His name was Adam. He was a 6-foot-6 Australian—the CEO of an up-and-coming start-up. He would sweep me off my feet into these bear hugs that left me breathless, laughing, and feeling adored.
I knew from the moment I met him that he would break my heart. We were too different. Our values did not align. But I didn’t care. He filled my world with vibrant shades of red and he made me remember what it meant to be alive. So I let myself fall down, down, down, into the rabbit hole.
I grew up watching Disney—a world in which love can conquer all and overcome every problem. But in those fairy tales, Prince Charming wasn’t pouring his heart and soul into his seventh start-up; he didn’t spend nights sleeping in his office; he wasn’t still technically married because his ex was fighting the divorce.
The problems Adam and I faced were not fairy tales. They were harsh realities, and love was not enough to make them go away.
I could already see the compromises I was willing to make just to be with him — and they scared me. I had always said I would never come second to work in a man’s life, yet I found myself biting my tongue when Adam had to work till 11 p.m., or when he stayed in the car on our date while I ran in to get sandwiches because he “just had this one call to make.” I wanted a man who saw me as the center of his world—not one who always felt that tug to be at work and slightly resented me for pulling him away.
So I left.
Yet it’s so hard to fully climb out of that rabbit hole. I found myself sliding back down every time I saw him.
He gave me a sense of happiness I had not had in a long time. In his arms, anything seemed possible. I wanted so badly to ignore the sensible voice in the back of my head that screamed at me for playing pretend. I just wanted to smile and dance and laugh and take a mental snapshot.
In the end, I had to silence the emotional voice that screamed, “No, you have been alone for so long and wanted so badly to find someone and now you are walking away. What are you doing? If you just tried harder, you would make it work.”
And that is it: If I just tried harder. I would have to try. It would be all me, giving up the things I wanted to be with him. I began to imagine I could live with that, but deep inside I knew I couldn’t. If we stayed together, our passion would keep bringing us together, but the resentment would always pull us apart in the end.
So, I climbed out of the rabbit hole, a bit bruised and battered, but wiser.
I threw myself into a new life in San Diego. I fell in love with the beautiful, sunny, vibrant city. I found a huge six-bedroom house and filled it with a dynamic group of young professionals who became some of my best friends. I went to every networking event I could and met fabulous, successful business people who inspired me to develop my life coaching business.
I experienced the typical dating highs and lows—I had a few flings. I am most definitely single right now, and some days it's great and some days I struggle.
It is my life, though, and I'm living it on my terms. I am no longer giving up pieces of myself to another person.
Leaving Adam was painful, and I'm still healing. But being with him taught me the difference between love and True Love.
True Love is two complete people coming together and building each other up. True Love doesn’t involve compromise or biting your tongue because you're afraid of how the other person will react. With True Love, you communicate and share in a way that flows and works. You are free to express your deepest self and your needs. You feel strengthened and confident in yourself and your relationship.
It took a broken heart to learn all that, but that’s okay because life is a journey and this is what I needed to learn to grow. I share in the hopes that it will resonate with some of you and you will not settle for anything less than True Love. That you will seek and search until you find that person that makes you more. It will be worth it.