Sometimes life doesn't work out the way we think it will. After being with my college sweetheart for over three years, I made the hardest decision of my life to end a seemingly perfect relationship.
Everyone thought we were absolutely perfect for each other. My friends even joked I would be the first to be engaged of all of us. He was the all-American type: division 1 collegiate athlete, tall, handsome, intelligent, loyal, respectful, mature, driven, romantic, funny, family-oriented and fantastic in bed. The list could go on.
No one had a negative thing to say about him. Maybe the one and only thing they could say was that he studied too hard and didn't go to all the raging parties his teammates went to. Yes, that was really the only thing anyone ever complained about.
My family loved him, my little brother looked up to him and he was close with my best friends. He treated me like a princess, put up with my moodiness, accepted me for who I was, cheered me on, supported me and always made me feel loved and important. I really couldn't ask for more.
He was my first love, my first serious relationship and the best example of a man I could have asked for. To this day, even though he's now happily married and we haven't spoken in years, I can say with honesty I will always love him for being a great man to me, and for giving me something no one else has yet to come close to.
Now for the hard part. You're probably thinking, "Why on Earth would you ever give that up? Are you insane?"
Here are three reasons I chose to end my perfect relationship, and why I don't regret it:
1. We had different ideas of the future.
I could see our paths diverging in the near-ish future, and it scared me. As time went on, he graduated and started his master's program. I was close behind in my undergrad, and talks of the next five or so years started infiltrating our relationship.
He wanted the upper-middle class, white picket fence, American Dream sort of life. I wanted the world nomad, rich with experiences, living by the seat of my pants type of life. We were turning into opposites with an unpromising future together.
I didn't want to be a housewife. I didn't want to not work, and I didn't want to live in suburbia with two blond-haired, blue-eyed children in pressed clothes and structured gender roles. That was actually my nightmare, and I knew it would lead to me being a baseball mom in the PTA, drinking a bottle of white wine every night. No, thanks.
2. I had more growing to do.
He was always a very mature, level-headed person, believing that if you worked hard in school, you would be rewarded with a great job and a fat salary. He worked methodically, and I admired him for that. He didn't care for the typical college experience. He took life seriously, while I was more free-spirited. And it began to show.
After being the perfect, put-together, wifey-material girlfriend under his good influence for a couple years, I started craving something more. Excitement was calling, and I realized I was missing out on some experiences I wanted before I settled down in my adult life.
He was an old soul and didn't care to party until the sun came up, drinking himself stupid after being at the hottest club in town. I did; I wanted to live my youth. I wanted to sleep with other people, and I wanted more experiences. I felt like I was missing out, and it started to bother me.
3. His family never fully accepted me.
I have nothing but good things to say about his family. They took me on all their family vacations, did endless favors for us when we moved in together, helped us out when we needed a hand and were always beyond supportive. However, I could sense I wasn't the type of girl his mom thought he would end up with.
Although we were actually from the same hometown, I grew up on the other side of the tracks, and I felt out of place in certain situations. No matter how polite, intelligent or well-mannered I was, somehow I always felt different and didn't quite fit in with his family. In the future, I knew it would be a bigger problem.
I wanted something more from my youth. I knew that if I didn't make the decision to end the relationship, I would never get to do the things I imagined for myself before settling down. I was too young to be so serious, and it began to weigh on me.
Despite it being the hardest decision of my life to this day, I have never once regretted it simply because he was not the man I was supposed to end up with. If I never ended the relationship, I wouldn't have gone on that crazy spring break trip, experienced other people, learned who I was or traveled to Europe.
I learned more than I could have imagined from those three years, and I don't regret anything that came from it. I know there is someone out there for me who is more aligned with what I want and need, and I know everything will work out for me in the end.