Quantcast
A Breakup And Moving To London Helped Me Find True Self-Love

A Breakup And Moving To London Helped Me Find True Self-Love

My last relationship was a whirlwind in the best way possible.

As Told To

As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in the first-person narrative as told to a writer.

This is Paige Mariah's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.

My last relationship was a whirlwind.

And not in a bad way. But in the best way possible.


When we met, he told me upfront that he had applied for the Peace Corps and would be leaving in a year to serve in The Gambia for 27 months. Though I had my reservations, I allowed myself to let my guard down and really fall in love for the first time.

Man, we had such an intense romance. It almost felt as if our love was on a timer, so we were always looking for new and exciting experiences together to make the most of the little time we had left. Sometimes we would even take sick days together from work, just so we could be in each other's presence longer.

As his time in the States began to wind down, I knew that I had to start to figure out what was next for me, before the heartbreak completely consumed me. My relationship became my primary source of happiness when everything else around me felt so unsure and complicated. What was I going to do once he left? He was choosing himself and I felt like I needed to do something big and exciting that would benefit my own life as well.

If he was able to drop everything to follow his dreams, why couldn't I?

Courtesy of Paige Mariah

I'm a digital content creator by trade, hailing from the suburbs of Chicago. I attended Hampton University and returned to Chicago to begin my career once I graduated. Though I had a 9-5, my 24/7 was digital content creation—from written blogs to YouTube videos to building my social media presence. I've always been passionate about sharing my experiences in hopes of helping others.

After four years at my job, I was feeling extremely stagnant and my love life was just as unfulfilling. I just felt something was missing in my life. Though I wasn't happy in my career, I was slightly convinced that once I found true romantic love, that emptiness would begin to be filled. Then, it felt like all of my prayers were finally answered with my last relationship.

So, to feel this way, suddenly meet the man I prayed for, and have it was all ripped away from me...I was destroyed.

But even though I dreaded losing him, a major part of me always felt he was very brave for making the decision to leave everything to pursue his passion. He seemed so sure of himself and his decisions, whereas I overthink and often second-guess myself. How can I not admire that? He forced me to realize just how much I was holding back in my own life. And although London always had been the city of my dreams, actually living there never felt quite possible or realistic. But I didn't care. I stripped myself of my fears and decided to go for it. I applied to grad school and prepared to move to London.

We broke up about two months before I was scheduled to leave, which I thought would be enough time to heal and get over him. So when I arrived, I started dating almost immediately—probably like the second week of being here. I got into a new situation with a really great guy, but then the honeymoon phase quickly ended. He had no idea what he was getting himself into and neither did I. I found myself acting so out of character. I was mean, snappy. Everything he did just seemed like the opposite of what my ex would do and it would irritate me. I told myself that maybe this was because I hadn't given myself the opportunity to "multi-date" and really enjoy the single life.

During my spring break, I went on a 10-day tour around Europe. I climbed to the top of a mountain in Switzerland, did paragliding in Austria—basically having the experiences of a lifetime, but yet I still felt so incredibly sad. I was convinced that I just missed my ex, my home, my comfortable life. I finally accepted that there was some much-needed self-work that needed to be done. Immediately.

It was time to work on my relationship with myself.

I took an official hiatus from dating and ended things with any guys pursuing me romantically. I stopped relying on "good morning texts" for comfort or being "chosen" by a guy as reassurance. I needed to figure out why being alone was so scary.

To combat this, I spent a lot of time alone; taking walks, listening to audiobooks and podcasts that focused on manifestation, positivity, and self-love. These forced me to face deeply-rooted issues and insecurities that I never even realized that I had. I knew this was the best thing I could have done for myself.

When you lose control of the reasons someone is no longer in your life, your mind is filled with millions of irrational thoughts. I would frequently ask myself questions that negatively affected my mental health.

"What are you going to do with yourself when he leaves? Will you ever find anything as good as this again? How much longer will it take for me to start over with someone else to get married and start a family one day? Will he fall in love with someone else who can relate to his experience in a way you will never be able to? Would people think I wasn't good enough to make him stay?"

Ladies, we have to stop doing this to ourselves.

After my little hiatus, I developed a totally different perspective on dating. I now feel less pressure and stress when it comes to finding "the one". I don't settle anymore. I once felt like I had to come off low maintenance and agreeable to find love. Now, if I realize that a guy isn't what I want, I just move on.

Courtesy of Paige Mariah

I am complete by myself.

Of course, I will always enjoy and desire companionship and love. But approaching dating this way just feels so much lighter.

Things are looking up for me and I feel the happiest, and sometimes even emotional, when I'm doing something as simple as walking down the street or grocery shopping. I still look around and can't believe that I really live in London. I just feel so grateful for how far I've come, how blessed I am to be living this dream, and how much I've been able to grow over the last year.

I feel closer to my purpose than I ever have in my life. And honestly, couldn't ask for anything more.

To keep up with Paige, you can followher on Instagram and subscribe to herYouTube channel.

Featured image courtesy of Paige Mariah

Originally published on January 14, 2020

The Nail Trends To Try Before Hot Girl Summer Is Over

Are you 'Little Miss Never Knows What Design to Get'? It’s okay if you are because this is a safe space. We know that coming up with your next nail design can be as complicated as the Instagram algorithm these days. For me, getting my nails done and conjuring up a design has been a form of self-care and expression. With folks like Marsai Martin creating press-on nails that more than get the job done, the burden isn’t as heavy and there are some nail techs out here redefining what nail design means.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
Karrueche Tran Talks Learning Mindfulness: ‘I Can’t Do Everything. I Can’t Be Everything And That’s Okay’

From stylist to model to Emmy award-winning actress, we have witnessed Karrueche Tran’s career continue to thrive and expand. And with such a demanding and competitive career, the Claws star has sometimes found herself neglecting her mental health in order to achieve her goals. Karrueche opened up about how she deals with career comparisons and working in wellness practices to her busy schedule.

Keep reading...Show less
Former Beyoncé Dancer Deja Riley On Changing Her Career For Her Mental Health

Born into the world of entertainment, Deja Riley is a star in her own right. And if her last name sounds familiar, it is because she is the daughter of legendary producer and King of New Jack Swing, Teddy Riley. But rather than rely on her father's connections and last name, Deja chose to forge her own path into the entertainment industry. Going from dancing professionally with the likes of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and the queen herself, Beyoncé, to now becoming one of the most sought-after MIRROR home fitness trainers, a lululemon global ambassador, and the creator of her own fitness brand, the Sweaty Smiles Squad.

Keep reading...Show less
Aoki Lee Simmons Defends Her Choice To Model While Studying At Harvard

Aoki Lee Simmons and her older sister Ming Lee Simmons have decided to follow in their famous mother Kimora Lee Simmons’ footsteps and pursue modeling. While she appears to be a natural at modeling, some folks have questioned her career path. The 19-year-old has been studying at Harvard University since she was enrolled at 16 years old and because of her ivy league education, some people are confused by her choice to model.

Keep reading...Show less
5 Black-Owned CBD Brands To Add To Your Self-Care Routine

It comes as no surprise that the cannabis industry and the legalization of marijuana are yet another barrier that Black business owners face. A new report released by Grand View Research, Inc stated that the global legal marijuana market size is expected to reach $73.6 billion by 2027. However, many states have very specific guidelines that stand as barriers for many people of color looking to get into the cannabis business, and Black and brown people are still serving harsher sentences for the possession and distribution of drugs than their white counterparts.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Adrienne Banfield-Norris & The Co-Creators Of 'Black Love' On What To Expect From The Final Season

Adrienne Banfield-Norris & The Co-Creators Of 'Black Love' On What To Expect From The Final Season

Couples share their love stories for a finale that inspires and empowers.

Latest Posts