Why is it that you always hear or read about messy or sudden breakups, but you never seem to hear about the one that I now find myself having to go through? The planned 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 and loved and accepted unconditionally.
What’s funny is that I didn’t see it coming. Do you ever? Any time I spoke of my move to Spain people were trying to marry me off. “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.” 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 few years later were married.
This always frustrated me more than anyone realized. My move to Spain was not with the intention of finding a man. 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 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.
With him I have learned about humility, empathy, generosity, selflessness, true friendship and, though it may not seem so on my end, patience. 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 or what it means to live in the moment.
So then, 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.
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 and values.
A part of me is beyond frustrated that we cannot continue. And so through our relationship I have also learned very important lesson: sometimes we must look at the truth of things and accept them for what they are, rather than try to fight against them.
We’ve openly and honestly talked about our differences. We acknowledge 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 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 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?
So for the first time, I find myself in a relationship knowing on what day it’s going to end. I am preparing myself to get on that plane without knowing if or when I will see him again, waving good- bye to a man that I love dearly and who I have shared so much laughter and adventure with. Our goal now is only one: To enjoy the time that we have left with each other and to part with nothing but love and happiness. 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 I will always find a friend in him.
About the Author
Nina is a twenty-something year old teacher, traveling and eating her way around the world. After two years of living in Spain she’s headed back to her native Brooklyn, New York. Her future plan is to take it a day at a time, having faith that she will end up exactly where she needs to be, when she needs to be there. You can find more of her stories on her blog: buddhingtraveler.me