There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away…”

-Ecclesiates 3: 1, 6

When I saw Iyanla Vanzant speak in New Orleans this summer, she made a statement that still makes my heart skip. To paraphrase, she said that we should never stay where we don’t want to be just because you’ve convinced yourself that you have nowhere to go. She also said to never fail to tell the truth about yourself as soon as possible.

With that in mind, I am single again. It took just over three hours to end a relationship that lasted for just over three years. The man I thought I was going to marry is now, at best, a pleasant acquaintance.

My former boyfriend is by no means a monster. Far from it. He’s actually very kind, has a lovely sense of humor and is a big dreamer who will ultimately succeed in accomplishing his calling. I wish him well on his journey. However, I will no longer be joining him on his path.

Perhaps I’ll get to watch from afar and cheer him on from the sidelines. We may even become great friends. Even so it can no longer go beyond that.

The decision to break up an outwardly successful relationship is never an easy one. We fought like hell to keep it together and keep up appearances. The pressure we placed upon ourselves to “make it” was heavy. At one point we were even researching wedding venues. In the effort to be the “new power couple,” at least in our own minds, we both tolerated and accepted less than what we deserved from one another.

However, in a moment of clarity during an argument that had occurred many times before, I realized that no one wants to be constantly told that they’re not doing enough by anyone, let alone their future spouse. It was a constant struggle to be enough on both ends. It beat the life out of us, both individually and within our relationship.

So, now that I was clear on this I had a choice to make. I made the choice to lay down the sword and walk away rather than waste his and my time fighting what was a losing battle. It crushed me, but I’d rather deal with a breakup now than a divorce including 2.5 kids later. No relationship can sustain such turmoil without falling apart, and even if it did it’d be a miserable one.

So, why share this with you? Why let you in on the messiest part of my year?

First of all, I want you to know that it’s okay to have your messy moments so long as you learn the lessons within them. None of us are perfect, even the ones who appear to have it together.

Secondly, if there is one thing I want you to get out of this, be aware that it’s okay to honor your worth, walk away and start over.

So often we stay in relationships, friendships, jobs and situations that are killing our spirit because we’re afraid of the unknown. To leave would mean stepping into an unexplored frontier and possibly smashing our lives as we know it to smithereens. We’d rather stick with the devil we know rather than experience the crippling uncertainty that comes with newfound freedom. However, how does that level of martyrdom serve anyone?

It doesn’t.

In my case, the terror of being in a relationship where both my spouse and  are irreconcilably miserable is far greater than my fear of being single into my late twenties, early thirties and beyond. I’m finally letting go of the idea that I have to have my love life figured out while I’m “young,” and instead choosing to learn to truly and unapologetically love myself first, because it is from that love that I’ll be able to love someone else and ask for the love that I truly want, need and deserve.

Starting over again seems daunting, surreal. I swore that I’d have a ring on my finger by now.

But I don’t. And I’m okay with that.

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