I wanted to marry my boyfriend of 10 years until he suddenly ended things.

Julia Naftulin writes Doing It Right, a dating, sex, and relationship advice column for Insider.

Julia Naftulin writes Doing It Right, a dating, sex, and relationship advice column for Insider.Julia Nafturin

  • My ex and I were high school sweethearts. We dated for ten years, moved to two cities together, and talked about marriage.

  • In August 2021, my ex suddenly told me that I had to end the relationship in order to be alone. He said he wasn’t sure if he could get married.

  • A year and a half later, I learned how to practice self-compassion, ask for help, and find gratitude after grief.

When my ex broke up with me in August 2021, I didn’t realize it was happening. He had to sit me down again the next day to make sure I understood. He needed to move on alone, without me.

I’ve been dating for 10 years since my sophomore year of high school. During that time, we talked about getting married and moved to two different cities together. I loved him, our love, and the memories we shared, so I thought we could get through anything together. I loved how I felt like the first guy who really wanted to get to know me.

For months I could barely eat and could not go a day without crying. rice field.

A year and a half later, after bouts of extreme sadness, anger, and confusion, I found closure—something my former self could never have imagined.

My single life didn’t erase a decade of loving birthdays, road trips, and nights cuddling in front of the TV. But by embracing this unexpected time in my life, I discovered a strength I didn’t realize I had until I got through it. Even when I was embarrassed by my feelings, I relied hard on my friends. Finally, I found acceptance and gratitude in a situation where previously Julia had found nothing but evidence of her being unloved.

I had to practice self-compassion a lot, and it wasn’t easy at first

As I grieved over my relationship and the plans and mutual friendships that came with it, I wondered if I had gone wrong somewhere or if I had missed an obvious red flag. I knew that rumination was my mind’s natural defense mechanism, albeit an unproductive one. It took practice to get out of it.

I sat in silence for a few hours almost every day and realized that I had never regretted or done anything wrong. It wasn’t perfect, it was sober in a way. We didn’t see the world or the meaning of life the same way.Maybe we never did.

One day, I persisted in staying calm, replaying in my mind a memory of when I should have realized my ex and I fell apart. It takes practice, but I’ve found that the easiest way to overcome uncertainty is self-compassion, not self-examination.

If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed, so I decided to give myself respite instead of giving it a second thought. It took me some time, but I finally understood the reasons for my decision. The more I remembered it, the more I found closure.

My breakup became a reminder of the strong support system I had built over the years.

As often happens while dating my ex, he became my best friend. But when he left, I received many reminders of the other healthy and healing relationships I had built over the past decade.

Friends gathered around me, visiting from out of town, hitting the couch, keeping me busy, and embracing late-night texts in my new single age. My parents bought me a new mattress he hadn’t slept on and took me out to dinner. My brother rolled my joints and heard me rant.

I lost the love of one person, but I also remembered that there are many things I can keep going on.

I thought I had forgiven him when I was grateful to him.

I have spent a lot of time feeling confused, angry, frustrated and disappointed with my ex. I am saddened by the memories I cannot make.

But the other day, I was sitting in a traffic jam in the city we moved to together, and I felt nothing but gratitude. I moved here for him, but found a home without him. A place where he is welcomed and comforted even when he is not around. I know myself better than before we broke up. I can admit it now.

Through all these experiences, I realize how strong and resilient I am. It hasn’t been an easy year and a half. It was full of hard truths and uncomfortable growth.

I had an awkward first date, but I also had a nice date. I’ve said no to men who didn’t feel right for me, been ghosted by a few, and been rejected to the face by one. I felt lonely and cried in bed every night, but there were moments when I felt valued by hearing from the people who mattered most to me. And when I had no expectations and only believed in myself, I met someone new and fell in love.

Now that 2022 is over, we can still be grateful for what we got. Knowledge that lasts no matter what.

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