When I met him, I had just come out of a stormy relationship. He was a serious, honest, fair, well read and morally grounded man. He was my pillar, and I held onto him dearly. With him, everything moved very quickly. After just two months into the relationship, we moved in together and decided to build our home. When the subject of marriage arose, I had this strange feeling deep within my soul that it shouldn’t take place. I didn’t see it then, but now I know that I didn’t go through the typical joys and butterflies one goes through when envisioning spending the rest of your life with the one you love. At that time, I just thought it was the right thing to do. I was in my late 20s, and I felt the decision came mostly because of the pressure to conform to my family and society’s standards. I didn’t profoundly feel it was the right choice.

At our wedding, there were many signs. Superstitions. One even happened during our honeymoon, when after we printed couples portraits on two vases and got back to our room his jar broke, and only mine remained. In hindsight, that event makes total sense. There weren’t many signs afterward, just an overall feeling that he wasn’t entirely the right person for me. But it’s easy for me to say these things now. However, for someone who is currently in a relationship and has certain doubts regarding the one they’re with, they’ll make up any excuse and justify whatever feeling or action to stay in that comfort, even if they know deep down it’s not right. To me, that person is an unhappy one. And yet somehow I feel that’s where most people are at today.

The real test of hardship for our marriage came when we had our child. We didn’t have a foundation on which to build on. Our communication in many ways wasn’t effective, because we would both project our idea of perfectionism onto each other instead of looking within, and truly listening to one another. Also, despite my good intentions and belief that my behavior was motivating and guiding him, I found much later that he felt attacked. We decided to break up, and all I remember was that I was left with so many questions. I couldn’t understand why it happened. Or what I did wrong. What could I have done differently? Or why does it happen to me? Separating is similar to the loss of someone you love. You go through the same stages of grief: denial, anger, questioning, depression, and acceptance.

I only confided in one friend during my divorce, and that’s it. I didn’t open up because I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I am very aware of energies, and when I become vulnerable and always vent my feelings, I feel that I burden others with so much unnecessary pain. I don’t think it’s fair. As a result, nobody knew what I was going through. My parents didn’t understand my decision back then, and so I couldn’t confide in them either. They would always question me, trying to salvage an idea of happiness and marriage, but not indeed seeing what I needed to be happy at that moment.

It’s been almost four years since my breakup, and after hitting my emotional rock bottom, I said that I cannot go lower than this. It hit me when I came to realize the most important question had nothing to do with my relationship. It had to do with me, and what my purpose in this life is. I bravely started to acknowledge all my fears, I looked inward and began the process of self-awareness.

I don’t think I would’ve started this process had it not been for the divorce. I would’ve continued to bury myself in the same empty Monday to Friday routine and woken up many years later, feeling bitter for myself. I’ve come to understand that we don’t meet people accidentally in our lives. We are meant to help each other grow. And that if we don’t take the time to understand the lessons every person or situation offers us, the patterns will resurface until you truly have a grasp on them. I had to go through two failed relationships to realize that all along I had to look within and learn to love and know myself better. I’ve discovered that I am a very intuitive person and I am learning to trust my intuition more and more every day. Also daily, I pause to acknowledge how grateful I am for everything that I have, for everyone in my life, and for every moment in my journey. I’m learning to see the beauty in all things surrounding me and not to take for granted the time we have here on earth. Each morning I ask that I am surrounded by the people I need to help me grow and that all the tests that I am given, that I can find solutions for them.

But the greatest lesson of all was learning that we can grow by means other than pain. That love is the greatest teacher of them all.