While attending Campbellsville University for nursing school I was introduced to a great guy by a co-worker. At the time I was very focused on being successful in school and didn’t have time to commit to a new relationship, but I thought this would be a nice person to hang out with and do fun things together when I did have free time. As school progressed, I figured out how to balance my time and our relationship progressed.
Over the next year we fell in love, got to know one another’s families, and began to dream of what a future together would look like. I knew a proposal was in the future, but I didn’t know when. I remember being so excited that my love story was finally coming together, I was finally going to get what I had always wanted.
He proposed right before Christmas, so we spent the holiday season oohing and awing with family over the engagement ring and discussing what I wanted for our wedding. I had always dreamed of having a fall wedding, so plans for the next fall quickly came together.
I had graduated from Campbellsville and was living back at home about an hour away. This meant we got to see each other a little less, but overall, we were coping with that just fine. In February my Papa got sick, spent nearly two weeks in the hospital, and passed away. Even though he was 90, his illness and death came unexpectedly and was a major stressor on my whole family.
I’m not sure if it was the added stress and grief of that time the sparked it, probably just coincidence, but timeline wise this is when I remember things starting to fall apart. I remember that on the day of my papa’s funeral, he picked a fight with me on our way home. Best I remember the fight was about where we were going to live (Campbellsville vs. Leitchfield), but it really wasn’t about what we were fighting about, it was the fact that he would choose that time to bring up the controversial conversation.
I was still living with my parents at the time, and we were on our way back to their house. I remember telling him to go inside, act normal, but to announce that he was going on home even though the original plan was for him to stay the night. I knew I didn’t want him there, but I also didn’t want to add any additional stress to my mom who had buried her daddy that day.
For the next several weeks there were more arguments, more distance between us, and an alarming feeling in my gut that things just weren’t working out the way they should. I kept thinking to myself that things shouldn’t be so hard if I was truly with my soul mate.
I spent a lot of time praying about our relationship, feeling lost, feeling confused, and feeling like I couldn’t get any answers from God like I kept praying for.
I’ve always been very open with my parents in regard to relationships, so I opened up to them and shared my concerns: immaturity, a lack of financial responsibility, lack of drive for the future. They in turn shared concerns they had as well, but ultimately were supportive of whatever decision I made.
I remember having extreme anxiety and worry about calling off the engagement. I was so embarrassed. I didn’t know how to tell people; I didn’t know what to tell people. There was no dramatic break up story, no one particular reason why I decided to end the relationship. I knew people would see my engagement ring was gone and ask why or where it was.
My mammaw didn’t make the situation any better. My mom had told our family about my decision since I had been dreading it so much. The next time I saw my mammaw she had 100 questions about why I called things off. She repeatedly told me she “just didn’t understand” and in not so many words also expressed that she was embarrassed to tell people I had ended my engagement.
Slowly my coworkers, friends, and acquaintances started to piece the puzzle together and didn’t ask too many questions.
To anyone that find themselves in a similar situation: trust your instincts. If I had not been brave enough to make that difficult decision, I might not have the beautiful life with my husband and kids, that I have now. It’s not an easy decision to make. It’s likely that even after you make the decision, you’ll question if you’re doing the right thing. But I can tell you that when you’re with the right person, it will come easy and it will feel natural. That’s not to say there won’t be disagreements (because there probably will be), but fundamentally, in the big important areas—where to live, how many kids you want, faith, principals, how to manage finances—it will come easy.