Imagine having your wedding called off just three months before the wedding date. Devastating, right? Now, imagine it being called off not because your fiancé had changed his mind about you, but because he had changed his mind about wanting to pursue romance and marriage and a family—the whole deal. That’s what happened to me.
Carlo* and I were both medical students when we met nine years ago. Since we shared the same world, there was nothing complicated about how we got together: We went out on dates, we saw each other during hospital rotations, and pretty soon, we became a couple.
Three years later, we got engaged. We settled on a date in June after two years. I had wanted it to happen December the coming year, and he had wanted it to take place the December following that, so we decided to meet halfway and set a date for June instead.
In the months leading up to the wedding date, we did everything soon-to-wed couples did: We scoped out wedding expos first for ideas, then once our plans had become more concrete, we booked the church, then the reception venue, then everything else. Soon after, all suppliers were settled, all downpayments were paid, and the flights of family and relatives who were flying in from abroad and from my hometown for the wedding were booked.
On the outset, all the wedding plans seemed to be going smoothly—at least, that’s what I thought. It never crossed my mind that there was anything wrong.
One day about three months from the wedding date, we went to get Carlo’s suit from the tailor. We had both just gotten out from an exhausting duty shift at the hospital (we were both in residency training by then), so we were both tired and sleepy. As Carlo was trying on his suit, the shop assistant cheerfully asked us if we were excited for the wedding. He didn’t answer, but I didn’t think anything of it; I assumed he just wasn’t in the mood. I replied to the shop assistant in the affirmative, but joked that with all the preparations, our excitement had waned. Then we got the suit and left.
While we were on the road, Carlo suddenly said, “Move kaya natin ang kasal.” Naturally, I was shocked. All I could think was, “WTF?!”
I asked him what was wrong, and he admitted that he had wanted to finish his residency training first, but since it seemed to him like I wanted to get married right away, he felt forced into agreeing with me.
The next thing Carlo said shook me even more: He said he was no longer sure about getting married because he felt that his “calling” was to enter a seminary. He confessed that he had wanted to do it since he was in college, but his parents wouldn’t let him. As he said these things, I felt my body go cold and numb all over. It couldn’t be. We were so close to the wedding date; why was he throwing it all away now?
At first, I was in denial. I tried reasoning with Carlo, pleading with him to get us back on track, what with the wedding date looming and the preparations done and dusted and all. But he was firm with his wishes: that he finish his residency training first, after which he would join the seminary for a year. Only then would he decide if he still wanted to marry me. It all added up to an excruciating wait on my part, during which I couldn’t even be sure if he would still choose to be with me eventually.
After more than a month of me pleading with him and him refusing to give in to my pleas, I broke up with him.
After the breakup, I felt lost. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had planned my life, my future, with him in the picture, and now that he was gone, I did not have a Plan B.
I lived alone, so my mom had to fly to Manila from our hometown to keep me company for a while. She probably feared that I would commit suicide or do something drastic if I was left alone. I coped with the crushing disappointment by drinking with friends, and I became dependent on alcohol, drinking myself to sleep every day. If my friends were not around, I would drink alone—that’s how bad it had gotten. I would avoid going home to my empty apartment so I wouldn’t be left alone with my thoughts. I’d drive aimlessly around Metro Manila while crying in my car, then I’d park somewhere, stay inside the car, and just shout angrily to the world. Once I got too tired to shout or even think, only then would I go home.
I still went to work because it was my last year in residency training, but I was often absent so my peers would cover up for me when our superiors would ask about me.
That dark stage in my life lasted for about two years, but it took about three years for me to truly recover. I began to rekindle past friendships, and these friends were the ones who picked me up from such a low point in my life. I even had two relationships after Carlo, but they were both bound to fail from the start because I knew in my heart that I wasn’t over him yet.
One of my friends told me to just pray and God would give me what I desired, as long as I was specific in my prayers. So I did. I prayed that I would be whole again and find someone who would make me love again. And I did! After those three years of destructive darkness and eventual recovery, at the most unexpected time, I met the most unexpected person, and yes, I am happy and in love again.
I’d already forgiven Carlo long ago. I hope he is happy with the decisions he made—and I mean that without any resentment. I haven’t heard any news about him in a while, nor do I want to, and I know he feels the same about me. It’s better that way.
*Names have been changed