Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaBloPoMo - Day 3

A request from Nancy:

I met my ex-fiance, J, just a month after I turned 19, through mutual friends. He was a life raft of sorts, I suppose. I was living in my hometown at the time, 5.5 hours north of San Diego. I had moved back to my hometown after one year away at college to help my mom & Grandpa take care of my Grandma, who had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease (aka ALS), which is a horribly devistating, terminal disease. I met J in October of 2001 and my Grandma passed away in November. I needed to get out of my small hometown. It was caving in on me & I couldn't take it. I expressed interest in moving to San Diego (where J grew up & lived...and continues to live)--partly to finish school, partly to pursue things with J. He offered to let me stay with him for a month or two until I was able to find a place of my own.

A month or two turned into 6 years. Around the 5 year mark, in 2006, a proposal took place. Not exactly the type of proposal I had dreamed of--in his car, on the way to the gym, ring wrapped up in tissue paper. (True story). But the ring was beautiful. And big. And the man proposing was someone I had been with for 5 years. Engagement was just the next step. And he was a good guy. One of those guys who, on paper, everyone would tell you, "He's a keeper! You better marry him! You'll live a great life! You'll never go without!" How could I say no to a big, beautiful diamond (albeit a less than stellar proposal), a man who I had been dating for so long, and someone who looked so good on paper? I'd be crazy to let him go, right? Besides, we all know that a big ring makes for a perfect marriage. (Ha!)

I had graduated from San Diego State with my Bachelor's degree in early 2007. He had begun an MBA program at UCSD in 2006. I was working in Real Estate, doing quite well. I had money put away for a rainy day & was putting in applications for Masters Programs. His MBA program took him away for a summer internship in the Bay Area. He left in June 2007 and would return home the evening of my 25th birthday, September 6, 2007.

It was during those 3 months that he was gone that I realized how unhappy I was. How different I had become. And how much I despised the new me. Do you know what a horrifying thing it is, when you realize you don't like yourself? It's heartbreaking, really. Friends had been making comments, vaguely, for awhile. My family had been making comments, blatantly, for awhile. I had chosen not to listen. Don't ruin my fantasyland! I am happy and blissful--don't wake me up and force me to face my reality!

Emotionally, I withdrew from him. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was the beginning of the Break Up. Because I withdrew emotionally, he began accusing me of cheating on him. I hadn't cheated on him. Not physically, at least. I had begun confiding in another man, telling him how unhappy I was and how I just didn't know how to leave. My entire adult life involved J. In essence, I grew up with him. How was I to leave my world--our friends (who, of course, I lost in the split), his family (who I had grown so close to & loved so very much), our adorable little apartment, abandon our future plans, dreams and goals?

The morning of my 25th birthday, he called me at 4am. I was at a girlfriend's house, staying the night with her. She was going through an awful break up, so I had spent many a night cajoling her to sleep by stroking her hair & letting her cry it out. My phone had been on silent & I hadn't heard it vibrate the seven other times he had tried calling me throughout the night. When I finally heard it at 4am, I answered. Into my ear blasted accusations and taunts. He was sure I was with another man. It didn't matter what I said, my whispered words were overpowered by his brazen ones. I didn't feel much like arguing. Who does, at 4 in the morning? I told him I would talk to him later, when he could be calm and logical. I hung up on him, grabbed my stuff & drove home.

My 25th birthday was off to a great start. I was already grappling with the very true, very present issue of a Quarter Life Crisis. Now, I was grappling with the issue of an irate fiance. One whom, I realized, would no longer be my fiance, by the end of the day.

Once I got home, I took off my engagement ring. It was the first time I had taken it off since it had been placed on my finger. I put it in my jewelry box and closed the lid. I knew it would be the last time I ever saw it or wore it again.

I flew up to the Bay Area, as originally planned that morning. I would be helping him pack up his stuff in the little BMW he purchased before he left and would make the 8-hour trek back to San Diego. It was awkward & fun, all at the same time. A road trip of sorts, but I think we both knew it would be the last.

Immediately upon returning home, I began looking for an apartment of my own to move into. I needed to get out of our small apartment. It was caving in on me & I couldn't take it. He begged me to put the ring back on. Begged me to stay.

"No, I need to get out, be on my own. Figure ME out. Please...let me do this."

October 1, 2007 came quickly. I can't say that there weren't millions of tears shed that day, as we moved my stuff into my new home. It was hard. I was losing my best friend. The person I grew up with. I cried for my loss. I cried for the 6 years of my life I would never get back, the 6 years of my life I felt I wasted on someone undeserving of them. I cried, too, for the loss of who I had become, because I knew that this was the first day of the new me. And even though I despised who I had become, it was scarier to imagine starting over & finding who I really was, than it was to just keep being the me I had become.

"We're just taking a break...some time apart. That's all. In a few months, we'll be back together, and I'll put my ring back on and we'll get back to planning the wedding. We can still get married when we planned on and nothing will change. I just need this. I need to be on my own. I haven't been since I was 18 years old! If you give me this, I will give you my word. Please."

It was a lie. I knew that there was no turning back. This was not a break, or time apart. It was done. Over. There would be no putting on of the ring, planning of the wedding. Everything was going to change. But I had used every ounce of my strength, every bit of courage to get this far. I didn't have any left in me to tell the truth. So I lied to protect myself from falling back into what I had just worked so hard to get out of.

It was just two fateful weeks later that I would meet my now husband. And you know the scariest part of it all? After spending 6 years with my ex-fiance, I never felt sure that he was The One. But after spending 2 hours with my now husband, I knew I was going to marry him. 2 hours.

If this isn't a story of God's ultimate plan for my life, I don't know what is.


  1. Your heart shows through so perfectly in your words. Leaving must've been both the hardest and most exciting thing you've ever done. I have great respect for you realizing your unhappiness and doing something about it before it was too late and you got stuck in an unhappy marriage. Your strength and faith are beautiful!

  2. Thanks for sharing that story Sarah. I have known you for a long time, but never knew the full story of how everything happened.

    You give me hope!

  3. Mrs. A...thank you for your kind words. I wrestled with posting the story or not, partly because it's so personal, partly because I've moved so far beyond that now. Reading your comment gave me this odd sense of contentment over posting it :)

  4. Rebecca-
    It's funny that you say that, because I don't know that I've ever truly told the story to anyone except Matt. I mean, my family & friends here watched it unravel, so they knew most of the details. But my other friends--you know who you are--no one really knew what happened and I never shared the story. I guess at the time it was too painful and I was exhilirated at the prospect of being single & doing things on my own. Felt it unneccessary to reflect on it, I suppose.

    Big thanks to Nancy for this exercise...it felt good to type that out :)

  5. I remember when all that was going on as well, but had never heard the entire story. I think I am still shocked at how much of this is parallel to what I am feeling & currently going through. Thank you for posting this, it couldn't be a better time for me to hear it.

  6. While there wasn't a fiance to walk away from, I completely understand waking up one day and not recognizing or liking what you see!

    It was hard enough, with just myself involved! What strength it took!

  7. How beautiful! What an amazing story of finding our way to the person God has waiting for us!

  8. Hi Sarah :)

    I am so happy to meet another fire wife. It is a wonderful and sometimes challenging life, but I love it.

    What a cool list on the right side of your blog. I thought #4 was especially cool ;)

    I have added you to my firewife sidebar.


  9. Wow, thanks for sharing your story! Isn't life amazing sometimes? I also turned to Steph almost immediately after things ended with my ex fiance. It took me MONTHS to stop myself from feeling guilty for it 'being too soon'. I guess it was just meant to be :)

    Can I add more requests now? hehe. (And please feel free to just direct me to a link if you've blogged about this before I started visiting here!) I'd love to hear more about your working in real estate - How you got into doing that, why you stopped, What made you want to do what you're doing now?

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