Here on the blog, we feature beautiful love stories with the intention of showing millennials that young Black love does exist. But what happens when you're in a longterm relationship and you know in your heart of hearts that something just ain't right? What do you do when you're ENGAGED to someone who you suspect may not be "The One"? An anonymous contributor shares her story with The YBL on how she decided to walk away from her engagement. We hope it inspires you and reminds you that you have the power and the choice to not settle!
I was 26 years old and engaged, right where I’d imagined myself being at that age. Everything in life seemed to be coming together. The feeling of being engaged was initially exciting but also a bit overwhelming. I got to planning the wedding right away; after all, that was the most exciting part. Once the planning settled, the reality of my future with my fiancé, came to surface. I slowly began to realize that saying “yes” to this marriage proposal was the wrong decision for me. Thoughts of “sure, I COULD do this forever” came to my mind rather than thoughts of “I can’t wait to marry this man.”
This was not how things were supposed to unfold. There were no more butterflies, no more hopes or dreams. I was burdened by a feeling of doubt and uncertainty. This was more than just cold feet.
I kept reminding myself of how great a person he was. How much he loved children. How much he adored me. How he respected his mom and grandparents so greatly. Sure, these are all qualities of a good man; however, there were qualities about him that weren’t so grand. So, the story unfolds of why I decided to walk away.
We lived together during all of our engagement. During this time, truths began to come out of hiding. I was the breadwinner, if you will, which was completely fine at the time. There was a plan in place: once he finished his degree, bills would be split down the middle. Until then, I would take care of our living costs. I worked day-in and day-out to make sure we lived comfortably. I worked, cooked, cleaned…I did it all because I knew he was working hard to achieve his dreams (or so I thought) and I wanted to be his support. After his “graduation date” got pushed back another semester, I began to gain suspicions.
After what seemed like a lengthy interrogation from me, my fiancé finally decided to tell me the truth: he was never enrolled in classes. Furthermore, he was not working (because I thought he was working towards his degree, as previously explained). “We can work through this”…”it’ll get better”…”it’s okay, we’ll figure something out” were all frequent phrases in my mind shortly thereafter. I finally came to my senses, grew a backbone (that blind love seemed to have stolen from me), and gave him three weeks to enroll in classes and find a job.
Now, I know that you are supposed to accept your spouse, flaws and all. I also am aware that I am not this perfect, amazing person. But BY NO MEANS does that mean settle. And that was just it: I knew I was settling. We live in a society today where a good woman is defined as someone who will “ride or die,” meaning she will be by your side NO MATTER WHAT.
However, there comes a point when you must remove yourself from a parasitic relationship: a relationship where one person (the parasite) lives off of the other person (the host).
If you decide to stay in such a relationship, then the harm becomes your responsibility as well. I was not willing to accept responsibility for such a relationship. Thus, when the three weeks came around and his plan yet again fell through, I kindly gave the ring back and left.
Yes, I made it sound simple. The truth of the matter is that walking away was hard. The wedding was planned and paid for. Save-the-dates were sent out. My gown was purchased. I literally planned my life with this man that I was now walking away from. There were tears. There were midnight conversations filled with heartache and pain. There was loneliness. There was emptiness. There was the embarrassment of letting everyone know that another relationship failed. There was also support from family. There was a great deal of love from friends. There was an understanding from people I never expected to understand. Time allowed me to realize that no amount of embarrassment, money spent on the wedding, or nights filled with tears could have even come close to the life I would have settled for if I stayed.
The first six months after the engagement was off were the hardest. There was definitely a void. There was a fear of facing the dating world again (which, yes, is awful at first but gets better). Looking back, I thank God everyday for giving me the strength to walk away and the faith to know that I can find love again, an even greater love.
If you ever have doubt in a relationship, take a step back and evaluate it from the outside looking in. Ask yourself if you would approve of your son or daughter being in a situation like yours.
Ask yourself if you are sacrificing your self-worth or your values to be with this person. At the end of the day, the decision is yours. Just remember to keep not settling.
How Spirituality Got Me Through:
The support that God gave me through prayer is what kept me strong and kept me from going back. I struggled with my decision initially because I knew that I hurt people in the process. I knew that people were disappointed. I prayed for the wisdom to know that I made the right decision. I prayed for healing and peace. I prayed for my ex, that God would also heal his brokenness. I prayed until I couldn't pray anymore; answers were still unclear and I began to give up on my healing process. 'Maybe I should just accept the fact that I may have made a horrible decision. Maybe I should have worked with the man God gave me and just settled for our differences'. But deep down I knew that wasn't the case. He (God) couldn't have wanted that for me.
I will always remember the day that prayer saved me from the endless hole I seemed to be sinking in. One afternoon, I had cried myself to sleep. When I woke up I had a voicemail from my uncle, which is very odd since we only connect with each other on holidays or family gatherings. My uncle, who is also a pastor, left this message "My beautiful niece, God sent me a vivid picture of your face while I was in prayer this morning. Whatever you are going through just know that God is near and he will uplift you. Have faith." There was my answer. The Lord was near and I should not give up on Him or myself. From then on, I stood firm in my decision and did not allow myself to succumb to regret.
Bible Verses that Helped Me:
Psalm 34:18 "The Lord is near to the broken-hearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed."
"When you're at your lowest, look to the highest"
Psalm 30:5 "...weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning,"
" 'Come as you are', said He, 'but I love you, so I will not let you stay there. I will move you, and it will hurt, but I promise I will not leave you' "
We hope this story gave you strength and encouragement to not settle for someone simply for convenience sake. You know in your heart of hearts when something isn't right. Listen to that intuition and make a move!
Until next time...