By Dhara S
Turning 30: When life doesn’t go as planned.
We all tend to set “timelines” for ourselves. If you asked me 5-6 years ago where I’d be when I turned 30 I’d say I’d be married, traveling the world and getting ready to start a family. I’m turning 30 in March and I’m single (have been for 2.5 years) and not really doing the things I thought I’d be doing. My life didn’t go as planned and even though turning thirty makes me cringe slightly, here’s my story of how I overcame a toxic relationship and how I turned that into my life’s biggest lesson.
At the age of 24, I was in a long term relationship with a man who I thought was my soulmate and my best friend. We had been together for almost 10 years and I was just waiting for him to propose. I had graduated from pharmacy school a year before and was doing pretty well for myself. I was focusing on working as hard I could pay off my loans but also enjoying life. It was around the age of 25 my relationship took a turn for the worse. The man I was with started becoming distant, lying, disappearing for days at a time and would never pick up my phone calls or respond to my texts. He’d touch base with me a few times a week and would make me feel terrible for questioning what he was doing. Somehow I started to think I was being crazy, I started to think this was my fault even though I knew that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
I wanted to do whatever I could to make the relationship work so I decided that I was going to plan our engagement party even though he hadn’t proposed. I thought to myself “oh once we’re engaged he’ll come around because he’ll have too.” Well, we got engaged, I got the ring the night before the party (no proposal) and it felt like a business deal. I was 26 when we got engaged and I thought things would be smooth sailing after that. Well after we got engaged, things got worse. He’d tell me he was going to show up to all my family/friend gatherings and never did and wouldn’t pick up his phone the day of. We’d go months without seeing each other, he didn’t live far away, and he wouldn’t care. He made so many promises but never kept a single one, all talk but no action. He made me feel like I was the bad guy, like I was crazy for wanting attention and wanting to feel loved.
I started to become someone I wasn’t.
Every time we would talk we would fight. I was in a constant state of anger and frustration, the complete opposite of who I really am. I hated the person I had become.
Cardi B has a song called “Be Careful” and in it, she says this one line
“ You even got me trippin’, you got me lookin’ in the mirror different. Thinking’ I’m flawed because you inconsistent.”
That one line resonated with me so hard because I had transformed into someone I couldn’t even recognize. I cried every week for a year straight, I hid all the issues I was having with him from EVERYONE because I was embarrassed. But after about 6 – 7 months of being engaged but barely being in each other lives, I finally ended the relationship for good and weight was immediately lifted off my shoulders.
But the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was walk away from the most toxic relationship of my life.
Now I know most of you guys are wondering why I didn’t end the relationship sooner. As my relationship was falling apart at the age of 27, all of my best friends were getting engaged and picking out wedding dates or in long term relationships. It took me about a year to finally end the relationship because I had so many fears of the future. I was afraid that I would never meet someone; that I’d be single forever and I was terrified about the things people were going to say. I was afraid no one would ever love me, I was afraid to do this whole relationship thing all over again because opening up to someone is the hardest thing ever. I was afraid to date again, to be vulnerable and let someone come into my life who could hurt me again. All of these thoughts combined with the fact that at an age where people typically get married/engaged — here I was, about to be single for the first time in 12 years. But walking away was the best decision I ever made. A few months later I found out that he had been lying to me about his career, his financial stability and that he had been cheating on me for over a year and that he was having a baby less than a year after we broke up…. So I think I dodged a bullet by walking away.
Even though I had my heart broken badly and may still have some trust issues, I’m grateful for that part of my life because I was able to turn a negative experience into a life-changing positive one.
To those of you who feel like you’re stuck in a relationship because you’re “too old to be single” or have a fear of being alone. If you feel like you deserve better, you probably do. Don’t settle for a relationship because you’re afraid of what the future holds; walk away and embrace what’s to come. Don’t focus on your age, the older you are the more you know what you want in a relationship and the quicker you are to walk away when you aren’t being treated like the queen you are. We get so fixated on a number that we forget who we are, we forget how to be happy and we forget that we have full control of the relationships we choose to be in.
Surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you laugh so hard you cry. Those are the types of relationships you want to be in. If it wasn’t for those people in my life, I wouldn’t have been able to find my happiness again.
I no longer have a timeline for myself. I promised myself I wouldn’t focus on the fact that I’m turning 30 but instead, I’d focus on how strong, confident, fearless and happy I am now. Now when I’m dating, I know exactly what I want in a partner and I know how I deserve to be treated and those are things you only learn as you get older and experience the dating world.
I’ve been actively dating for a while but when I feel like I need a break from it. I take one without even thinking twice about it. It’s definitely the best thing you can for yourself when dating starts to become stressful. I am looking for a relationship and I do want to settle down one day but I’m in no rush. I’m hoping one-day things will work out but in the meantime, I’ll embrace being single and enjoy the things that give me life, like not having to share a bed.
And I know that some days you’ll feel the pressure of being single or feel lonely (I feel like that more than I’d like to admit) but that’s okay.. those days won’t last forever; and once those days are over, remind yourself how much of a badass bitch you are, pour some champagne, dance in your underwear and SLAY every moment of your life.
And please please please always remember to love yourself, its so easily forgotten but so damn important. Self-love is the foundation to any relationship you have in the future; without it you’ll never fully be happy.
So help me the countdown to my 30th birthday.. which is on March 30th and celebrate with me by drinking one too many mimosas, putting on some big diamond hoops and listening and rapping along to Cardi B (because this is exactly what I’ll be doing)
Cheers to forever being young at heart! OKURRRRRR
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