Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). You can read my full disclosure policy here.
On this supposedly romantic weekend, I’m sharing with you an anti-love story. I’m not bitter. At most I’m ambivalent to this Hallmark holiday. In fact, I’m a romantic at heart. I just don’t like the mass commercialization that comes with this day. I believe in celebrating love and a relationship if I’m in one, every day.
Contrary to popular belief just because you run a blog it doesn’t mean your life is an open book. In fact, it makes you even more careful what you put about yourself out there. I know I’ve been trying to put more of me and my personality into what I share here but to be honest it’s really hard. Naturally, I am a very private person so this post is so hard for me, but it’s something that’s been on my mind for awhile. I’ve written and rewritten this post over and over again, trying to make to make it perfect, but I don’t think I can ever achieve that so here goes:
Last summer, my Hungarian boyfriend and I broke up. There was no argument, no major disagreement. We were still in love, well at least I was. But we broke up none the less.
I made a passing mention of it in my 2014 recap post but hadn’t openly discussed it. I needed time. Time to process. Time to fall out of love. Time to get comfortable with the idea of no more us. Just me. Just him.
We broke up because it was the most adult choice. We were at an impasse with neither one able to make the leap. He didn’t want to move to Canada. I didn’t want to move back to Hungary where I had so little options when it came to finding work.
So we did the adult thing.
We talked about it and made the difficult choice. I fought the idea for the longest time, but after thinking about it for a long time it made sense. It was the only option.
We had exhausted every other possible solution except one.
Seeing each other every six months or so is not the way to developing a strong relationship. We were growing apart, little by little. I had my own life in Vancouver. He had his in Budapest. Certainly, we chatted every day, but PMs can only go so far. Same with Skype.
Falling in love abroad has its rewards and challenges.
It is true what they say about developing relationships when abroad though. It really is a great way of understanding another culture and of learning another language. I was put in situations that otherwise, an expat wouldn’t be privy to. I learned more about the Hungarian culture than I thought possible. Someone to explain the intricacies of a culture and behaviours that otherwise baffled me. Of course, that wasn’t what started me on this journey, but as I look back, it’s important to see the good in the relationship.
However, our cultural differences were also the root of many arguments and miscommunication, especially as we headed into a long distance relationship. Sometimes the things I said and did completely baffled him and vice versa.
But one thing that has remained constant through this all is my love for travel and for exploring the world. So I threw myself into it.
Even if travel can’t repair your heart, it can numb the pain for awhile.
The break up happened not long before I headed on my road trip around Oregon. During that 8 day trip, I threw myself into it, forcing myself to be happy. Using it as a distraction.
And you know what? It worked. Sure, maybe in a way you’re running away from the problem and that eventually you’ll still have to face it, but filling yourself with positive memories in the meantime can’t hurt. It gets you out of the house. It stops you from wallowing and falling into a pit of self-pity.
At the same time, It reminded me that I had a great group of friends, I was independent and that I’m fine on my own. All things that I had pre-break up when he was thousand of kilometers away.
Get busy and focus on something that you’re passionate about.
This breakup was unique in that I was already living a fairly independent life without him. It was just a matter of redoubling my efforts and focusing on my passion projects without any distractions.
So I threw myself into my blog. I completed a redesign and slight rebrand during this time. Writing was therapy. I wrote a lot during that time period (most of which went unpublished, but that’s okay). I picked up some freelance work.
I filled my time with other projects and endeavours. Yes, they were distractions, but they also helped me move on. I started dreaming up new projects ideas. I started exercising even more than I did before. I got involved with a volunteer organization that I was passionate about. I tried new things – like paddleboarding! All in the effort of rediscovering who I was.
Surround yourself with positive people
My friends were great during this time period. There was not one weekend where I stayed home to wallow. Instead, I was over at friend’s houses or out enjoying a meal. Surrounding myself with laughter and the positive energy that my friends radiate. Even my friends abroad were there for me, offering support and Skype chats at all hours of the day whenever I needed to talk.
Having closure really helps regardless of the situation.
We broke up despite already having planned to see each other in Hong Kong in a couple months time. In many ways I was dreading seeing him. What if it was awkward? What if it was like no time had passed? So many what ifs.
In the end, it wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be and it provided some sort of closure. It provided an opportunity to talk in person. To have a proper end. Not to mention we had the opportunity to create more happy travel memories together that outweigh all the sadness.
Through it all, remember to have faith in the future.
It’s hard letting go. Of the past. Of the possible future. One of the most difficult things to wrap my head around was having faith for the future – that there is someone else out there for me. I believe that there is no one person that you’re destined to be with, that you come across multiple people in your life that you are compatible with and it’s up to you to figure it out and make it work. It is in this that I must trust as I head into the future and start to date again.
As I write this, I’m comforted by the fact that time has allowed me to heal. Time has allowed me to move on. I’m happy that I can write this tear free – a true sign that the hurt has disappeared and I’m only left with all the good memories of our time together.
I’m loving this essay from Hannah at Eat Sleep Breathe Travel on Being a Girl Who Travels which is so empowering. I am truly looking forward to what the future has in store for me. Hopefully, it’s lots and lots of travel opportunities!
How do you get over a break-up? Do you think travel is a good way of healing wounds?
P.S. If you are in the loving mood, check out these Unusual Love Lock Locations & read about how I celebrated Valentine’s Day last year – very different from this year!
If you’re new to Pack Me To, welcome! Stay on top of my adventures on Facebook and follow me on Twitter & Instagram.
Katrina Elisabet says
I’ve found it difficult to write too much about my personal life on my blog, also. I started opening up more at the first of the year, though, and have noticed an increase in site participation and viewership. I applaud you for sharing some of your personal life with us! Breakups are never easy, and your situation was especially unique and difficult. I never handled breakups well. If I’d had the money to travel, it probably would’ve helped me cope and work through them better.
It’s hard to figure out the right combination of personal and interesting, but not too personal that it turns people off. I’m still trying to figure it out for myself! I agree that it definitely gives great opportunity to connect with others though.
Oh how beautiful and sad at the very same time. The adult thing is sometimes such a huge sucky thing huh! You offer some wonderful advice, that I may even take myself. I see my husband every 23 days and its so hard to know what to do between day 1 and 23. I applaud you for being so honest and open. Love and hugs from Croatia.
Oh yikes! That’s really tough. I wouldn’t know how to handle that either, but at least you have your adorable little one to adore in between. 🙂
I can’t even imagine how difficult being in a long distance relationship is. I think there needs to be a future promise that one person will move in order for it to work. I’m so sorry to hear that it didn’t work out, but also happy for you that you’ve got such a supportive group of people to see you through it. I think the best way is to stay busy too and fill up the time with positive memories. I believe too that there’s no one soulmate. Sending you love and wishing you the happiest future! 🙂
Agreed. I don’t think I could enter into another long distance relationship. It’s way too hard, but if I do, there needs to be a determined end date. Not that in between stage of uncertainty that does no one any good. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for me!
Laia | colibrist says
Doing the adult choice is hard, and realizing that loving is not enough to keep a relation going, is also hard. So sad that it did not work for you, but happy that you managed to stay positive and heal 🙂
I also admire you for this post! I try to be personal in my blog because I believe that is what makes blogs different from travel guides, but there is one thing I do not tell about.. my love life (I am single now but well, I have a past).
Wish you all the best for the future!
Thanks Laia! It’s such a depressing thought to think that just love is not enough and there needs to me so much more into the complicated cocktail that makes up a relationship. The response to this post has been incredible so I’m going to try and open up more personally in the next few months. I don’t know how much (if any) I’ll share about my love life in the future though!
Oof – your story is a heart-wringer, and cheers to finding a healing process that works for you. It’s also refreshing to see honesty and openness; thank you for sharing your story! Not sure if I should add this last part, but… after thinking I’d closed my chapter on teaching abroad and wanting to settle down, I met my husband… who was completely open to going abroad with me. (I wasn’t even looking for someone like that.) Life is funny! Wishing you peace and happiness. Xx
Thanks for reading Em and for sharing your story! This whole process has helped me on my journey to finding my future partner hopefully. I’ve learned a lot about myself and relationships in general. I can’t way for whatever adventure comes up next 🙂
Phoebe @ Lou Messugo says
You write beautifully about such a difficult and sad subject. Multicultural relationships are hard work and I’m sorry yours didn’t work out. It souds as though you’ve dealt with it very well though.
Thanks so much Phoebe. Agreed, relationships take a lot of work and when you throw in different cultures it adds even more complexity.
Hi Adelina, thank you for sharing your story. I know it’s not an easy subject to share. I think you’re doing the rights things to move on. Does traveling heal wounds? Absolutely, especially because it’s something that you’re passionate about and that traveling makes you discover yourself more. It may still hurt right now but that too shall pass. Trust that the right person will come at the right time. If he’s the one, you’ll know. It will feel so natural, no complication. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you healing and happiness
Thanks Marisol 🙂 Travel has definitely helped me a lot in the past with dealing with break ups. It provides a great distraction and plenty of opportunity to learn about yourself.
Amy @ the tide that left says
Keeping busy, challenged, motivated, whether by travel or other means is a great way to recover from the end of a relationship. You feel empowered because you’ve tried new things, and you’re reminded (if you need to be) that you hold value outside of your relationship. I can imagine it must have been hard saying goodbye to someone you love, but it sounds like you dealt with it all the best way possible.
Exactly. Those are the best ways of moving on. It can be a bit of tough love for awhile, but in the end, its for the better. Thanks for reading Amy!
Really enjoyed this post- I think you put it perfectly when you said “have faith in the future”. Through past heartbreak, this is the one line that I wish someone would have told me! It’s strange because the future seems like this great unknown thing, but at one point, the future will become our present and we all have to trust in ourselves when this time comes.
Thanks Cynthia! Sometimes during break ups and the end of a relationship, you cling too much onto the past that you never look towards the future. It’s hard to keep that perspective when the world is falling apart. It’s definitely scary holding onto the unknown though, but you just have to trust yourself.
“Letting go of the possible future” – I had never thought of break-ups that way but you are so right. Letting go of the past is so much easier – you know what you have lost – but letting go of the future; that’s hard.
There are so many what ifs. I had let myself imagine beyond the present and having to let go of that was really hard.
This was such a wonderfully written piece Adelina! I remember talking about it when we were in Olympia and sometimes the hardest thing is the right thing. It’s rare to have relationships end on a good note but this was something completely out of yours and his control and it sounded like you were very mature about the situation. LDR are so tough and somebody has to make a huge sacrifice for it to work. Big hug and looking forward to what 2015 brings you!
Thanks Samantha 🙂 It was a tough decision, but looking back it was definitely the right one.
I find it rather difficult sharing about my personal life on my blog. I choose not to because the pessimist in me has already pictured having a hard time answering people’s questions if anything ever goes wrong. A break up is hard and public break ups are even worse.
Thanks for sharing, I’m glad you’re getting over the break up.
When I started my blog he was already in my life and he made it into a lot of my previous posts so I felt like there needed to be some closure for both me and whoever has been following along. I’m not sure how I’m going to approach it when I do start dating someone new. They probably won’t get mentioned for a good long while.
Thanks for sharing this, Adelina. You are such a positive person, and you’re doing all the right things. The older I get, the more I believe that everything will fall into place at the right time. It allows me to be happier in life, and to be more open to new experiences. Before I met my husband, I threw myself into a lot activities. Then a friend that I met through my dance group set me up with a guy that I ended up marrying. Life has so many surprises, and you never know what tomorrow brings.
Thanks Nanette and for sharing your story 🙂 I’m hopefully that something will pop up eventually.
Thanks for this wonderfully honest post. I dated my now-wife for two years long distance, and it definitely wasn’t easy. What got us through is that we knew we’d eventually be living in the same place again, and I definitely don’t take that for granted.
Thanks for reading Lola. I agree. I would be very hesitant to ever get back into a long distance relationship given this experience. That said, I do believe they can work if there is an end date for the long distance. A time where you know for sure you can be together.
Props to you for opening up with something so personal on your blog! I struggle with that myself. I’m not even comfortable with posting a picture of myself without my face being somewhat covered.
I did long distance with boyfriend for a year and it was really hard but at least we knew there would be an end to the distance. I can’t imagine how tough it would have been for you, never knowing when the long distance part of your relationship would end! I’m glad you were able to focus on projects to help with the break up blues!
Thanks Bryna – yea opening up is always difficult, but I think you write a lot of good pensive posts. Always easier to connect with those kind of things.
You’re right when you say you need an end in sight. We didn’t have that make it so difficult. I don’t think I’d be willing to do long distance again especially without an end date to look forward to.
I think the hardest kind of breakups are the ones where you still care about it other, but life just won’t let it work. But making your life awesome is the best way to move on – and you’ve definitely got that down.
Yes! That’s the best way of putting it. Making life awesome 🙂
I’m glad that you were able to share your story with us on your blog, but of course I would completely understand if you chose to keep all of this private! It’s hard to know what to share and what not to share sometimes. I think that the end goal is to be happiest in life, and if it wasn’t working out, what you did was best. It’s hard to make the long distance thing work. I wish you all the best for the future!! 🙂
Thanks Lauren! It’s definitely a fine line to walk when it comes to sharing things on a more personal nature. I’m hopeful for the future too 🙂
Lyn - A Hole in my Shoe says
Adelina, it is always hard to know how much of our personal lives to share, but you wrote that beautifully and honestly. I know just how difficult it is to break up with someone you love at the time. I am sure you will enjoy your travels and when the time is right meet the one for you.
Thanks so much for your kind words Lyn. I’m hopeful for the future too 🙂