Flying Solo: The Final Break-Up that Sent me on a Solo Trip to P.R.

After 3 years, it was over. Finally. Am I the only one who gets stuck trying to make it to that anniversary date? Trying to prove a useless point to no one at all? I knew weeks prior that this would be the end of our relationship… maybe months.

I can’t remember the last thing he “did” for me. He liked to say that our trip to Jamaica in July last year was my “best vacation” ever because it was all-inclusive and he barely had to plan anything… I know he’s wrong because I loved Cuba more (& I went with my mom). We had gotten into arguments on the flight to and from paradise and I can’t tell you why I hung on… trying to make it to 3 years; wasting my precious time. It was in Jamaica that I realize that I was making everything better, I was completing his half-ass plans and making the vibe magical… All-inclusive resorts help you book all your excursions, but my ex acted like he went out of his way. We even showed up to an excursion he claimed he paid for but couldn’t afford to book once we got there — there I was taking out my credit card again. He’d booked the trip but had nothing left for any extras; he didn’t want to buy the customary bottle of liquor at customs or even the small things like pictures from the excursions or any mementos to take home. He asked the tour guide to write his mom’s name into a gift, but he didn’t have any cash to pay the man, he wouldn’t even buy a $5 bracelet for his son. In short, he gave me the bare minimum, like he always had.

I invited him home with me for Christmas and I regret every moment of it. Honestly, I know I brought him as a scape goat. He was great at finding a way and reason to leave [me] early. My sister and I hadn’t spoken for years, but our relationship was certainly on the way up a long hill. It was my first time hanging out with my nephews and I realized, at that moment, that I didn’t want my ex getting to close to them. Or to anyone in my family, for that matter. He mentioned how “cool” my brother-in-law is and he’s not lying; but I just didn’t feel like he deserved that connection. My brother-in-law is most of the reason I’m in my career now; he’s talented, a guy with tons of connections and I just couldn’t give my ex a look he would never have given me. I couldn’t give him anything else, because he didn’t acknowledge what I was currently doing. It’s painful when the small things become everything.

My ex never brought his own dish to the sink. Ever. In the three years we dated, he would leave his plate on the table and go about his life as if someone were meant to clean up after him. It wasn’t until I started watching his mother that I realized that’s what he was used to. There was even a time when I didn’t serve him his plate and he simply refused to eat. But we were in my mom’s house, on Christmas and I simply couldn’t deal with it. My mother asked me to serve him and I assured her that he could serve himself. I was the only one under that roof without children and I wanted to act that way. But I was soon back on Mommy duty; he said he had to go home early and clean his apartment so that his Aunt could stay there. I offered to help. While I cleaned, he found anything else to do. “When you were little,” I asked him, “and your room was dirty… would it magically be clean when you got home from school?” His response? “Man, shut up.”

He had no plan to celebrate New Years. I barely even remember the day, it was that mundane. We went to a local bar where I knew they played good music and I stole a ton of balloons to take pictures in and bring home to his son and nephew. He always looked half miserable with me and thinking back, he must have been. A few days later, I surprised him for his birthday with a helicopter flight over New York City. I’m a fool, right? Wrong. I knew I wanted to go out on a high note. I wanted to leave him with a memory he’d never forget because I knew we were coming to a close. By that time, I was making sure to take plenty of pictures by myself so that I wouldn’t have to archive them when we broke up.

I’m bad at ending things, so I tend to let them fizzle out. Soon after his birthday, I stopped calling him. We had a trip planned to Puerto Rico and I had something to look forward to other than him. I had booked and planned everything, so nothing would be affected by him. I think a week went by before he called me. The truth is, we had nothing to talk about. I’ll be honest; I told him we could still go on the trip, asked him, even. But I’m glad he decided not to go.

Finally, I had found a bit of freedom & I can’t lie and say it wasn’t scary. I was a bit upset that he had flopped, but excited at the opportunity to prove to myself that all I needed was myself. I packed my bags without having to bring extra anything for anyone. I made it to the airport on time and without an argument. I didn’t have to explain anything to anyone during my entire trip. For the first time, I got to experience how great I am, for myself. When I landed in Puerto Rico, it was too early for check-in, so I found a spot on the beach to reach a book (and set up my tripod). There was a rainbow that practically followed me all afternoon. The rest of the trip followed pretty much the same pattern; I listened to how I was feeling and did exactly what I felt. I never waited on anyone for anything.

I bend over backwards for people too much. I’ve found that I am a better partner/friend to most than most are to me. No one wants to me keep count or track because they’re so busy taking advantage of everything I’ve offered them. I should expect nothing in return — and if that’s true, then I’d rather love myself. There was a night I had dinner in Puerto Rico and it was my first time dining in at a fancy restaurant, by myself, in such a long time but it was the best experience of my life. I was seated at a table with an ocean view and listened the the waves caress the shore as I tasted every single bite of my food. I still remember every single flavor. I ordered my appetizer, opted for the special and saved room for dessert. At the end of my meal, I ordered another drink and sat with myself, enjoying my own company.

Sometimes, we have to experience a bit of the worst to recognize the best. Since then, I’ve learned to value my alone time. I’ve learned to enjoy every single moment with myself and treat myself like I’m my own date. Never again will I wait on someone to make me feel special. Now I know that the world is mine for the taking and I don’t have to wait on anybody — I can do good all by myself & this applies to everyone. Sometimes even traveling with girlfriends can be a hassle. I realized how much of life I miss out on when I’m giving my attention to others. It also helped me understand how I want to be treated (how I treat myself). I might just book another solo trip 👀

Of course he tried to make up with my afterwards. Of course I tried to let him… but once you experience better, it’s so hard to go back to the bare minimum. While this story might have been a bash on him… it’s my truth. Sometimes, we feel so down about what we went through; ashamed and embarrassed for our experiences. But experience is nothing to be ashamed of. I used to look back at those three years like a waste of time but, without those experiences, how would I know I deserve better? How would I have grown? The world (or God) needed to put me in.a place to truly learn to value of myself and to appreciate it. This is simply my journey and while I am semi-scarred by the obstacles I’ve endured, I’ve certainly healed.

I’m just happy that chapter is over and that this new chapter is looking lovely.


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