To the person who found me by searching “how to heal from a broken engagement”

13 03 2007

You’re long gone, but your search got me thinking. What would I tell someone if they asked me that question? I know I’m young, and I’m sure every person’s experience is different, but here’s a bit of my experience and what I’ve learned.

An engagement is a plan. It’s a plan that ties your life integrally with another’s. When my engagement was ended so was my chosen path. It was cut off sharp at about 9 months down the road. I had no plans after May that made any sense without Jesse. I am someone who thrives on looking down the road. I’m constantly mapping out the next 50 steps. The way many people use family or home as security in life, I use plans. I had never felt as secure as I did when I was engaged. I belonged. And suddenly that was gone. The plans, the belonging, the security. I felt like the rug of my life had been pulled out from under me and I was left lying flat on my back staring up at a blank ceiling. Alone. I started to piece together a future again but it was difficult. I had changed my major since the relationship had turned serious, and honestly, it was partly because I was going to get married. I didn’t need an occupation as involved as interpreting if I had a family. I had started to make plans to move to the city with my girlfriends before I got engaged, but they had moved on with the planning without me (naturally), and I no longer fit. I had the feeling that nothing in my life made sense anymore.

A large part of that feeling was because I valued myself based on how Jesse valued me. I remember writing that it felt like only the fringes of my heart were left because I’d filled up the bulk of it with my love for him, leaving only a fringe for where I loved my family and friends. The part where I loved myself was tied up with the part that loved him, and I wasn’t allowed to love him anymore. I had to relearn to value myself as an individual.

Letting go of the now defunct future was probably one of the hardest parts. First of all there was the wedding. I had it all planned. I was going to be in China and then have a more then full course load plus try to hold down 3 part time jobs, so I planned the wedding the summer before as much as I could. I have a dress. My bride’s maids have dresses. I had asked a friend to do the cake and we had found some beautiful cake stands. I had asked another friend to do the photos. I had ask someone to do the music. And the flowers. We had talked about vows and pre-marital councling and hymns. Then there was the life. We had a boy’s and girl’s name picked out. I was already thinking about possible apartment locations. We had combined our monetary resources (don’t do this, it’s a very bad idea) I was going to be a part of his family (he has a really cool family) I was going to be a wife. Something that I’ve come to grips with in the past couple years is that despite how much society might look down on my for it, the most important things in the world to me are finding a partner and creating a family. My dreams were coming true.

And then they weren’t.

In no specific order because it’s late and my mind is scattered, here are some things that helped me through:

  • I drew on the support of my friends. and drew and drew. We are closer for it.
  • I spent time alone, but I made sure that I didn’t alienate myself.
  • I allowed myself to grieve.
  • I allowed myself to be angry.
  • I worked really hard at not being bitter.
  • I did things that made me feel good about myself. Dancing was a key element.
  • I went to counciling. I wish I had started regular sessions sooner.
  • I asked him to go to a counciling session with me.
  • I forced myself to deal with what I was feeling
  • I monitored my methods of escape so that nothing got out of hand.
  • I made a new plan for my life.
  • I made strong commitments to myself about maintaining my self worth and independence.
  • I learned to value experiences I had and people I had gotten to know while with him despite the pain that is now attached.
  • I got rid of e-mails, letters and pictures. I’m an obsessive reminiscer, so this was an important step for me. I only kept my diaries.
  • I wrote poetry.
  • I opened myself up to another relationship when the time felt right.
  • I forgave him and tried to see things from his perspective.
  • I looked for ways in which I was responsible.
  • I didn’t allow myself to take all the responsibility.
  • I celebrated in way I had grown and matured because of the experience.
  • I didn’t set a time limit for when I should be over it.

    That last one is still really important because (is it obvious?) I’m not completely over it. I’ve come a long way, and in alot of ways time is the only thing left that can get me to a place of feeling more at peace. There are still random strangers that make my heart jump a little. Dark curly hair. Certain body types. The way a certain guy walks. Sometimes you just have to let time heal.And to the person who found me by searching for “if you had to rename of mice an” I’d rename it “should have finished the last chapter before going to class so that the ending wasn’t completely ruined”




4 responses

15 03 2007

Oh. My. Lord.

You just wrote some of the things that I have been meaning to write for about nearly three years now.

Thank you.

15 03 2007

I’ve been there too, and boy, does it suck. But gosh if you don’t write about that suckage with great grace and eloquence. Well done.

16 03 2007
bindi nestor


this is a beautiful post.

I particularly agree with the advice to nurture yourself that comes through in what you have written.

It’s natural to grieve. We all have something to grieve in our lives. Your advice could go for anyone who has lost a loved one or had to make difficult decisions, like pregnancy terminations, been diagnosed with debilitating illness, or had a child diagnosed with disabilities. All of these things cause grief.


20 03 2007

I cannot even begin to imagine what I will do if I have to go through a broken engagement. I give you a lot of credit.

My sister’s best friend killed herself when this happened to her. Some people are not resilient enough for this kind of trial.

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