I met my ex on RSVP. We dated and moved in fairly quickly; it got se­ri­ous, and we talked about get­ting mar­ried a lot, so we saved up for a house, then ran away to New York to elope. It was so much fun! We’d been to­gether for 10 or 11 years by that point.

A few months later, I was like, some­thing isn’t right. It was a quiet voice in my gut that I couldn’t ig­nore. I had the house, dogs, a good job, and now the hus­band. I thought, this is it, I’ve got ev­ery­thing I’ve been told I should have – but some­thing was off. We gave it about a year, then I said, “You know as well as I do, I’m call­ing it.” Nei­ther of us was happy, so I moved out. It was so con­fronting. I never dreamed I’d be sin­gle and alone at 33. Giv­ing up my ‘per­fect life’ to start again from scratch – what the heck?

It was ap­peal­ing and ter­ri­fy­ing at once. I felt very iso­lated, be­cause all my friends were in long-term re­la­tion­ships, get­ting mar­ried, hav­ing kids. Mean­while, no one was obliged to check in to see how I was do­ing; if there were fi­nan­cial prob­lems, there was no back-up, just me. But how many peo­ple get a sec­ond chance to cre­ate the life of their dreams, know­ing ex­actly who they are and what they like? That was amaz­ing – I could do what­ever I wanted; I could live over­seas, take a new job, any­thing.

I had to learn the dat­ing game again, it was re­ally bizarre. The guys I met were so full on – they wanted wives, and it was all a bit much. I thought, just do what you love; you’re not half a per­son look­ing to be com­pleted. Know your­self, find out who you are, get a busy life, then go back to it. It’s been re­ally good, be­cause now I know it’s OK not to say yes to a sec­ond date. Just have fun with it and see where it goes, with­out any ex­pec­ta­tions.

When you’re part of a team for so long, the big­gest thing is get­ting to know your­self in such an in­de­pen­dent way. Re­dis­cov­er­ing who I am as a per­son has been a huge up­side of this change. Also, the un­ex­pected gifts – meet­ing new peo­ple (as crazy as some of them are), and friend­ships that have be­come so much deeper. I’ve learnt that noth­ing lasts for­ever, but not in a bad way. It means you don’t take any­thing for granted, and re­ally live in the mo­ment, ap­pre­ci­at­ing what you’ve got. I never thought this is where I’d be at this time in my life, but I’m re­ally, gen­uinely happy.

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