I was essentially dumped by someone who wasn't even my boyfriend. We had totally hit it off. He loved me hard.
I didn't sign up for it. I went with the current. But before I knew it, I was typhooned by Prince Charming. (Can we call him "Batman?" I'd prefer to date Batman.)
Just as quickly as it started, it came to an end. He didn't want to do a long-distance relationship. I'll spare you the details, but just know that we didn't mean to like each other as much as we did.
Things escalated quickly. There was too much pressure too soon. Particularly because of my career as a traveler, we had challenges that are better dealt with in a strongly-rooted relationship.
Travel makes slowly getting to know someone hard: You either make plans to see each other, or you don't. I would have said "yes" to long-distance, but he had already decided that he wasn't interested. It hurt. I was a painful rejection, and I wasn't used to it.
I'm not exactly a hopeless romantic, but I very much believe in love. I'm the practical one when it comes to dating, so much so that both men and women come to me for advice. However, when I fall, I fall hard. That's why I try so hard not to fall.
Being rejected by someone I had completely fallen for hurt. Things like that are supposed to hurt, but after the dust had settled, I somehow found myself feeling happy. Call me crazy, but this breakup somehow made me really happy. Yes, rejection healed my heart instead of breaking it.
Here are the reasons why:
1. Rejection proved I don't have to look for love.
Serendipity is the idea that we meet people who serve a purpose in our lives (even if it's brief) because we were supposed to meet them. You don't go looking for love when you believe in serendipity.
In other words, I wasn't actually looking for a relationship. To be honest, I'm actually low-key anti-relationship because I appreciate my lifestyle, and giving up parts of it in order to be with someone else doesn't interest me.
I'm that girl people make memes about. I'm the one saying, "My friends are having babies, and I'm like 'What country should I go to next?'" As a professional traveler, that's actually my life.
This experience was a reminder that while some of my friends freak out about being single, it's OK to live your life with the attitude of “When it happens, it happens.” It will happen, even if you're not looking for it.
I wasn't looking when romance first popped up, so I can continue to not look and presume it will pop up again.
2. It reminded me that liking someone is fun.
Focusing on our careers and passion projects while we're single can be so much fun, people like me forget how great being in a relationship can be. It sounds silly, but I needed someone who could make me feel extra amazing.
This reminded me how incredible it can be to put another person first.
3. It gave me hope in Millennial dating.
It's nice to know there are still gentleman out there who respect my values. I hear so many awful stories about men and women in our generation who totally suck at dating that it's hard to keep hope alive sometimes. Although I do tend to write about toxic relationships and red flags, I know there are great relationships out there.
I've been around plenty of them. But it's just so nice to have it right there. Every good egg is a reminder that there are more good eggs.
4. It makes me appreciate what I've accomplished while I've been single.
Imagine if we had worked out, and I had to move to a new city to avoid long-distance. My lifestyle would have drastically changed. It's reassuring that when I'm ready to commit to a partner, I'll already have done a lot of the things I've always wanted to do.
Since I don't have anything or anyone holding me back right now, I've had the privilege of having solo time to see the world and start my own business. I don't have the answer to everything, but I do know travel isn't the reason I'm single. I'm choosing to travel and work extensively because I'm single.
This lifestyle will change when I have a partner, and it will change again when I have a family. But I don't have a partner, and I don't have kids. So I can keep traveling, working and having fun.
5. It reminded me how empowering it feels to take risks.
Feeling intense emotions reminds us that we're capable of deeply loving and being vulnerable.
It's easy to always play it cool, but it takes a lot for someone to put him or herself out there. We may have not worked out, but I'll never regret having tried.
6. It showed me I'm not wasting my time.
I'd much rather figure out early on that something isn't going to work out than invest months or years trying to force it. Love is a choice, and if you both aren't willing to make that choice each and every day, you may as well bow out while you're ahead.
7. It taught me that it isn't always personal.
It's not that he was a bad person. It's not even that I'm a bad person. We are two good people who will choose to be with two different good people.
I really do hope he ends up with a remarkable girl, and I hope he learned as much from me as I did from him.