Why is it that you always hear or read about messy breakups, sudden breakups, or bored breakups, but you never seem to hear about the one that I now find myself having to go through in a short month? The planned separation, the scheduled separation, the separation that neither of us truly wants to happen but know must?
I have been so fortunate during my time here in Spain to enter into what has so far been the best relationship of my life. I have spent the past one and a half years with a man who has shown me what it means to be respected first and foremost and loved and accepted unconditionally. I have had the luck to share and make incredible, unforgettable moments with him. Moments that I will always cherish.
What’s funny is that I didn’t see it coming, this love story. Do you ever? Any time I spoke of my move to Spain people were trying to marry me off. Constantly. “You’re going to meet a Spanish man and never come back.” “You’ll
probably find a man and have a lot of Spanish babies.” “Watch out for those Spanish guys, they’re going to sweep you off your feet.” It didn’t help that the majority of blogs I found were of girls who had done just that; took off to Spain, found a Spanish man and two or three years later were married.
This always frustrated me more than anyone who said those things realized. My move to Spain was not with the intention of finding a man. In fact, it was the furthest thing from my mind. My move to Spain was with the goal of challenging myself and growing as a young woman while exploring the world.
But I have no regrets about going to that Spanish & American Thanksgiving Day party and meeting the man who would push me to accomplish just that. I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but there was an undeniable pull
between us that was hard to resist. And thankfully I didn’t because it flourished into something so beautiful. After only running into each other one time after that party, we re-connected two months later and haven’t looked back since.
With him, through his inspiring example, I have learned about humility, empathy, generosity, selflessness, true friendship and, though it may not seem so on my end, patience. I have learned what it means to be in a loving and respect-filled relationship. I have learned that arguments are inevitable but do not have to take over and ruin the day. He has shown me that I am worthy of respect and love. He has shown me what true acceptance of another person is. He has shown me what dedication and perseverance are. And I can’t forget what he’s taught me about craft beers and good quality music or what it means to live in and enjoy the moment.
As I write this, I ask myself the question that has continued to plague me since the moment I knew and accepted the truth that we cannot continue together: Why are we separating?
The most obvious answer seems to be the fact that I’m from New York and he’s from Spain. Spain is his home and he’s here to stay. Though it has also been my home for the past two years, I have no desire to live here in the long-term.
But there is another truth to our relationship: we are just too different.
Excuse me while I laugh ironically a little and wonder how it can be that two people who have so much love for each other part over a few differences. I mean how often do you hear about that happening?
And this is when I acknowledge the fact that I am getting older, because I have learned that there are minor differences and not so minor differences. Differences are no longer limited to opposite tastes in movies or food or music. As you get older and you start to learn what your priorities are, you start to understand what kind of partner you want to be with. Differences grow from different taste in music to differences in lifestyle choices, values and core characteristics. They grow to different opinions about marriage and children. And even, in my case as a traveler, different opinions about geographical location and where “home” is.
There are things about him that drive me crazy, as I’m sure is reciprocal and inevitable in any relationship. But I still love him. More than I can express here. A part of me is so beyond frustrated that we cannot continue. And so through our relationship I have also learned one of the most important lessons that I have learned so far: that
sometimes we must look at the truth of things and accept them for what they are, rather than try to fight against the nature of them.
We’ve openly and honestly and frankly talked about our differences. We acknowledge and accept the fact that those differences would most likely get in the way of a happy and fulfilling relationship in the future. We understand that I am a traveler and want to continue to live in different places, while he wants to stay in Spain. We understand that neither of us will change our minds about our stance on having children. We understand that we both want what’s best for the other and their happiness and that in our case…it means we must go our separate ways.
I wish I could explain how I feel about it all. I was in denial for a very long time (think a lot of internal back-and-forth, never-ending hope that something will change and more nights filled with tears than I care to remember), I’ll admit to that. But it’s eventually grown to acceptance. In the end, it’s all about mindset, isn’t it?
I know the journey on the road of adjustment will be beyond difficult. My sole comfort is in knowing that wherever my next stop is, I carry with me beautiful memories and that though we may no longer be together romantically, I will always find a friend in him.
“True love should be transformative; a process that amplifies our capacity to cherish not just one person but all people. It can make us stronger, lift us higher and deepen us as individuals. Only to the extent that we polish ourselves now can we hope to develop wonderful bonds of the heart in the future.” SGI President Daisaku Ikeda