I got engaged to my high school sweetheart right after high school. I’d only dated one other person in my whole life. I was 12 and he was the boy next door. He dumped me for the girl who lived on the other side of him because she was better at tennis than I was. So I don’t think that relationship really counts. I don’t even really remember accepting my fiancée’s proposal. It was just expected that we would get married. And for Christmas the year after we graduated he gave me an engagement ring and I wore it. Our families were close and both my mom and his mom totally took over the wedding planning. It was all a blur to me.
Love My Family
I couldn’t really wrap my head around the idea of forever. When I was only 18. I hadn’t even left the state I was born in but now I was going to be tied to one man, one town, one house, and one future for the rest of my life. But I couldn’t disappoint our families. I love my family and I thought the weight of their disappointment would crush me if I broke the engagement. So, like a good girl, I went along with what I was told. I tried on white dresses for hours until my mother declared one of them was “the one”. I picked out flowers and centerpieces. My mom planned and my dad wrote checks.
But as the wedding got closer I started feeling like the walls were closing in on me. I started having panic attacks. I felt I was being suffocated every time someone mentioned the wedding. It should have been a happy time for me but instead, I felt like I was dying. But still, I couldn’t speak up or tell my fiancée that I wanted to wait to get married. There was so much money already spent and so many people counting on us getting married I couldn’t make myself tell them that I didn’t want to get married.
So I did a terrible thing. At the very last second on the day of the wedding when my family and his family and all our friends were in the church, the church I had been going to all my life, and the pastor who had baptized me was waiting to officiate my wedding I bolted. Just I knew that I would be making the biggest mistake of my life if I walked down that aisle. I called an Uber from my wedding venue and went home and grabbed the suitcase I had packed for our honeymoon and I left. I showed up at my college roommate’s home three states away in my wedding dress crying.
That was several years ago now and some of my family members have started speaking to me again. Others haven’t. It was hard to start over on my own. It was a long road to finding a job, a home, and a life that felt authentic. But it was worth it and I’d do it again because my life now is mine. Don’t ever settle for a relationship that you know in your heart isn’t the one you want forever.
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