I am 23 and I’ve been engaged twice


I used to hate talking about this, but I’m ready now. I’m ready to talk about my past.

I have had my fair share of public shaming, gossip, name calling and ridicule because of it.

Love is a weird thing. You have no idea what it really feels like until you really feel what it feels like, you know?

I was 17 when I started dating a guy that was 20. We fell madly in love, and we were pretty sure that what we felt for each other, was the real thing.

Despite the fact that we would fight day after day, we clung to the idea of true love. We spoke about marriage. My parents got married when my dad was 21, and my mom only 20. And it was like I believed that I would walk the same path as them. So, when he proposed when I was 20, I said yes.

He asked my parents for their blessing, and them, knowing all too well that their answer wouldn’t change our minds, they said yes. I remember a feeling of disappointment when they approved it. I was hoping, deep down, without me being able to admit it, that they would say no.

And I knew that they wanted to say no. I could see it.

But they didn’t. They loved me so much that they said yes. That’s what true love is.

But I didn’t know that yet.

A few months went past. And this burning desire to live a different life grew. I didn’t want to see him, whenever I was with him, I could only think of the mistake we were making.

I come from a conservative family, and they believe that when you get engaged to someone, you pretty much married him. There’s no turning back. So there I was, 20 years old, engaged to be married 12 months later. Hoping and praying that something would go wrong for it to end.

But it didn’t.

So I had to pull my little girl socks up, and get out of the mess I made for myself. I hate to break a heart that didn’t deserve it.

So I told my parents I needed to speak with them about something. It’s like they knew what it was, because they left everything and sat me down.

Two parents in front me, with fear and love in their eyes. Uncertainty.

With hesitation breaking my voice, I tell them. I tell them everything. The doubt, the fear, the hate, the confusion. I spin the ring on the table. I don’t want them to be ashamed of me.


My dad speaks first, he never speaks first. “It’s okay. We understand. You need to end it if that’s how you feel.” Now my Mom speaks. She is the perfect Mom. So loving. So caring. So true, raw and honest. I can see a tear form in the pit of her eye. “I was so worried.”

We spoke for an hour. I got up right there and then, and I ended it.

“Why are you doing this?” he spoke as if not expecting a response.
His voice penetrated the still air of our speechless drive,
So suddenly that my heart had jumped.
“I’m not doing anything,” I said, but I didn’t even believe that myself.
“This is what’s best, for me, for you, for us,” or maybe just for me I thought.
The music poured through the speakers and we were losing ourselves in the cadence. He looked down momentarily and closed his eyes for a bit longer than a standard blink. Then he was shouting and I was shouting,
Now pouring confessions, having no answers, or solutions. We barely even knew the questions.

And it ended.

I stopped believing that there was someone for me out there. Because you don’t “just know”, I thought I did, and look how that ended. I lived my life with the thought that every relationship I embarked on was temporary, that it was a matter of time before it would end. Marriage was the thing my parents did, and the thing I would never do.

Then I met up with an old friend. We used to be friends in school, best friends actually. I loved him, and when I saw his, now slightly older, face I still loved him. But not like a brother anymore, something else. An unknown burning. My heart would race when someone spoke of him. I would get an excited fludder in my stomach when I drove past his work. I would get chills down my spine when he hugged me. His voice was calming. Everything he said made sense. We had the same dreams. He got me, he didn’t think my dreams were too big or my ambitions too high.

I could listen to him talk for hours, and forget about all the heartbreak and transgressions of my messy past.

I fell in love. And this time, I understood it. It’s not just a feeling. It’s a bond, a bond between souls that understand. A bond that beats anything this messed up world throws at it.

We are family, best friends, partners and lovers. We are one.

It is intimate, respectful, unselfish and true.

When he says something, I already thought it, when I’m crying, he already knows why, when he’s confused, I know what to say, when I’m angry, he knows how to calm me.

It’s like being one person, with two souls. You just get it.

So I got engaged, again, against all odds and resolutions I set for myself. At the age of 22. And although my small town gasped for air when they saw or heard of it. When I walked somewhere I would hear people whisper “AGAIN”. Although I am known for my past, I decided to move forward, and everyone else that still speaks of my past, is in my past.

I no longer label myself with my mistakes.


My husband and I on our very special day

Now I am married. I am happy. I am building a successful happy life with my loving husband. It feels like my life only started the day we got married. Like my past was a different life, someone else.

I don’t regret the past. I learned so much. And both me and “that guy” came out the other side as better people. Knowing that we were never meant to be.

And I know what love shouldn’t feel like. And now, I know what it should feel like. I wish for every girl and guy to have this feeling. They deserve it. Every human deserves to be loved unconditionally by another, with security and loyalty. An undefeating feeling of love.

2 thoughts on “I am 23 and I’ve been engaged twice

  1. Ek kan nie sê hoeveel keer ek hierdie post al gelees het vandat jy dit gepost het nie. ek is amper 4 jaar verloof, maar ek voel die hunker soos jy gevoel het met jou eerste verloofde.

    • Hi Ella,

      Dankie dat jy die tyd gevat het om te skryf. As ek enige advies kan gee, dan is dit om na jouself te luister. Om jou lewe saam een mens te spandeer is ‘n lang tyd, so mens moet seker wees dat dit die beste vir JOU is. As daar iets binne jou is wat twyfel, is dit beter om die tyd te vat en seker te wees voor mens jou neus en oe toeknyp en spring.

      Baie sterkte, altyd hier as jy wil gesels.

      xx – E

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