What It Feels Like to Leave Something You’re Still in Love With

I listened to a podcast recently where both the female hosts opened up about ending happy (or seemingly so) and comfortable relationships with long-term boyfriends because they realized they weren’t completely fulfilled in those relationships; and though they were good, healthy relationships, they weren’t what was best, so they performed an almost sadistic act of self-care and broke off their relationships (unplanned + uncorrelated). They spoke about how much they were/are hurting, but how much they were learning about themselves in the process, and how grateful they were for having the courage to take a step in an unknown, seemingly dim direction.

This is almost exactly how I feel about leaving Chapel Hill. I feel like I just ended a relationship that I thought would end in marriage. It feels like I broke up with someone simply because we weren’t compatible anymore. It’s so incredibly hard to leave something you love – and still love – knowing that it’s best for you to leave. My heart still aches, yet I’m more fulfilled in life right now than I’ve ever been. I still question my decision when facing the uncertainty of the future, but I know what I did was right and that I will grow from it. This is harder than anything I’ve ever had to go through in my measly 21-or-so years on this planet, but I know it will put me in the right direction.

In the past six months, I’ve learned more things about life, about myself, and about others than I ever learned in a class at Chapel Hill, and I’m confident that I will look back on my decision and this time in my life and be grateful for the strides I’ve made in bettering myself.

This “breakup” is not easy… at all. It’s something I think about and struggle with every day, but I’m actually the happiest I’ve ever been,