking a guy on a date or speaking in public, seemed so easy, even enjoyable.
  5. I know myself better than anyone. I’ve always been the girl who knew everyone’s name and got along really well with every person I met. I tended to nurture people and pour all of my attention into them. But when I only had myself for company, I was forced to confront me, with no one to distract me. I now know myself better than I’ve ever known anyone else, and it’s the most liberating feeling in the world. I still love all my friends and family but I know myself now more than I know anyone else.
  6. Feeling complete on your own is more valuable than any relationship. My boyfriend and I got together when we were both really young, so we basically grew up together. We were inseparable, but no matter how nice it feels to have a person you feel you can’t live without, it’s also extremely limiting. I needed to be able to live on my own and not feel like something was missing. No relationship will ever be completely healthy if you can’t be content on your own.
  7. Sometimes doing the things that scare you the most is the biggest gift you can give yourself. The concept of doing things that scare you is supposed to seem ridiculous. We’re hardwired to not do the things that seem scary or dangerous. But healthy risks, like moving to a new country or starting a new life, hold so many more rewards than the risks would suggest. You become so much more aware of what matters and you learn to take more risks so you never live with regret.
  8. I needed to define myself separately from another person. My boyfriend and I found our identities in each other, and I can honestly say that breaking up with him was much harder than moving continents because I didn’t know who I was without him. But even though it was terrifying, I knew it was the single most important thing I could do for myself. I needed to learn who I was separate from him, and as it turns out, I’m pretty amazing.
  9. Learning to rely on the kindness of strangers changes your whole perspective. If you’re lucky enough to have a loving friend group or family, chances are you’ve never had to ask for help from strangers. When I first moved to Europe, I had to rely on people I’d never met, and the amount of generosity I found made me so much more aware of the people around me who I never used to think about. Everyone has their own story, and it’s your choice how you treat people. You have the power to totally transform someone’s day or week for the better.
  10. I finally felt like a grown-up. I guess I never realized how fake I felt until I moved to Europe and learned how to really take care of myself. I was 26 and still felt like I was just pretending to be an adult. But now that I’ve had to take care of myself and make big decisions on my own, I feel like an actual adult in every way. Sometimes it takes really difficult situations to make you realize how far you’ve come and how in charge you are of your own life. It did for me and I couldn’t be prouder of myself.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.