The Worst Day Ever

This is going to be a really personal, painful post, and I’m sorry for that. As I’ve mentioned before, I try to keep the tone of Pressed Words light, but sometimes my heart needs an audience, and so I would ask for an open, loving ear.

Two nights ago, B called off our wedding. I still can’t believe I just wrote that. I am still in absolute shock. I am also embarrassed, ashamed, devastated, angry, resentful, strong, positive, courageous, and sad.

I’m writing this because I know people will have questions, and I would prefer to be open and honest about the situation, and maybe even helpful if you find yourself in a similar position.

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Let me give you the back-story. . . . B and I got together very soon after ending other relationships. And with us, things moved fast. We fell in love and were together for six months when he got a job in Amsterdam. He asked me to come with him, and I said yes. We were here for a year and a half, and then he proposed. We had wanted to get married the following summer, but to save up and give people enough time to book travel (as we have family and friends all over the world) we decided to wait two summers. In that time, things were wonderful. We planned a wedding, traveled the world, advanced our careers, and enjoyed each other’s company. But about 10 months ago, things started feeling strange. We started disagreeing on big things we had always agreed on before. Kids. Money. Where we would live in the world, what we would do next.

I got scared, and my solution was to move, to start fresh. Escape our friends and our jobs and re-establish who we were and what we wanted together. But Ben got scared and froze.

So to mix things up, I got a new job and we stayed in Amsterdam. As you might expect, our issues stayed as well. But instead of talking about the big things we felt we couldn’t solve, we started arguing over the little things. We had never really fought before, so this was strange. Typically we agreed on everything, from what we were craving for breakfast, to where we wanted to go on holiday. But little arguments started bubbling up. There was that time Ben got mad when I put a thumb tack in the wall. And the time I got upset when Ben ripped my washcloth, trying to adjust a stubborn shower knob. I could probably count the arguments on my toes and fingers, but it wasn’t the frequency of the arguments, it was the topics. They were all so petty, and so pointless.

It was clear we were out of the honeymoon phase of our relationship, and had some small, and some major, disagreements. We went home to visit my family over the holidays, and had difficult, honest conversations. Do we end it now? Do we stay together? Do we continue to work this out? Do we feel things can get better? We had a lovely time together over vacation. And the little arguments stopped. We saw family, and friends, and had some clarity away from work and Amsterdam life. So we decided to stay together, to embrace each other, our plans, and make things work. But we never solved those big issues, we just felt happy again because we were enjoying each other’s company.

So now it’s the beginning of May, two months before our scheduled wedding, and Ben starts to break down. He’s sad. He’s depressed. He’s confused. He has a ball in his chest and he doesn’t know what’s causing this feeling. He asks if we can go to therapy, and I reply ‘of course’. But I need to know; is it to make our relationship better, or to decide whether or not we should have a relationship. He replies, ‘to make it better’, so I agree to go.

We go to therapy twice. It helps, and it becomes clear that the wedding is a huge contributor to the stress in Ben’s life. So now we need to make a decision. The wedding is a month away.

We both write the best-case scenario and worst-case scenario down, and read them to each other.

Calling the engagement off? Getting married? Canceling the wedding?

I have hope, but Ben feels that to truly understand who he is, why he is experiencing this sadness in his life, he needs to be alone. So after an hour of sitting in silence together, waiting for Ben to make a decision, he tells me it’s off, and he leaves the house.

So yesterday was pretty much the worst day of my life.

I still can’t even remotely begin to get my head around not being with Ben. I think of all the adventures we’ve had together, the places we have been, the things we have seen. And those are the memories I want to tell my children about. The photos with Ben are the ones I want to hang on my wall. I truly feel like he is this piece of me, and that losing him is like losing an arm. I am having phantom pains, unable to believe he’s no longer there. I keep forgetting, and remembering. And forgetting, and remembering. And god, does it hurt.

So what does it feel like to call off a wedding?

Completely humiliating.

My parents gifted us with money for the wedding, and we have spent it all. And we will not get it back.

Friends and family received invitations a month ago. We now have to call all of them, all 100 of them, and tell them that we are no longer getting married. Half of those people are from Europe, and have very expensive plane tickets booked. I feel so ashamed and sorry.

I dreamt about this wedding, and now I cannot imagine ever, ever doing this again. The planning, the excitement. The happiness. The thought of putting on a white dress makes me feel sick to my stomach. All I ever wanted was to celebrate this day with my family, and Ben. The thought of inviting my family to another wedding, should I ever find another partner, is also completely mortifying. The things people will say, or silently think. . . I am so embarrassed, and sad to let go of this dream.

Fact: The 5th of July will probably be the second worst day of my life.

And who knows, maybe tomorrow will be the worst day of my life. All I can really do is break this horrible, sad thing that is happening down into little bit-size pieces. I am not getting married. OK. Ben is gone. OK. The future is going to be really, really different than I had imagined. OK. I can only comprehend this scenario if I compartmentalize, because if I try to digest it all at once, I begin to choke.

The only good news is that I am OK. Ben might be sad, and confused, and depressed. But despite feeling humiliated and heart-broken, I am OK. I know who I am. I am confident. I know what makes me happy.

So I will still pedal my way to work, and listen to music. I will still do a damn fine job in the office. I will bike home in the rain, and cry. I will buy flowers and read books and drink tea, and I will recover. I will hug friends and cook meals, and sometimes I might not be able to eat them, but I will be grateful for the food on my plate, and the opportunity to live in this city, and see the world. And who knows, maybe I will book a solo trip, to clear my head and embrace life.

There are some big decisions ahead to be made. Is Ben still a part of my life? Can I forgive him for this? Does happiness mean moving on?

The truth is, I really don’t know. I’ve never done this before. And I have to figure it out.

I may feel horrible, and ripped apart. But I have hope.

I know it will be OK. Maybe not for a long time. But it will. I might not have the wedding of my dreams, or the guy of my dreams, but I still have my dreams.

And the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who has left a positive or thoughtful comment on this post. I still don’t have the courage to reply to everyone individually, but I have read every single note (here, on Facebook, and via e-mail). Each one gives me hope and strength. So thank you.

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42 thoughts on “The Worst Day Ever

  1. Ali, I am so sorry to read this, my mouth gaped open when I read the first paragraph. By the sound of things, you have a strong grasp on what comes next for you. It will indeed be tough for a while but experience has taught me that eventually, the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter. Be well, God bless you.

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  2. I’m so sorry to hear this; and I’m sending lots of positive thoughts your way. The authenticity of your post is so touching. I have been in a similar situation and while it wasn’t easy, some absolutely wonderful and amazing things came out of it. You are an exceptional writer and a beautiful person. There are countless amazing things in your future and you will be more than OK. ;-)

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  3. I’m really sorry that you are going through this; and can’t imagine the whirlpool of feelings & emotions that you must be spinning in. Just before I read your post I came across this tidbit written by Sandra King,

    “When things fall apart consider that life knocked it down on purpose. Not to bully you or punish you, but to prompt you to build something better suited to your personality and your purpose. Sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

    I don’t know if this helps at all…but you will be ok… Just give it time.

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  4. I am so sorry. I can hear the pain in your words. Just remember: You. Will. Be. Okay. It will take time but it will get easier. And when you find the right one you won’t even think about what other people think; you will realize that this was a blessing in disguise. Keep your head up. I am sending positive thoughts your way.

    – Your fellow Maine blogger

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  5. I can’t imagine what you are going through, even after reading such an honest post. Obviously it’s devestating but it sounds like you are looking at it from a good perspective. I don’t know your friends or family but hopefully they will all rally around you and not worry about the cancelled wedding expenses.

    Maybe your family can help with the phone calls to people? So you aren’t carrying that heavy load yourself. I can’t imagine having to tell 100 people. just the emotional part of that would be difficult.

    You are a beautiful person, inside and out, and I’m certain you will find love again.

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  6. We all have hours of darkness in our lives. Hours when we feel alone, hours when we are depressed, hours when we feel like the world has turned against us, hours when we seemed to have run out of luck, and hours when we feel like life cannot possibly get any worse.

    But like this quote says, even during these hours of darkness, you can still shine. Your hope can be an example to other people. Your strength can be an encouragement for others who are also struggling. Your perseverance can be your story that you share to help other people.

    We can all be stars that shine:)

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  7. I am sorry for that Men are strange. I wish you luck and you will heal Better to have found out his temper and getting upset with you like you wrote about the tack on the wall to get mad over that is wrong . anyways better to find out now than when you are married ( I mean if you had gotten married what would happen about his temper? would it get worse?)..I am sorry your folks lost their money and you had to call all your friends.. You are a wonderful person and I hope things get better. for you it will take time. I hope you are not mad at me for writing this ..Hang in there you have friends here.;)..

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  8. If some asked me to marry them and I loved them, I would fix it PDQ. Quit my job, travel to him and beg for forgiveness, quick, fast and in a hurry Its up to you to keep the peace. The easy part is walking away, the hard part is staying together.

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  9. Came across your blog for the first time. And while I know you might hate what I am about to say but I feel glad this happened. Had you two been married and the arguments continued, you might have gotton stuck into a loveless marriage. In that case walking away would be even more difficult and painful. For a person who spent years with you sharing beautiful moments, if there is still a fraction of doubt, it just goes to say that he was never sure but as the wedding was finally happening and the reality of it struck him… He found the easy way out … You will find true love , who is Proud to have you in his life … It’s too fresh but time will fix it all .. Don’t care about people, it’s your life … And the biggest tragedies in the workd get forgotten within days and it makes way for life … From the ashes of sorrow and self pity rises the will to smile and move on

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  10. It is indeed disturbing and heart melting to read your pain. But to the point of making you feel more miserable let me add,” All that happens, happens for good!” Even the worst tragedies in life happen for a better tomorrow. I can understand you love Ben dearly and it hurts you a lot. As a stranger it is uncivil and impolite on my part on say anything about your personal life. But bottom line is, being happy and worry free is a fundamental right of every soul.
    Inspite of living in the most beautiful city in the world and holidaying in the best places, you have endured a few tumultuous months. What does this tell you?
    Happiness isn’t quantified by our holidays or comfy homes or the elite partying crowd around us but what you and your soul mate share. Of course living in a beautiful city with plush living standards adds to our happiness. But if our inside is unhappy, external factors and tulips and museums won’t heal our unhappiness.
    I can’t comment on specifics because I do not know Ben’s version of what transpired. If he’s destined to come back, he will. If he doesn’t, tell yourself the best has happened.
    Marriage is the best thing that can happen to anyone. I speak with personal experience. If Ben humiliates you just a few days before wedding it’s because he’s cowardly to take a major decision or maybe he doesn’t envision you as his wife and that a live in arrangement was convenient for him. There could be countless reasons. This is why living in before wedding is better avoided because it makes you feel used if things go wrong.
    Pick up the pieces of your life and move on. Believe in a bigger power than human power. You can call it divine power or God particle whatever… Be good. If you have made mistakes, correct yourself and more importantly learn from them. Ask yourself what could you have done differently. And yes move on and find lasting happiness. The best is yet to come…

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  11. So sorry to hear this, it must be the worst news you could have. But it is better to know now than to marry and then part shortly after. That’s the truth, a hard pill to swallow but I hope you move on from this. It may make you a stronger person in the long run. There will be good things to come I’m sure, stay positive.

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  12. So sorry to read this! You’re brave and you’re strong and your post genuinly touched me. Hang in there Ali, you’ll get through this.

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  13. Wow. This is one of the most powerful, emotional posts I think I’ve ever read. Stay the course. Keep focused on doing you. The rest will fall into place. In the meantime, you have thousands of readers out here in your corner, with you for every step along the way.

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  14. I read your post with great sorrow. Quite frankly, it came as a shock. Relationships go through different phases, and, when feelings are strong, arguments inevitably surface. I felt some of your grief and despair as I followed your post. However, there was one thing missing: Ben’s perspective on the situation.

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  15. I am very sorry that you are going through this. My husband decided, one month after we celebrated our 10 year anniversary, that he no longer wanted to be married. It felt like my heart broke into a gazillion little pieces. It still hurts 10 months later to think about what was and what might have been. Just try to remember that good things will still happen even when things seem bleak and dreary.

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  16. Speaking our truths is one of the best ways to heal. Ali, I know you’re sad but I also know you want nobody’s pitty. You deserve the best in life, and honestly I know you will have it. You’re one of the most genuine souls I have ever met, and I will come to Amsterdam in a heart beat to eat space cakes and laugh all afternoon at the cat museum. Your happiness has and always will come first. I’m so proud of you for getting all of this off of your shoulders. I also apprecite all of the encourging words from your followers. You’re never alone, Ali. I love you <3

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  17. I`m so sorry. :( I have read your blog for a long time and I feel shocked. I can`t even imagine how you must be feeling now. But like you said: you can be grateful for many things and you will recover from this. I think you did everything that was possible to do, and if it wasn`t enough, then it just wasn`t. It was Ben`s decision and he had his reasons, though they are difficult to understand. On the other hand it`s good this happened now, and not just a few days before the wedding or right after them. Now you must concentrate on all the positive things in your life and in the end everything will be just fine. And I´m sure your friends and relatives will understand, so you don`t have to be ashamed of anything. I send you lots of virtual hugs!

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  18. Thank you for sharing, was really interesting to get such a personal read. And you most surely will be OK. I can’t believe how this must be for you, but I do feel for you and am cheering on you! You wrote some very inspirational lines here. Good luck.

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  19. Hi, I’m commenting as myself, someone who knows “B” and a long time follower of this blog.

    First let me say that no-one can dispute that this is the most difficult situation anyone can be in. Both of you will be going through the most challenging period of your lives and as many of the comments above have already highlighted, I’m truly sorry ( for both of you ) that this has happened.

    That said, I can’t help but highlight that the public nature of parts of this post is not fair on both of you. It’s your platform to express yourself and you’ve always done that in an open and honest way so there’s no reason why this occasion should be different, for every comment there’s likely many more readers who’ll read this and have empathy for what’s going on.

    However there are parts of this post that highlight parts of B’s life that I’m not sure he’d be comfortable with if he’d read it on-line for everyone to see. Ok this post clearly isn’t about how he’s feeling, but from what you’ve written, in every sense, it is exactly about that and the resulting outcome as it stands, and maybe that’s something worth considering.

    I hope both of you reach a resolution you’re both happy with and as is already the sentiment from the previous comments, I hope you find your way soon.

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    • Hey Tim, I appreciate your words but please let me grieve in my own way. Responding to you, right now, is the first time I have spoken to anyone other than my mom or Ben. I have not been able to sleep. I have not been able to eat without getting sick. I have not been able to speak to my sisters or my dad or my grandparents. The last thing in the entire world I need right now is a lecture from someone on what is right or wrong about a blog post. Ben just called off a wedding when he had proposed to me more than two years ago. When he told my Dad he would take care of me for the rest of our lives. When people, especially my parents, had invested tens of thousands of dollars into this wedding. This blog post is a drop in the sea. I am heartbroken and ashamed beyond belief, and need to heal in my own way. I have done all that I could over the past year to be supportive and loving and positive for Ben. And I can assure you that he would only want the same for me now.

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  20. Ali, my thoughts, prayers and hopes go out to you. Your strength is remarkable and admirable. As you said, you still have your dreams; I hope they bring you the happiness you so richly deserve. God bless!

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  21. I am so sorry for what you are experiencing. While reading your post, I felt your heavy heavy heart and felt such sadness. Seven years ago, after planning a destination wedding for a whole year, while going to grad school and working full time, I called off my wedding – 3 days prior. It was the most horrific, gut-wrenching decision I’ve had to make yet. I wasn’t what I wanted, it wasn’t what he wanted, but the reality was we weren’t in a good place (fighting all the time and never on the same page) and I didn’t want to be newlyweds and unhappy. My matron-of-honor did the work of calling the guests, which helped immensely; I don’t think you should be the one doing that. It’s way too painful. At the time, I was so distraught and everything was so surreal. I moved back home with my parents, in a different state, thousands of miles from my old life. I remember waking up every morning for months and feeling my stomach tighten up in knots as I re-realized each day we had not gotten married, we were separated and I was living a totally different life. Fast forward a year, we attempted to re-unite, I got pregnant and we now have three beautiful little girls and we have been married for four years. When we decided to get married the second time around, we told no one but the couple who would be our witnesses, until three days prior. We told our closest family and friends and had a totally impromptu and intimate wedding that was very special. Obviously, you don’t know what the future holds, but I hope to reassure you whatever it is, you will find happiness and it will work out. These next few months, perhaps even a year will be hard, maybe even really freaking hard. It remains part of your life’s adventure and will change and challenge you – but will not break you. I’ve been reading your blog for a good year and a half and you are a beautiful person, smart and interesting. You will be ok. I think you know that. Good luck…and keep on…xoxo

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  22. Congrats on your courage to put this out there. Now, I realize I am only hearing one side of the story, but it strikes me that “B” is being less than brave in his actions. Other thought: better this happen now, not later, it gets a lot more complicated should a house and child be added to the mix. I once wrote about Jeff Bridges and his 35-year marriage, and I think his words still ring true: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wakeupcall/2013/12/the-dude-on-finding-true-love/
    It takes effort and commitment for a relationship to work…and it has to come from both parties. I hope you get to a better place soon. ~Tom

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  23. My deepest condolences! Something similar happened to a friend of mine. While I am sure the money is not the thing you are most worried about, I wanted to let you know that my friend was able to recoup some of her vendor deposits by selling them to other people. I don’t remember which company she used (there are a few online), but it helped take some of the stress off of her (and her parents). She ended up finding the man of her dreams a year later… I am sure you will find yours too! I am praying for you.

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  24. Hi Ali,

    I have been a regular follower of your blog for a while now and I always love seeing your beautiful pictures and stories of your travels and adventures around Amsterdam. You have always seemed like such a very interesting and wonderful person. I was so, so sorry to see this post come up and it actually hurt me to read the open and honest poignancy of your words. It was very brave of you to share that with everyone and as you said if it could help someone else in a similar situation. I cannot imagine how you are feeling right now. I am sure that your family and friends who were expecting to attend your wedding will only want to help you get through this any way they can. I think it is amazing that you are able to feel and so eloquently write about who you are as an individual even while just at the beginning of going through this. Please know that many people out there are thinking about you and wish you only the best.

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  25. What can I say that hasn’t been said already? My heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine what you must be going through, but I have a feeling there are a lot of good solid folks out there that are here to listen and help you. Keep talking to them. Being alone is important, I know, but don’t let all that pain stay inside – journalling can be nourishing, too. Big hug from Thailand.

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  26. Sweet Ali. I found your blog and wanted to let you know that I “get” everything that you’ve expressed. We love you, we care about you and we support you. Would love to see you and give you a huge hug! With deep compassion and love. Auntie J.

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  27. I’m so sorry to read this. I hope it’s not annoying of me to comment, since I don’t know you; I just like your blog. I know what it feels like to have a broken heart; not particularly helpful, but you definitely aren’t alone in your sadness. I hope it’s not weird and creepy to say that you have a stranger supporting and praying for you from halfway around the world. I know there are amazing and beautiful things in your future!
    -Stephanie

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  28. Sending you big hugs from afar. I’ve enjoyed your blog, having once lived in NL and knowing the fun of it all. Having also experienced the heartache you’re now enduring, I know you will be ok. Just do whatever you have to do to get through it…start with one hour at a time, then one day at a time, then one week at a time, etc. Until then, more big hugs.

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  29. Ps, This can be hard, but you just worry about you right now, not Ben. It’s time to look after yourself and be kind to yourself. Doesn’t matter what Ben said, or how, or where why, because that’s for him to deal with. It’s all about you and your family and friends now.

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  30. Ali I am so sorry this happened. I send you big warm hugs. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or feels at this point because it doesn’t really matter. This is about you healing and working through this and anyone who is a real friend or family member will only want to help you and not talk behind your back. You are an amazing person and you will find happiness again.

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  31. I absolutely didn’t know about this. I mean I was out of blogverse for sometime and when I got back, I had assumed things… I am really sorry about what happened.

    As someone who has been left at the altar, and also who thinks you are an incredibly talented person, I believe things always get better with time. What happened was bad, but it will not always be so. I was myself dumped on the cusp of wedding in 2012, and it was not much fun because…well… I think I should have read the signs early. The point is, you will be great because… well… because you are good!

    Its more important to be good than to be fine ( sounds weird.. but you know what I mean )

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    • Thank you for sharing your story. I have found it such a comfort to hear from so many amazing people form all around the world who have been in similar situations. Don’t blame yourself for not reading the signs. Truly as humans all we can hope to do is love and be loved in return. It’s not in our nature to doubt love, and if we did, I don’t think it would be worth loving. I hope you are right in that things will not always be bad. they are getting better already and I really hope that 6 months, a year, or two years from now (whenever, really) I can look back and say, ‘aha! that’s why this happened!’ :) I hope you’ve perhaps come to the same conclusion too? x

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      • It does help to know that others have seen such days as well, doesn’t it? Although it did shoot down my why-did-you-do-this-to-me-God syndrome, but I don’t mind. It is as if suddenly you have the good wishes ( and inspirational stories ) of so many people.

        Thank you for saying the most…precise thing ever. It is not in our nature to doubt love. More so when you believe in it the way we did. It is going to take time- I tried making it quick, and failed of course. We do however have a choice vis-a-vis the direction. I believe such remarkable events are more like an opportunity- whether we want it or not- to reinvent ourselves ( which echoes all over the first part of breakup post ), almost as if I want to kill that version of mine and come up with something better.

        Absolutely. Years down the line, you sort of look at things objectively. Since the incident is fresh in your memory right now, there are a lot of emotions involved and you probably can not see things clearly as to why this happened. You will, in some time. In that sense, you are doing the right thing- keeping yourself super busy!

        You will thank yourself ( or God, if you believe in him ).

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