This time 5 years ago I walked out on my 5 year relationship. If you had asked me then where I saw myself now I wouldn’t have had a clue; my answer would have simply been ”not with him”.
Looking back I see that I pretty much reinvented myself. The ”real” me came to the fore. After a relationship that hadn’t been good for a long time, I was out to take my life back. I rebooted in the standard way; dyed my hair, lost weight, went shopping, booked loads of things to look forward to with the girls, started going out again. Having fun became a priority.
I put myself first again. All the energy that had been sucked out of my soul while we were breaking up came back, tenfold. The glint in my eyes was no longer missing.
I climbed the ladder in my career and left London on a high in January 2014. 2014 and 2015 saw me moving around the globe travelling and working extensively. The ole ”travel itch” was well and truly scratched by February 2016 as I made my way back to Sydney to set my life up for the long haul.
I’m not sure saying I am ‘proud’ of being single for this long is a great way to look at it but to be honest; I am! Pretty much everything I have done since being on my own I wouldn’t have experienced had I been tied to the wrong person.
Break ups can be hell; to hurt someone or be hurt yourself is never going to be easy. But somehow you get through it and rise up. It can take a long time but you get there in the end. Lesson; a break can make you.
Before our final split, 5 years down the line in 2011, we had broken up once during our 2nd year of being together. Looking back now I honestly think we should have ended it there and then. Our ‘relationship’ was full of bickering and arguing, we brought out the worst in each other. It was not healthy. It was not fun.
I remember a relationship close to me at that time that was also going through constant fighting. I used to think ”this is how we are, I don’t want this to be the rest of my life”. Lesson; if you break up it is not always good to get back together. Before you know it life has snowballed and you’ve spent unhappy years together – think long and hard before trying again. It is not always the right thing to do.
Our last couple of years were dire. One of the reasons we stayed together so long was because we lived in different cities. In university I was in Cardiff, he was in Bristol. I moved to London, he was still in uni for another two years.
It was when we finally moved into our apartment in North London that the real ‘us’ came to light. We were not compatible at all. I had left a shared house with great people that I loved living with to move in with him and on the first night we had a massive scrap.
I just remember thinking ”What have I done? I gave up my home and people I loved for this?!”. Lesson; never give up a good situation just for the sake of thinking it’s because you ‘should’. If we really took into consideration how big a deal it was to move into together (after essentially living a long-distance relationship all that time) we would have never gone ahead.
A few months after into moving into our own place he cheated on me. Of course. Textbook. If I loved him I would have forgiven him (once, once I can forgive. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes) but I didn’t. I saw it as my ‘get out of jail free card’ and left him and our place behind soon after.
If he hadn’t done that I may have still been with him. I dread to think how our life could have turned out. We would have lived under a grey cloud. I have touched on this subject before and must stress, he is not a bad person – we just weren’t right together. My family are all friends with him and I would never wish him bad luck. I write about this part of my life because it was a steep learning curve and I am sure others can learn from what I went through. Lesson; just because someone isn’t a ‘bad person’ doesn’t mean you should be together if you’re not truly happy. We could have both saved ourselves a lot of aggro had we been honest about not being right.
I see my 5 years in London as some of the best in my life. We were together for 3 of them but he doesn’t factor into many of memories. I think it’s fair to say I lived a double life. I did what I wanted. He never held me back (because he couldn’t). To reflect on those years and have most of the best bits without him isn’t what a relationship should be about. It was all wrong!.
My great London memories are all of my friends and my career. I suppose although I was loyal, I was always kind of living a single life anyway. Lesson; if you are leading a super-independent life even though you have a partner, you might be happier completely single …
When we broke up I had no plan, no idea what I wanted next, I just knew it was done. It was the cleanest break I have ever experienced. We never spoke again. It was as though I literally closed the door on those 5 years and didn’t contemplate going back.
I left our apartment before he did and moved into a shared house with my friends. They were the same girls I had left behind to move in with him in the first place … it was perfect timing, meant to be and a massive helping-hand from fate to get me back on my feet. I remember that house as being one full of girly good times, exciting things going on in my career and a lot of crazy weekends filled with epic London festivals and Ibiza breaks.
Lesson; if you can do it, clean breaks are the best breaks. He didn’t contact me, I didn’t contact him. It made things so much easier. To’ing and fro’ing over text and calls just makes it all the more messy and more tragic – step away and move on.
Being 31, most of my friends my age are (of course) settled, married, with children. Most of them never left the UK though. We are made of different stuff. It just hasn’t been my path.
I think there is so much pressure these days on ‘finding The One’ that people freak out about it. I know most of my single friends want a boyfriend. They find it hard to admit that they worry they will be ‘single and childless’. I know they’ll be fine though – good people don’t end up alone.
I look at my single status with excitement. Someone epic is going to come into my life at the right time. I 100% know I will meet him when I’m ready. I have thought a few times during these 5 years that I have met a guy who will mean more to me to than just another chapter in my life. Each time it has come to nothing. I’m at peace with the highs and lows. Lesson; it will happen when it’s meant to happen. Be ok with waiting.
I look back now and laugh at myself for the hopes I pinned on some people. I know that honestly, we would never have worked long term. It’s funny how full-on feelings can become, especially when you are travelling.
You live an intense, crazy time together, often just for a very short period but you experience so many amazing things ”as one” that it projects your feelings to another level. Lust feels so good at the time but it often fizzles out into a puff of smoke.
I know I am not the only one who has met people on the road who have been ‘potentials’ that quickly become nothing. I have encountered so many good people. The memories I have made have been absolutely bonkers, from nights out that turned into ”having a boyfriend for a week”, to parties across the globe that became more special because it was spent with someone who made me laugh more than usual – there are too many treasured moments to list.
Lesson; you’re not the only one to get swept up the in the moment – we’ve all been there – it’s part of the fun! Enjoy it for what it is!
Single or not you have to appreciate what you have. I look at my friends who are in happy relationships and I am stoked for them, it makes me happy they are happy. To see people in love is special. It reminds you that there are good people in the world – you just have to find your own one 😉
Being single gives you time to work out who you are, what you want and what you’re prepared to settled for at the end of the day. I know I need to meet someone who pushes me on to keep living a spontaneous life, not one who holds me back or tells me what to do. I want to meet someone who has lived a crazy life too, filled with stories I will applaud because we’ll have similar souls.
There is no shame in being single. Be proud of who you are and what you’re achieving – you might not think you’re doing great things but I’ll bet my bottom dollar you’re doing something right!. Concentrate on things that make you happy and don’t worry too much about what other people think.
If you’re reading this and thinking ”No thanks! There’s no way I want to be single for 5 years! I’m ready to meet someone” then make sure you put yourself out there; use dating apps and websites, go speed dating, sign up to hobby classes that you will enjoy, travel solo – you never know who you might cross paths with. You have to keep all your options open, be happy in yourself and be ready to let someone into your life.
No idea where I’ll be in 5 years time but looking forward to living whatever is coming my way! Life is what you make it!
READ MORE BELOW, Inspiration, Relatable, Travel
- Find your happy halo (inspiration)
- Why I am looking for a new job (again)
- The Week That Changed My Life (inspiration)
- My Wishes Came True, I Found My Dream Job
- Job Hunting; I want to cry at work again
- Vietnam Part 1, Ho Chi Minh [Travel]
- Finding The Value Of Your Own Joy [Relatable]
- When The Fun Stops [Relationships]