In March 2017, Nathan and I took our engagement photos. The weather was cold and grey, but we had such a fun time as our photographer captured our silly and romantic moments. Dressed in old clothes, carrying suitcases, laughing and dancing on the old train tracks, the rain falls all around us. I looked at her and smiled, and thought, for the billionth time in my life, how lucky I am to have her.

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But years ago, I had no idea I’d be so happy, or that Nathan even existed.

I was heartbroken in 2009. I don’t think about that time often, but it seems appropriate to return to the story now. I am at one of the highest points of my life; One of the happiest times. December 2009 – It was the lowest. And yet, it all changed and turned out better than I could have ever imagined. I know the heartache and I know loss. In fact, can you appreciate what you have if you’ve never experienced pain like this? I believe you can, but your heartbreak reminds you how precious it all is.

I wanted to share my story to encourage you to survive a breakup. Even in some of the darkest times, light is usually just around the corner.

my story

I was in college and living with my boyfriend for about 4 1/2 years. I was happy as a pen. I loved my school, had a great theater department full of friends. I thought our future was decided. We’d quit college, move to NYC, and struggle as young actors trying to be famous, poor but happy.

There were no warning signs. But one December day, while using the laptop he and I shared, I was struck by a terrible secret. Hidden in plain view on a hard drive were weeks of messages between my boyfriend and another girl, a girl I knew very well.

I cannot describe the pain of finding words that should be reserved only for you, spilled out on a screen, for someone else. This was not a simple case or an example of fraud. My partner was claiming to be in love with this girl, telling her how unhappy she was, and describing holding me at night and “wishing it was her.” I wish I could tell you I’m mincing words here…I’m not.

In an instant, my world was turned upside down. It was a complete… shock. If it hadn’t been for a friend of mine who was there at the time, I don’t know if I would have even processed what I was reading.

Once I was able to confront my then-boyfriend, it was clear that he was horrified to learn this, but was unconcerned. He wanted out of the relationship, and this was his unholy, cruel way of doing it. For anyone who is wondering how to break up with a partner, I cannot stress enough that this is not the way to do it.

Thus began some of the most challenging months of my life. I realize a breakup can’t compare to a devastating illness or death of a loved one, but when it’s a serious relationship (and when it happens with so little warning) the resulting pain can be just as excruciating.

It was the worst of times, and yet, I got through it. It was my first major heartbreak, and I emerged stronger (though not accomplished) than ever. If you’re dealing with a broken heart right now, I wish I could reach out and hug you and tell you it will get better… as you begin the healing process. Well, there are some things that I did during my breakup that was rejuvenating and incredibly helpful. Give them a gentle try.

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I would not have gotten through that painful time without my friends and family. The night I learned about the messages, a dozen of my friends were comforting me in my apartment, some hugging me while crying, others bringing my favorite snacks, and still others cheering me on And making me laugh. My sister almost immediately jumped in her car and drove 3 hours to spend a few nights with me. One of the highlights of the month was the withered look she gave my ex (and its dire consequences) when he came over to pick up some of his stuff.

I realized then how important these close relationships are and how much you need people who care about you to keep you going. This was a great lesson in my life, and it made me resolve to repay my friends with the same comfort and attentive care any time they needed them in the future. Spend time with the ones you love. They’ll take your mind off the breakup, listen as you analyze it for the 100th time, and just keep you company. I am so grateful for the good people.

allow yourself that pain
Healing from a broken heart is not about pushing it aside and ignoring the pain. In fact, I would venture to say that there is only one way out of this. You should allow yourself to be sad. Cry, scream, hit your pillow, whatever. Find ways to express your anger and sadness in healthy ways. Oh, I was at my best since that breakup. I took my feelings to the gym and pounded the treadmill for miles at a time, listening to angry, vengeful music in my headphones. Yes it worked for me and boy was I fit!

ride the wave
Looking back, I was very lucky that my breakup happened when it happened. I was surrounded by my college friends and there were too many things to distract me and too many expectations. It was my senior year, and that spring was filled with events, parties, and friendships. I made the most of that senior year, I really did.

A great way to heal your broken heart is to let the wave of emotion wash over you… for as long as it takes. It took me several months to say that I felt completely fine. Luckily, I had many outlets to experience my feelings during that time. I was in a musical called Godspell which has a very sad scene where the main character says goodbye and is apparently preparing for his death. We had to get emotional, cry on stage, hug him and each other. Wow, was it ever cathartic! Every night during the show, I would go on stage and let the tears fall. I let myself feel the full pain every evening and it made me feel clear and free.


happy welcome
As the pain subsides a little, you will find that you feel happy again and again. Welcome that feeling when it comes. Don’t question it or brush it off. Take advantage of this and have a little fun rediscovering yourself. It’s a new slate in your life, go for something new! This is the time when many people get a new haircut or makeover. It feels good to look your best and making changes is exciting. During this time I got my first tattoo done with my friends. It was a bold and exciting move for me, and it helped me to be braver and move forward more independently. (It also became an addiction, as here I am, 9 tattoos later…..)

I had more and more happy moments, but the pain was never completely gone. I still had crying nights and moments of anger or confusion in my days. However, I was slowly getting better and did not need to rely on my friends much. As my ex had moved out (and back into sad little dorms, thank karma), I was now living alone for the first time in my life. I found that I loved it. I started little date nights with myself, listening to my favorite music in full swing, enjoying a glass of wine and a bubble bath. I was focusing on myself, giving myself love and appreciation. That’s what I deserve And it helped a lot.


Journaling was probably the most helpful thing for me. I wrote every day. I shared my angry rants, I wrote sad poems and song lyrics, and best of all, meaningful letters to my ex and his wife (you can’t imagine how freeing that is). Of course I never sent them.

I also made a list of all the things I was grateful for and when I was ready, I broke up with my relationship. It wasn’t to see where it “went wrong” or how I could “fix” it, but to objectively understand my own role in things and how I should move forward in the future to be better. had to be determined. It was there to help me figure out what I wanted for my life.


After some anger has subsided, you will be able to evaluate things more clearly and rationally. At this point I realized that many things in our relationship weren’t right, or weren’t good for me. My ex avoided confrontation at all costs (so much so that he chose to cheat rather than tell me), and that meant hiding part of himself. He wasn’t sharing everything good and bad with me, and so I didn’t get a chance to change any of my behaviors that he wasn’t happy with. He kept it all inside and the resentment grew. There is never a recipe for lasting love. And certainly not the way to handle conflict in an adult way.

I also recognize that we have different goals and there are some features that will not be good in the long run. He was not that enthusiastic for me and I was probably too adventurous for him. Seeing these things after the fact helped me come to terms with the fact that the end of our relationship was actually a positive thing.


Healing a broken heart is a lot about timing. When I broke up with my ex, everyone kept repeating that time will heal. It is very hard to hear at this point of time. I couldn’t believe that it would ever get better, or that I would ever want to love someone else again. But time, and taking care of yourself, and moving on… those are the things that put your broken pieces back together. And finally, you actually move.

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Your heartbreak brings so much clarity. It shows you more than ever what you want in life and in a partner, and helps you experience true freedom and insight. Stop it when you feel better. Take hold of the lessons you learn and try to apply them.

As time passed, I progressed. I dated other people and was heartbroken again. But I remained optimistic and lived for me. Two years later, it became clear that traveling was something I desperately needed to pursue. I packed my bags and my best friend R (coincidentally the same guy who was there when I received the offensive messages) and off we went to Europe, the land of dreams.

We had an amazing trip, one of the best experiences of my life. At this point I was completely over my ex and grabbing life by the horns. I was going after him which made me happy. And wouldn’t you know it… It was on this trip, when I was truly following my heart’s desire, that I bumped into my future husband? Separation is really something.


At the time of my ’09 breakup, I thought I’d never love someone like my ex-boyfriend. As I began to heal, I began to believe that I would find true love again, but I never bargained for how wonderful it would be.

I love Nathan more than I thought I could, and this relationship is worth a lot. It’s authentic, it’s deep, it encompasses both our light and dark sides, our good and our bad. It’s a choice, not just a feeling. It accepts all our imperfections and lets us know each other honestly. This love helps us to grow and improve every day. It is an adult relationship built on trust, commitment and love.

Without getting my heart broken, I would never have found my way here. And for that, I’m really grateful.

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