‘He was a good person, he just wasn’t my person’. How Annie knew it was over

‘He was a good person, he just wasn’t my person’. How Annie knew it was over

There is no single reason why humans fall in love but the main causes of relationship breakdown are a little more clear-cut. According to a survey by Australian Family Lawyers, the most common reasons for divorce are communication problems and infidelity, abusive behaviours and external pressures, including financial, mental and physical health issues.

Making the decision to walk away from a relationship is never easy and it can look different for every person.

Making the decision to walk away from a relationship is never easy and it can look different for every person.Credit: Stocksy

Early signs of relationship breakdown often appear long before a decision to separate is made. These include no longer doing things together, recurring arguments, one partner spending increasing amounts of time on interests and activities outside the relationship, and a loss of warmth and intimacy.

Making the decision to walk away from a relationship is never easy, and the journey to independence can look different for every person.

Here, three women share the moment they realised their relationship was over.


“He was a good person; he just wasn’t my person”

Annie Medwin, a 33-year-old marketing manager, called off her engagement six months before her wedding day so that she and her partner could find “true love” elsewhere.

After calling off her engagement, Annie Medwin felt a sense of relief.

After calling off her engagement, Annie Medwin felt a sense of relief.

“Ever since I was a little girl I believed the greatest achievement anyone could have in life would be to find a good man, get married, have children and build a family home. I’m not sure why I believed these steps completed a life, but when my partner of six years proposed, I was convinced that marriage was the next step I was supposed to take. There was definitely a negative feeling in my stomach, but I couldn’t place the what, where and why.

In the lead-up to the wedding there was much excitement and planning, but every day we stepped closer towards the date the universe showed me things I hadn’t seen before. One night, we went out to dinner with my best friend and partner and everything suddenly became clear as I observed the way they were with each other. My fiancé was a good man, but this couple exuded a love and tenderness that I hadn’t yet experienced and I realised we didn’t laugh together the way they did.

That was when I knew that we both deserved to have this, and that I would need to walk away in order for us to someday find it with other people.

Loading

I had a few weeks of soul-searching before I mustered up the courage to tell him that I didn’t want to marry him. The moment was horrific; like I said, he was a great person who hadn’t done anything wrong, but he just wasn’t my person. I moved out as soon as I could. I didn’t want to fight because I knew how much I had hurt him.

The aftermath of the break-up was intense. There’s obviously pain and sadness, but the overarching feeling was relief. I travelled with friends and focused on building my career, but what I really should have done between the end of this relationship and the start (and end) of another serious relationship was to do some work on myself.

In my search to recognise and understand relationship patterns I was creating, and to help other women do the same, I ended up writing a book, How to Survive a Breakup in 7 Days. Every woman going through a break-up needs to know they’re amazing and that while their ex was a temporary bonus reward, the real prize in life is to love and be happy within yourself.”

“I made myself small to make my partner happy and it’s something I’ll never do again”

Joanne Swadling, a 53-year-old business owner, left her 17-year marriage and rediscovered her creative spirit.

Joanne Swadling is remembering who she was before her marriage, and is discovering new passions.

Joanne Swadling is remembering who she was before her marriage, and is discovering new passions.

“I was 28, housebound with chronic fatigue syndrome and living with my mother when I met my ex online. I couldn’t believe he could see past a ‘sick person’ and find potential. But we shared a similar sense of humour and a love of music. We got married in 2006, eight years after we met.

I knew on my wedding day I was doing the wrong thing, but I ignored my intuition. We began experiencing problems in our first year of marriage, but even though I was unhappy I’d tell myself, ‘He doesn’t gamble, he’s not abusive and this is just how marriage works.’ It took me a while to process that ‘he isn’t that bad’ isn’t the healthiest excuse to stay in a relationship.

I couldn’t have a child so I decided to dedicate my energy to launching a business. I started an online store but building resentment around each person’s responsibilities eventually drove a wedge between us. Things came to a head one day when we argued about the positioning of some garbage bins and finally he said the marriage was over. Initially I pretended the conversation never happened, but deep inside I knew it was true. I sought legal and financial advice and walked away several months later.

The first few months on my own were all about survival. When you’ve lived with chronic illness for 30 years, you begin asking questions like: ‘Can I take care of myself? What happens if it gets worse and I can’t drive myself to medical appointments?’

But one thought trumped all others: ‘Don’t spend the next 30 years like you did the last 30.’ I began yoga and meditation at a gym and taking songwriting classes on Zoom. It’s something I realised I’m good at, so now I spend two hours a week at a recording studio being creative. After all these years I’m remembering who I am; I’m getting my voice back.

If I were to offer advice to other women, it would be: know who you are, don’t change and don’t apologise for who you are. If people don’t want to stick around for your true self, that’s their problem, not yours.”

“If anything, this relationship taught me never to ‘settle’ again”

Jenny De Lacy, the 55-year-old founder of Talking Digital and a mother of three, came into her own after leaving her 13-year marriage in 2010.

Jenny De Lacy isn’t saying no to love but is prioritising herself first.

Jenny De Lacy isn’t saying no to love but is prioritising herself first.

“I met my former husband at a wedding in 1997 and we hit it off. Before the postnatal depression and the conversations and arguments about shared responsibility, respective responsibility and who’s doing the work on themselves and who isn’t, we thought we were an excellent match.

My marriage was already strained when my ex and I had the conversation that proved to be the unravelling of our relationship. Motherhood can be tough at the best of times and the relentlessness of looking after our boys, then aged eight, five and four, had taken its toll over the years.

I was scheduled to go into hospital for a hysterectomy, having suffered with adenomyosis after having a tubal ligation the year before. Sitting on the couch with my husband after the boys were in bed, I expressed my terror. I needed him to say something positive and encouraging, but he didn’t.

Loading

It took six months before I brought up my intention to separate. We spoke a few more times, then I wrote him a letter explaining that I was leaving our marriage. I was freaking out when he read it but flooded with relief once he took it on board and moved out.

The first few weeks of separation were about getting the right advice from professionals. Visiting my GP was a practical first step; he paid attention to my health and wellbeing during this period, which I appreciated. I looked for contract work I could fit in around school hours (not easy) and sought legal advice. Aside from that, I focused on getting the boys into a routine. I wanted every night to feel like Friday night, so I moved forward with that mentality.

Within four years of living this way, I really came into my own. I started my own copywriting and digital marketing business, which has gone from strength to strength, and my boys have grown into wonderful men. I dated a little in the beginning but if there’s anything my marriage taught me, it’s that I never want to ‘settle’ again. I’m not saying no to love, but if and when it happens, I’ll be sure to put myself – my business, my interests, living joyously within my own space – first.”

Make the most of your health, relationships, fitness and nutrition with our Live Well newsletter. Get it in your inbox every Monday.

Most Viewed in Lifestyle

Loading

Read More

Laisser un commentaire

Your email address will not be published.