The view from here
"I know that hundreds of thousands of people go through break ups every day but as naive as this sounds, I did not expect this to happen to me. Not at this point in my life, not with this guy, the one I thought I would spend my future with."
I assume that some of you know the feeling when you think you have your whole life planned out magically (well to a rough extent anyway). You've put a lot of effort, thoughts and emotions into this planning phase and miraculously things actually seem to work out and fall into place…?!
I know that there are people out there that are worried about a "too good to be true" kind of scenario.
I usually wouldn't count myself to that group. I am naturally a “glass half full kind of person”. However, on a very beautiful, hot and sunny morning back in August this year, I was more blindsided than I've ever been before.
Right up until this day in August I was pretty much in love with my life, floating on a sweet cloud of blissfulness until it all came crashing down with a Skype call from the love of my life who decided, after being apart from me for 2 months, to end our almost 6 year relationship over the phone.
I heard what he was saying but I wasn't getting it. Have you ever had this experience? I did hear the words that came out of his mouth but I couldn't make sense of their meaning.
Up until this day my life had been magical. It had been so freaking great that I was sometimes too scared to cross the road in fear of getting run over with my thoughts on the sidewalk sounding something like "Don't you dare get yourself killed right now and waste this magical fucking future that's ahead of you". I did feel like the world was my oyster, like everything was possible and that I could turn all my dreams into reality if only I’d believed in them and kept working hard enough. I'm not sure what it looked like from the outside looking in but from the inside looking out there were bloody unicorns skipping over rainbows everywhere.
I mean, I was in a happy relationship (at least that’s what I thought) with a guy I loved more than anyone else in this world, I had an amazing group of friends, a loving family, I was healthy and so was everyone else I cared about, I had built an amazing life for myself in New Zealand, worked out a flexible working arrangement with my New Zealand employer which allowed me the "personal freedom" I’d been dreaming of and working hard towards for so long - things seemed great. At least until we got to Germany.
My flexible working arrangement allowed me to work remotely from home which meant I could finance our lives over there while being flexible enough to fit in some Europe travel and spend quality time with my family and friends. All while having Nick round 24/7 which was a great new experience in itself as our busy full-time jobs back in NZ never left us with much time to spend together. Things seemingly continued to go our way in the beginning. Unfortunately, Nick's work visa was denied in June which meant he had to go back to New Zealand for three months before he could return to Europe.
We were gutted, frustrated and upset with German immigration and the strain that authorities and governments put on international relationships in general.
To be honest, after this blow, I did question our decision to move to Germany but knowing that our plan had been to settle in NZ all along, I was now only more convinced that this was the right thing for us to do. When Nick left to fly back to NZ, I was almost excited to wrap things up in Germany. I thought I could just use the next three months to make the most of my time back home and by the time September rolled around, Nick and I could spend three additional months of traveling around Europe and then celebrate a white winter Christmas with my family before returning to New Zealand summer in January - sounds magical right?! Things seemed perfect yet again!
I still find it hard to comprehend that one phone call could change all this. Within less than a minute my whole future disappeared in front of me and all the plans I thought were real were sucked into a black hole of uncertainty.
How can it be that you love someone so much and share your whole life and everything you are with them and for all these years they do the same. They’ve shared their life and these same feelings for you and with you and then all of a sudden they wake up one day and decide that they feel different about you. How can that be?!
How do you accept such a life changing decision you had absolutely no influence on?!
I still love him. My feelings towards him haven't changed and my life plans haven't changed either, yet my whole life has without me being able to do anything about it. I feel like I never even got the chance to fix what he felt was broken. By the time I found out he had already made up his mind. How can that be fair?! Well it isn't but what are you going to do about it?!
I guess throughout all the "us" and "we" and the sharing every single inch of your life with each other it's almost easy to forget that you are still two individual people. And that's both the beauty and the tragedy of human relationships. Finding someone that loves you as much as you love them is literally the most magical feeling in the world. A feeling of almost ecstatic happiness. By far one of the greatest emotions on this planet. On the contrary, having someone else's feelings towards you suddenly change or disappear is one of the most devastating and heartbreaking feelings and the degree of helplessness you experience when this happens is so crippling, it feels like you might as well stop existing.
It’s basically like that stupid saying along the lines of “when things go too well shit is bound to hit the fan”. Well it did. Shit did not just hit the fan, but my whole life instead was completely covered in the biggest mountain of shit you could possibly imagine. And this humongous mountain of shit came out of freaking nowhere covering every single inch of me and my magical life. Rainbows gone, unicorns dead… black clouds swallowing up my bright and magical future never to be seen again.
At that point I had exactly two options. Cry endless amounts of tears, wallow in self pity, think suicidal (death seems like a sweet relief in comparison to the physical and emotional pain I'm experiencing right now) thoughts, go round in endless negative thought spirals (yes this is all still part of option #1) or, option #2, get on with it.
Well I did opt for option #1 for quite a while. I was in so much pain both physically and emotionally, I could hardly function. I was scared to go to sleep and afraid to wake up again as I felt like I couldn't face another day of feeling the way I did. Ask my friends, they are witnesses of the lowest low I've experienced so far in my life and I couldn't be more grateful for their endless support and encouragement. They were there throughout the bad and the ugly, kneeling right next to me in the shit, keeping my head above water.
This went on for weeks until I decided I couldn't feel this way anymore. I wasn't myself, I didn't like who I’d become and this depressed version of myself certainly didn't make anything better.
I am usually a pretty proactive kind of person and while I couldn't make him take me back, I knew I could not sit in Germany, on the other side of the world, and "just get on with life". I knew I had to fly back to New Zealand and face the hard truth. I was ready to step into the arena and fight for my love and my life.
The 34-hour journey (even though I had completed it multiple times before over the past 6 years) was one of the most emotionally draining ones I'd ever done. Hope is such a powerful emotion but knowing how likely it was to have it ripped away from me all over again, the second I'd step out of the airport, made me consider jumping off the plane to not have to face this potential reality.
The last time I had seen him, kissed him goodbye at the train station, we’d still been together. Right up until then he had been my all, my past, my present and my future.
He was my rock, my anchor. He was this one person I shared absolutely everything with. Being with him made me happy every day. Waking up next to him, coming home to him, sharing my life with him full stop.
Seeing him now, standing there, after almost four months apart, knowing he’d broken up with me, felt so incredibly surreal I had to pinch myself to remind me that this insanely devastating scenario was indeed reality. Hugging him, seeing him, smelling him, getting in the car with him, it all felt so normal, so right. Yet knowing that nothing was like it used to be felt so strange, so awful, so soul crushing, so wrong and surreal it made me want to die.
I did fight for a whole month upon my return to win him back, tried to make sense of the decision he’d made, tried to make him realise what he was giving up and tried to convince both him and myself that whatever caused this break up could be fixed and we could jump back into this magical life I thought we shared. I’d love to tell you that this story has a “happy end” but to make it short, I did not succeed. I lost. It is the biggest loss I’ve faced to date and the hardest one to accept. It still is. I still haven’t completely come to terms with it yet.
I'd consider myself a pretty independent person but it was so hard and strange to all of a sudden make decisions both small and large completely on my own. For almost 6 years I'd run basically every decision by him. Not to get permission but to get his feedback on it and look at it through a different pair of eyes. The pair of eyes I knew would look at the situation with my very best interest at heart.
All of a sudden I felt incapable to decide where I wanted to live, what I should be doing for Christmas, if I should go back home for a visit or stay in NZ, if I should go traveling or keep working, if I should find a place of my own or move in with flatmates… literally every decision from what should I have for breakfast to what should I do with my life. No matter how many hours I spent mulling them over in my head or how many days I’d discuss the billion potential outcomes with my family and closest friends, any of these decisions seemed impossible to actually make.
People have told me before that “breakups are worse than deaths”. I get this now. It’s like the person you’ve shared everything with, all of a sudden seems dead to you because they’ve decided not to be with you anymore.
What makes it even worse is that you know they are still there but you just can’t be with them anymore. So they are dead to you but then again not really. How do you deal with this?!
You also miss so much more than just this one person, you miss all their friends and their family who have become your friends and your family, especially when you are living on the other side of the world...
He was my main purpose for being in New Zealand. I'm still not sure that I can actually live a life here on my own, without being with him. He is everywhere. There is not a single thing about New Zealand that doesn't remind me of him. He brought me here, he showed me everything, the life I built here I built with him.
And still, even now that I know that he doesn't want to be with me anymore, there is still so much of my old life left over here. The life I've been building over the past 5 years. Even if you take him out of the equation (and all his friends and family members), I still have other friends here that are so close to my heart, I still got my job, I still have this feeling that NZ, after all, does feel like home to me.
Of course it would make sense from an outside perspective if I'd just pack everything up and go back home to Germany and start over there. However, the truth is that I have to start over on either side, but being in NZ right now, as hard as it is to face the brutal reality of suddenly living over here on my own, still feels like the right place to be. And Germany will always be there. I can always decide to go back if things over here don't work out. But for now, I think, I will battle it out. I will work through all the shitty emotions and try to carry on. Being a usual “glass half full kind a girl”, I’ve realised that I have to switch back into getting shit sorted mode - find some (even if it’s the dirtiest and murkiest) water to fill my shitty glass of water back up.
Instead of the shiny crystal glass my life used to be, it feels now more like a shitty mason jar but oh well what can you do…
My feelings and thoughts still change at least daily, sometimes even on an hourly basis. I’m skipping back and forth between optimism and absolute devastation.
My thoughts still alternate between the highs and lows of “everything is possible” and “nothing will ever be okay again”. I’m not sure how much longer this will carry on for but I assume there is no “general recovery time estimate” for brokenheartedness. There is not much that comforts me right now. The devastation about the fact that I lost both the love of my life and my entire future that was built on the assumption of spending my life with him, is still all consuming.
The only thing that tends to comfort me at times is the fact that, even though I lost, at least I know I tried. I did give it my all. I gave it all my heart and soul and I fought for everything we had and everything we were and no one can ever take this away from me. I will at least forever know, that even though I failed, I did not give up easily. I fought with all that I am and all that I have until I realised that there was nothing left I could possibly fight for right now. Who knows what the future brings. For now I just need to have faith that whatever is meant to be will be.
Life punched me in the face so hard, I did not expect it and literally landed face down in the mud. Fuck that. It sucked. And it hurt. And it still does. But everything happens for a reason right? That's what they all tell us anyway. Well it bloody well better. If the amount of unicorns skipping over rainbows doesn't at least double in my future life I'll feel cheated. Until then, I’ll just try and take things day by day, step by step, in search of a new magical future that better be revealing itself soon ;)
Author - Natalie Gruner
A travel girl at heart, Nat co-created Travelher and is currently working in New Zealand with plans for Europe in December. She looks forward to 2017 and all the possibilities it has to offer.