Written by Brittany Smith, www.instagram.com/brittsmith
How did I get here? That’s the question that constantly inundates every part of my brain. Growing up in a Christian home (parents being in full-time ministry), I would constantly fantasize about falling madly in love one day. I had my life completely planned out – I would get married at 21, start having kids at 24, and have the picture-perfect marriage and family. As I’m sure you could infer, this has been everything but true for me.
I’m now 27 years old and just experienced a traumatic “failed engagement.” I never dated around or had any serious relationships until I met my ex. It feels so eerie to refer to him as my ex – it’s mind-boggling that the closest person to you can suddenly become a distant acquaintance. Conceptually, you plan your entire future with this person and then all of the sudden – your life becomes the Titanic, everything you once knew is being ruined by the shipwreck and you’re drowning under the deep, dark water.
At the beginning of our relationship, I would always say “this can’t be real” or “this is too good to be true.” It saddens me to tell you that it was. Although, when we first started dating, I was madly in love – I mean, this is what I wanted, right? After five months of dating, we were engaged and seemingly “happy as can be.” I was finally so close to my dream, so I was willing to do whatever it took to make it work. I would endure all hell to experience just a tiny glimpse of love.
As time started progressing, we were arguing more and we weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on basic foundational concepts. We moved the wedding date twice, but I kept fighting for “us,” because I loved him and this was my “one-shot” at love. After a year of being engaged, things still weren’t better – if anything, they were getting harder and more intense. It became clear that we had become so accustomed to living in dysfunction and we were not healthy together. I constantly triggered him and he constantly triggered me. But we both loved Jesus and loved each other, so couldn’t we make it work?
A week before our “big day,” we got in a massive blow-up argument, but this had become normal, so what made this time any different? I felt the Lord in His kindness say, “Is this how you want to live your life?” I finally came to the realization that neither of us could live happy, thriving lives with each other, he deserved so much better and so did I. I loved him so much, that I needed to let him go. So, I called it.
It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but absolutely worth it. I went into hiding for months and dealt with bad anxiety and depression, but it’s now been over eight months and I’m slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Through this process, I’ve learned the importance of having a solid community around you, just taking it day-by-day, and not being scared to do what is best for you. With the help of my amazing therapist (which I recommend counseling for everyone), I’ve learned that there is always hope, always love, and always redemption. I didn’t miss my “one-shot” at love and neither did you. Smile and know that the shipwreck doesn’t last forever – it just requires you to take time to catch your breath, swim to shore, gather up all the pieces, and rebuild something new. You got this, babe!