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.