When You Know, You Know

He married his best friend.

I still remember the day we broke up. It was nighttime and I was driving home, he was out of town on a business trip and we hadn’t spoken in days (a rare form for us). There was an aching feeling in my heart that I needed to call him, ask him how his day was and be a present, good girlfriend. But I didn’t want to. All I wanted to do was go home, watch TV and go to bed.

We hadn’t planned to break up that night. There was no calculated conversation, no rehearsed speech, it happened blrand before I knew it, it was over. So much easier than how it began, so much faster than how we met. Six years. Gone in less than sixty minutes.

Lately it seems like I’ve gotten a front row seat to some really great relationships and some really not-so-great ones. I’ve seen what it looks like to fall in love and fall apart and I find myself celebrating the love scenes, crying through the dramatic ones and like a great rom-com, hoping for the best happily ever ending for each of my friends.

Like Rebekah who thought love was something that would always be broken, who found a man more in love with her than … cheese (if you know us cheese-lovers at all, this is a big deal). He gazes at her like she’s the only girl in the room and sometimes I pretend to throw up…sometimes I actually do.

Or Erin who travels around the country and is gone for days sometimes back-to-back weeks at a time. She comes home, exhausted and moody and weary and Jon is there with a fridge stocked with her favorite foods, a vinyl playing and dinner ready.

Or Jenny who met her husband when she was 20, married him a year later and even on her most difficult days of med school, he’s there, helping with house chores, getting groceries and taking her on vacations to see the West Coast.

But in the midst of all of the bliss, the heartbreak is just as much there. Like a friend who calls off her engagement because it became more about the wedding than her marriage. Or the friend who got her heart broken because the guy she was dating wasn’t who she thought he was. And so, just as easily as your heart soars, it also crashes and burns because real life love doesn’t fit in screenplays.

Love doesn’t come in the form of slow running cinematic kisses. Because in real life relationships, there’s a lot of real work that has to go into this. There are great days where you hold hands and make everyone else around you nauseous, but there are also not-so-great days where you fight for staying in rather than jumping out.

So, why did I choose to jump out?

When I was going back and forth on whether we should stay in or out of this relationship, I asked the audience, I took polls, I wanted to hear the love story of every single person I met. And after each interaction, there was a common thread they would tell me, “When you know you know.” And here’s the hardest thing to admit: I. Didn’t. Know.

After the breakup, the repercussions seemed to tumble in all directions. I stopped speaking to all my college friends, or more so that they stopped speaking to me. Relationships with my best friends, who were his relatives, became awkward and uncomfortable and too, ended quickly. Looking back at the memories were painful. Even flipping through old college photos seemed hurtful knowing than most of these friendships had faded into memories.

But there’s no doubt in my mind that what happened three years ago was the best decision for both of us. Through the process I’ve learned what a healthy relationship needs to look like, how to be the best version of myself and the endless possibilities of dreaming big. That’s what happens when we step into the know; our decisions don’t have to destroy us but steer us to something else, something better.

It’s interesting how one of the most dreaded moments of your life can alter your plans for the better. Before you realize it, you find yourself surrounded by new friendships not based on someone else, a job in a city of your choice and spontaneous vacations to your favorite places.

Life will inevitably place us at many crossroads and the scary thing is, we don’t ever have a guarantee things will work out. We are gifted with a Magic 8 ball that reveals our perfect life-scenario depending on if we choose door number one or door number two. (If only!)

What I’ve learned from my friends and my own life is that when you do know (I’m talking deep down in your heart kind of knowing), that’s when you are a fool not to act. Because whatever the decision, and its following repercussions, the knowing is what gives you peace and confidence to move forward. When you are able to embrace and recognize love (or the lack thereof), you realize life is too short to waste in any secondary love story. Because when you know the possibilities of what’s-yet-to-come after the goodbye, there’s not a second to waste. You’ll do whatever it takes for that moment you know it’s for forever.

He married his best friend.

I knew that wasn’t me.

And I’m 100%-totally-without hesitation-okay with that.


One thought on “When You Know, You Know

  1. Jamie Hawkins says:

    How do you know my heart? I’m in the midst of heart achegut wrenching, not sleeping, miss my best friend heart ache. You know the type? 😉 I look forward to being on your side of it. Love you & would love to write with you sometime soon in a coffee shop. xoxo

    From: “Every Girl Like Me.” Reply-To: “Every Girl Like Me.” Date: Thursday, August 22, 2013 3:57 PM To: Jamie Hawkins Subject: [New post] When You Know, You Know

    WordPress.com SarahLady posted: “He married his best friend. I still remember the day we broke up. It was nighttime and I was driving home, he was out of town on a business trip and we hadnt spoken in days (a rare form for us). There was an aching feeling in my heart that I needed to”

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