Your Heart

What It’s Like When Your Ex Informs You That He/She Is Engaged

By December 30, 2015 0

I had pictured it beginning with a post-it.

As I awoke, groggy from a night’s rest and dragged myself to our apartment bathroom‑ there’d be a post-it fixed onto the mirror which read “Morning sleepy. Your flight leaves in 3 hours. There’s a car downstairs. Don’t worry about packing”.

I imagined excitedly throwing my stuff together—still packing a random bag of course, because well—you never know. And then I’d get into the car, and the driver would take me to my mystery terminal, while I guessed to myself in the backseat as to where I could possibly be headed.

An hour later the driver would pull into the Delta departures gate and hand me a ticket.

“California”? I’d wonder out loud.

I’d be completely lost as to what he had in store for me. My seat would have been in coach class, because I’m not a brat and I can sit six hours without complaining—but I’d be fighting my subconscious to disregard the fact that my boyfriend picked one next to the bathrooms because HE KNOWS I hate sitting anywhere near the restrooms.

I’m terrified of flying. I’ve only recently weened off needing a Xanax to ease the experience, and the constant back/forth from the restrooms only heightens my nerves.

“He’s taking you on a mysterious trip.” I’d silence my mental chatter, “Could you be any more of a brat?”.

One hour into the air—perhaps even just 5 minutes after I dozed off to sleep, I’d be awoken by somebody saying my name. Every single person aboard the plane would be holding a single white rose. He’d be on his knees saying,

“Candace—I know you hate flying. It’s been your biggest fear since the day I met you. And my biggest fear my whole life has been the idea of forever. The fear of marrying the wrong girl…”

And I wouldn’t even hear the rest. I’d be hysterically crying, meeting him on my knees. He’d probably have to ask a few times if it was a yes because I’d be unable to form a proper word.

Oh and of course he’d have a seat for me in first class next to him because we are only laying over in California. He has the other ticket: we are headed to Bali to celebrate—the place I’d mentioned only once in conversation, that I’d love to see.

A post-it, 36,000 feet at cruising altitude–both of us facing our fears. Utter and complete shock. Terrifying beauty.

But no, no and no.

That guy, that dream? They are both in the for-real-this-time past, because yesterday my ex told me that he was engaged.

And that’s something that connects us all, right? —the distressing thought of “what’s it going to feel like when my ex gets engaged?”.

Will I be happy? Will I be sad? Will I think I’ve missed out on my chance for forever?

Those foreboding emotions linger as we weave in and out of relationships. As the people we once loved and fell apart from begin to love and fall together with others. It’s the angst of not knowing how we are going to react.

When my ex told me he got engaged to someone else, he informed me that he had proposed to her in a restaurant.

He went six months without breathing so much of a word of it to me. I suppose it slipped his mind when we hung out for dinners, exchanged hundreds of text messages, and reminisced about old times with pictures.

“I thought I told you”.

Oh, you thought you told me you were planning a wedding?

He confirmed to me that they were getting married in Westchester, NY a year from the date he proposed, because his fiancée had found a venue she liked there.

A proposal in a restaurant? A wedding in Westchester? At a venue she just—likes? It was all so—black and white. I had heard that story a hundred times.

It sounded like he’d met a nice girl. It sounded like a nice proposal, and I was certain it would be a nice wedding.

It sounded like anything but me.

I just couldn’t picture myself within that storyline. In fact in so many ways, it resembles my worst nightmare: a “nice” life, complete with a big house somewhere out in Long Island.


What I did when I heard the news was out of character. I did nothing.

I was staying with a girlfriend at the time and I went into her room and I passed the announcement.

“I’m literally speechless”, she said.

Me too.

She hopped out of bed, we both walked to the kitchen, and we made ourselves a cup of granola with almond milk.

We ate it standing up in our pajamas, said goodnight, and went to bed.

I didn’t text anyone, I didn’t call anyone, I didn’t go on a mad internet search for a picture of her diamond ring— I simply went to bed. And the next day was simply the next day.

That terrifying “oh my god will my ex turn into the one who got away”— it sort of turned into a midnight snack—a healthy midnight snack.

Surprise and then, mild hunger.

I think it was the details surrounding the engagement and subsequent plans that made me certain I’d made the right decision when I left him all those years ago; because as extraordinary and as gentle of a man that he is and will always be, he would have clipped my wings with the ordinary.

Yes in every way imaginable, I had escaped, and to his credit, so did he.

Because let’s face it, I live amongst the stars. I see rainbow swirls and pixie dust and hear cotton-candy music from every boom box of my existence. I LIVE for unpredictable moments and believe life should dazzle us all, moment by moment. My story—my engagement then will insist upon a gut-punch. My wedding thereafter will be a whirlwind of enthusiasm complete with converse sneakers under my dress. Just in case I run, and just in case he has to chase me.

He’ll spend the rest of his life chasing me…

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Because our lives thereafter will be comprised of enchanted sprints and jolts. There will be harrowing depths, momentous altitudes—his beautiful mind made dizzy, trying to pin my raven spirit down. Our adjective will definitively stop short of the word “nice”, leap over it, and take flight into the galaxies.

In one word, I was lucky. Lucky that the volcanic eruption of emotion that I’d once predicted would rape and pillage my soul when my ex informed me that he’d decided on forever with someone else, was somehow converted into—oh I don’t know…

Granola and almond milk.