When my live-in boyfriend of four years dropped the bomb that marriage was not in our future I was rocked to my core. I relentlessly questioned what I could have done differently to have changed the trajectory of our failed relationship.
Living with my boyfriend made me feel mature and superior to my peers whose lives appeared less stable. At the time, I thought I had life figured out. As the relationship unraveled, I realized I had some insecurities I had merely been covering up with a facade of the perfect life.
Why didn’t he want to commit to spending the rest of his life with me? Why am I not good enough? What is wrong with me?
A typically self confident person, these were not the type of questions I was used to asking myself. But at what was one of the lowest points of my life, I began questioning everything.
Living with my former boyfriend gave the appearance of a stable and fulfilling life, but in reality there was no commitment there. And it wasn’t my fault that he didn’t want to share anything more than a signed lease with me.
I realized my former boyfriend had not left because something was wrong with me or because I was not good enough. He refused to commit to me for reasons of his own.
It took many months, but eventually I bounced back. Slowly, I regained the confidence that is consistent with who I am and have always been. My value as a person was not wrapped up into what someone else thought of me. And in the words of Maya Angelou, once I knew better, I did better.
By the time I was ready to re-enter the dating pool, I knew from that failed relationship that I did not want to repeat the same mistakes. I wasn’t interested in playing house with someone else who might or might not be as committed as I am, only to find myself with the same heartache and turmoil.
I had confidence in my ability to make better decisions and knew that by not living with my boyfriends, I was instead choosing the delayed gratification of a lifelong commitment through marriage. It was that belief and hope that allowed me to accept the failed relationship and move forward with a renewed sense of my own worth and value.