I’m sorry I’ve been quiet for a while; Cole and I have broken off our engagement, a few months into it.
I met him in 2014, just after my 22nd birthday; I was on a month-long European “tour” that I’d been saving for since I was 16. He was a friend of Willow’s (now-ex) boyfriend; flirty, tall, dark, handsome, and working as a store manager to pay the bills while he studied engineering. He made me laugh, we clicked, and the remaining week that was meant to be spent in France was cancelled in favor of the stark, cool, Danish autumn. I never did make it to Paris…unless you count the airport, which I don’t.
We promised each other we’d try and make it work, and despite the distance and a nine-hour time difference, we spent every free moment we could with each other through the wonders of modern technology—we Skyped a lot. After about six months, he made the trip to visit me and meet my family, and we decided we couldn’t manage for another six months of just Skyping. I handed in my notice, had a yard-sale for everything that couldn’t make the trip with me, and made arrangements to move across the ocean.
Our relationship wasn’t short of passion; new love comes with affection and infatuation in equal parts. On the flip side of that coin, though, the disagreements could easily escalate into epic battle royals, complete with yelling and tears. We disagree on some pretty significant topics, too, but I’m a fixer, and most of the time we were happy, so we stuck together.
In the last two years, we’ve gone through some nasty storms together; the kinds of things that bring a couple closer together, making you feel entwined. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all bad. We’ve had some amazing times together: vacations both on our own and with our families, staycation activities, giant feasts with our friends, and just relaxing at home together in a comfortable silence. But none of that erased the problems we had, and, over time, they were getting worse.
Still, when he popped the question on Valentine’s Day earlier this year, I enthusiastically said yes. I felt mixed emotions at the time; I was thrilled, but a small part of me also felt dread. I chose to ignore it, chalking it up to anxiety and cold feet. I started planning our big day.
For those of you on a budget, you know how stressful wedding planning can be, and it didn’t seem like we could agree on anything. Suddenly, all the differences of opinion had a spotlight shown on them; all those little things added up to something much larger and more menacing when we were facing “forever” together. We started to argue about things like religion, money, raising children, if we were even going to have children…you name it, we fought about it.
At this point, I buried myself in work and with posts here on the blog, focusing on other things. I was too embarrassed to admit that our relationship was failing, even to my best friends, who had no idea our relationship was having trouble.
Eventually, Cole and I sat down and had a few long, difficult talks. That’s when we realized we hadn’t gotten engaged because we loved each other, and wanted to spend our lives together, but we felt we were drifting apart, and we both desperately wanted to make it work. We care deeply for each other, and didn’t want to hurt the other person, turns out we’re both fixers.
Now, I know a lot of people could easily be crushed at ending a relationship, let alone an engagement or worse, a marriage; but while both of us felt sadness, mostly we both experienced relief. We’ve successfully dodged having to go through either fighting for years to hold a failing marriage together, or a divorce—maybe both—and if there had been children involved?
We’ve sent out joint emails letting everyone know that the wedding is off, but that neither of us was angry at the other; we still intend to be friends. So far, so good. Yes, we’ve run into a few bumps since the decision was made. We’re both looking for new places to live, as neither of us can afford this space without two incomes; I’d hoped to have found a new place while he was away on his work trip, but it didn’t quite pan out. It feels strange living together and not being a couple, but we know we’ve made the right decision for us. One positive aspect of our new relationship dynamic is that there’s a lot less tension, and we’re not fighting anymore.
I’m not sure where my life is going at the moment, but at least I know where it’s not going. I’m giving myself permission to take it easy. Maybe, if I can save enough, I’ll get to Paris at long last.
(Note: The writer behind this blog is still happily married. The reason for this “split” is because I found a doll that, I think, is much more suited to Eve. Unlike my disastrous relationship ending when I was in my early 20’s, Eve will remain friends with Cole, who will still be around. I just thought it would be odd to have her suddenly have a new beau when she’s engaged to someone else. Continuity errors aren’t my friend.
I haven’t been posting for a while because I’m actually recovering from surgery and being at the computer, even for short periods, is challenging. I’m on the mend, though, and hopefully today – with a record of thirty minutes – is a tipping point. I have so many things to share in the upcoming weeks.)