When a relationship ends, it hurts.
But that’s not supposed to happen anymore once he slides that ring on your finger. Once you’re engaged, there’s no more heartbreak. No more nasty shocks. No more loneliness, ever again.
For as many as 20% of engaged women, that myth is just a fairy tale.
According to a survey conducted for TIME, 20% of single adults broke off an engagement within the last 3 years.
Rachel Safier in There Goes the Bride: Making Up Your Mind, Calling it Off and Moving On says the number of failed engagements is closer to 15%.
Whether 1 in 5 engagements are broken or 3 in 20, it doesn’t matter. That’s still a LOT.
But what might surprise you is that these broken engagements aren’t leaving broken hearts behind.
One survey found that over 80% of people didn’t regret how things turned out. The vast majority – 92% – of them didn’t blame themselves.
Founder of Quit Dating Idiots, Laura Forbes, shared a real-life example of this on her blog.
One of Laura’s best friends was unceremoniously dumped seven months before her wedding day.
Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she decided to take a trip on her own … and had the adventure of a lifetime.
Here’s her story in her own words.
Heartbreak to Happy Ending
“Seven months before our wedding day, my fiancé and partner of seven years told me he couldn’t go through with the wedding because he’d had a change of heart and didn’t feel ready to settle down.
We were supposed to be getting married abroad, so everything was already booked and paid for. Telling my family and friends the wedding was off was the most heartbreaking and humiliating thing I’ve ever had to do.
I’d never traveled alone before, but I knew I needed to do something drastic to take my mind off what had happened. So, a few weeks after my whole world had fallen apart, I got on a plane to Thailand by myself.
It was New Year’s Eve. I was sitting in a hotel bar in Thailand, waiting for a taxi, when I checked my social media.
Nothing prepared me for seeing a picture of the man I was supposed to have been marrying with another girl.
From the picture, I could tell this girl was more than just a friend. So, naturally, I clicked on the girl’s profile to investigate.
Her profile was public. I saw she had statuses about the pair of them Christmas shopping together. Her profile picture was a photo of her and my ex in a bar, looking cozy together… taken weeks before, when he was still with me.
I was still staring at my phone in shock and disbelief when my taxi pulled up. Thankfully, I lost wi-fi for the rest of the night.
A couple of days later, still in a daze of raw emotion, I went to one of the Buddhist temples. I felt really sad and wandered into a temple where everyone was chanting and praying. I went in and got on my knees and just sat there.
After about five minutes, the strangest thing happened. I felt a ridiculous wave of calmness and peace wash over me. I hadn’t felt that way in weeks. It was the most incredible feeling.
It was like a profound realization that I didn’t need to be sad anymore and that my life wasn’t over just because someone decided they didn’t want to be with me anymore.
In that moment I knew that my life would go on and that I’d be okay.
After a year of traveling and being single, I was enjoying life. I was surrounded by supportive friends and family, and traveling on my own had boosted my confidence.
I’d done things I’d never dreamed of, like traveling to Australia on my own and doing a skydive—which I did on the day I was supposed to have been getting married. I felt the need to do something symbolic that day. I also got a tattoo of a phoenix rising from the ashes.
I knew what I wanted in life, and it wasn’t too long before I met someone I liked. He was in a similar boat to me—we were both content and happy with our single lives and had both experienced heartbreak.
We took things slow to begin with, but whenever we did talk of the future, I made it clear that if I was ever to get married, I didn’t want a long engagement. Because of what happened previously, I knew I’d be an anxious wreck.
We’d been dating for two years, and I thought we were just on our way out to an anniversary dinner. We walked into a beautiful building where the inside was all lit up with candles.
Before I realized what was happening, he stopped, got down on one knee, and proposed to me.
It was like a scene from a movie, and I couldn’t have been happier.
After I said, “YES!” he told me that he’d booked and paid for the venue (so that I’d know he was definitely going to go through with it!) and that in six months to the day, we would get married in this exact spot.
When my ex-fiancé walked out on me, I was absolutely devastated. I mean, I was a broken woman. The life I’d imagined and invested in for seven years was taken away.
But I can honestly say I would go through all that pain and heartache again—ten times over—to have what I have today.
Sometimes the life we think we want is nothing compared to what the Universe has in store for us. The only thing we can do is let go and trust.”
This true story originally appeared on Quit Dating Idiots.