Travel Trials: After Traveling Abroad, I Want To End My Engagement
(As Told To Lauren R.D. Fox)
This past December I returned from Bolivia after volunteering at a charity for two weeks in the city of La Paz. During my trip, I was able to learn about Bolivian culture, enjoy its beautiful weather and make new friends. Needless to say, for the first time in my life, I felt grounded and extremely happy — something I haven’t felt in a long time, despite my boyfriend of four years proposing weeks prior to my trip. Initially, I was happy to know I’d be spending the rest of my life with Aaron; however once I arrived in Bolivia, I realized I wasn’t that in love with him.
Aaron and I have known each other since we were children and after we graduated college we took our friendship to another level. Although our relationship was seamless as time went on, it felt like we were more co-dependent on one another than two people building towards a future. I tried to speak to my mother about my concerns and she casually told me I won’t always feel butterflies or sparks in my relationship. Although her advice didn’t resonate with me, I said “Yes!” to Aaron’s proposal because I didn’t want to disappoint him or our families.
Immediately afterward, both of our mothers encouraged me to begin wedding planning before my trip but I put it off. I didn’t feel compelled to look at reception halls or dresses so I told them we could commence the planning process once I returned from my trip. It’s been two months since I returned and I still don’t feel the desire to plan a wedding, much less a life, with Aaron. Although Aaron didn’t do anything wrong, I personally felt lighter while I was in Bolivia and more focused. For the first time in years, I didn’t need Aaron’s opinion during my two-week stay.
I was able to make decisions about my finances or even what I was going to eat, by myself. There was no need to consult him, and the taste of that freedom is something I don’t want to give up. To be honest, Aaron usually disregards my feelings or needs in our relationship. I also realize now how much he lacks patience. When things didn’t go his way, he would give everyone around him the silent treatment or have alarming temper tantrums.
Traveling to Bolivia taught me that while I thought my relationship with Aaron was normal and healthy, it was actually quite toxic. Some of my friends think I had an “Eat, Pray, Love” moment in Bolivia and say I need to step out of the fantasy my trip created for me. I think my time away from Aaron made me realize the things I actually like and how much I don’t want to crumble under the pressure of being his fiancée and, eventually, his wife. I told Aaron I am no longer interested in marrying him but he’s trying to persuade me to give our relationship another chance.