My Most Painful Break-Up And How I’m Dealing With Being A Single Girl In My 30s

This is a story about my first true love. It’s a beautiful story that has given me many fond memories, but it is also a sad story. Heart-breaking in fact. This post is for all of those who have loved and lost…
Joseph Young

Like the plethora of other women in their 30s, I am driven and career focused…and single. I didn’t plan it this way, in fact I thought I had found ‘the one’ at the tender age of 23 when I was living in Sydney…and so did my family and friends. I truly believed I would be getting married to this guy, and I could not have been happier!

Going For Gold

This guy, let’s call him Robbie, came into my life at a time when I was really searching and yearning to be with someone. I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my sister Candi not long before I met Robbie, telling her how desperately I wanted to meet someone – I had been single for two and a half years and was over it. My sisters’ advice was to be patient and to “go for gold”. Those three words really stuck with me, and I made myself believe I would find that pot of gold at any moment…and I did, shortly after at my friends’ neighbor’s apartment one evening after we had finished a promo job for some delightful alcohol company, still decked out in our rather frightening promotional attire.

And oh my, did my heart skip a beat when I first saw his gorgeous face. I was completely infatuated with him from that very first moment. I’m almost certain if anyone had walked between us they would have been struck by the sparks flying! We immediately engaged in conversation and quickly discovered we were both from Perth…and oh my, did I tell you how gorgeous he was?

When my friends wanted to leave, I tried subtly yet desperately to shoot them that look of “if you make us leave now I will have to kill you”, but it didn’t work as the next thing I knew I was saying goodbye to this incredibly down to earth, attractive, electrician and surfer from my hometown who had blonde hair, blue eyes and the most gorgeous set of lips I had ever seen.

In the car on our way home, I begged my friend, Rich, to pass my number onto Robbie – I must have told him at least 5 times! As I got out of the car and said my goodbyes, I then shouted to Rich…“and don’t forget to give my number to the hot sparky…pleeeease!!!” Ok, so I may have been a little too eager and crossing the cardinal rule of ‘chasing a guy instead of letting him chase you’, but I was smitten.

Butterflies In My Stomach

Two days later I got a phone call. I remember the moment exactly. I was walking home with my flatmate, Clementine, shopping in hand when my phone rang. It was him. All of a sudden my voice became high pitch and I was breathless and super conscious – he made me nervous. After a bit of general chit chat, Robbie, in an extremely polite fashion, asked me out on a date. I was ecstatic!

It was a Thursday night when Robbie and I had our first date. He picked me up in his new Ute (there’s something about a man who drives a Ute!) and took me to a beautiful French restaurant in Darlinghurst. I remember thinking how cute it was that he looked rather nervous about parallel parking his car…the tiny beads of sweat were a giveaway. Or maybe he was just as nervous as I was about our date!

All through dinner I remember staring at him in disbelief. I had never sat across the table from a man as attractive as Robbie. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time and had to force my food down from my loss of appetite! After dinner we went to one of my favourite bars on Oxford St that had a DJ playing some cool tunes. I didn’t want the night to end, especially after he kissed me which made me weak at my knees…

When I woke up the next day, I already had a message from Robbie telling me what a great night he had with me. I ran straight into Clementine’s bedroom to gloat about my perfect first date! I was deliriously happy!

Robbie and I had planned to meet up again on Saturday night, which seemed like forever away. I had already planned a night out with Clementine and some of our girlfriends at the Slip Inn nightclub in Darling Harbour, so Robbie said he would meet us there. I couldn’t wait to introduce him to my friends!

I was on the dance floor when Robbie called me to tell me he was here. Hearing his voice immediately gave me butterflies. I was so excited to see him again! I told him where we were, and I will never forget the look on my friend’s faces when they saw him. When Robbie went to the bar to get us both a drink, I turned back to my friends who were all practically jumping up and down and giggling like teenagers…I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

From that night on, Robbie and I were inseparable. For the next 13 months we were only apart a handful of times…we were so deeply and intensely in love. He was my soul mate and I never thought I could love someone as much as I loved Robbie. He was my everything and treated me like a princess the entire time we were together. He’d often surprise me with flowers, always when I’d least expect it, and hearing him say those words “I love you” and “you’re the most beautiful girl I know”, never grew old. He loved me so much.

The Unexpected…

A few weeks after our one year anniversary, my mum came to stay with me and my eldest sister Katherine (who I was now living with).

When I was at work one evening waiting for Robbie to pick me up, I could not have ever guessed what earth shattering pain I was about to endure…

As we were driving to meet some of our friends in Bondi, I thought Robbie seemed not quite himself but I didn’t think much of it. Later in the evening, we had a petty disagreement, which was a rarity, so decided to leave our friends and grab some dinner alone.

We agreed on some Chinese takeaway and as we were waiting for it, Robbie’s mood completely changed and for the first time, I was worried. As we left and began walking down the street, Robbie opened up his mouth and began to say something that made my heart drop and panic set in and I quickly blurted out “oh my god, you’re not breaking up with me are you?” Robbie looked at me with apprehension, and said, “I think I am baby”.

I immediately collapsed to the ground and began to cry but no tears were coming out as I was in utter shock and disbelief. My heart felt like it had been shattered to a thousand pieces. Robbie picked me up and cradled me as we walked up the street to his apartment.

The tears were in full swing by this stage and I was a complete and utter blubbering mess. I kept saying I didn’t understand and why would he do this as I thought we were both still so in love. I begged him not to do this and told him I thought we would marry each other one day, but all he could say as tears now streamed down his face, was “I hope I’m not making the biggest mistake of my life”. I was so confused and wanted this nightmare to be exactly that…a nightmare that I’d eventually wake up from.

I spent the night with him, which was like torture but I wasn’t ready to leave my soul mate. When he left to go to work early in the morning it really felt like we were saying goodbye, and the pain was unbearable. I knew I would have to go home and tell my mum and sister, but I couldn’t face them yet so stayed in his bed for half of the day.

The pain I experienced was like an unexpected death of a loved one…completely out of the blue and devastating. Even having my mum in town to console me couldn’t take one iota of the pain away. I kept saying to mum “but he was my soul mate, I will never find love like this again”. And my mum, the wise woman that she is, said to me “darling, you can have more than one soul mate in a lifetime, your next soul mate is out there waiting for you.” I truly had never thought of that and at the time, didn’t want to hear it. But these days I fervently believe it.

Two months after the break-up and still suffering miserably and terribly skinny from the emotional stress, one of my closest male friends at the time, Ivan, loaned me $1000 so I could get the hell outta town. I had negotiated a modeling contract in Tokyo but needed a bit of money behind me to be able to leave, so Ivan kindly offered to help me out. I left for 6 months, spending 3 months working in Tokyo and Osaka and then flew to Bangkok where I worked for a further 3 months. I had an incredible time, many memorable experiences including a few ‘flings’ in an attempt to try and ‘move on’ and fill the void. I thought I was ready to move back to Sydney.

When I arrived back in town, my sister was now living in Perth and although I had my friends, I felt very much alone. I saw Robbie out a few times as we still had a lot of mutual friends (friends I had introduced him to which pissed me off no end as he had bonded even more with a few of them in my absence). This was always a struggle, and sadly bitterness had developed between us which was an outcome of the pain.

A few months later not long before my 25th birthday, I flew down to Melbourne for a stint of modelling work and never returned to Sydney to live again. That was 10 years ago now! I still go back every year to visit friends, but it never feels the same. I’m always fighting sadness when I go back there. It’s buried deep within my molecules of emotion.

I reckon it took me a good 6 years to get over Robbie. Two years after we broke up, I had a whirlwind romance with a dashing German pilot named Mathias (a very romantic story I have written about here), but because I had put Robbie up on a pedestal, it made it nearly impossible for Mathias to live up to my expectations. There were lots of other reasons why it didn’t work, but I’m sure my feelings for Robbie didn’t help.

If I had my time again I would have tried desperately to snap out of it and move on, but it’s easy for me to say that now as I’m older and more mature and looking at the situation in hindsight. But I can honestly say that break-up affected me so deeply that I’m certain it has contributed to me being single on and off for so many years.

Not so much since I turned 30 however, I’ve definitely been over it for the last 3 or 4 years. I think I’m still single now as for the last few years when I was living in Melbourne, I was very unhappy. I’ve written about this here.

I have to confess, man is it hard being a single girl in your 30s! It seems to me that guys these days have waaay too many choices! And there’s not as much hunting going on the way it should be. What I mean is the masculine/feminine dynamics are out of whack.

It seems more women these days are doing the hunting in an almost desperate attempt to nab a mate. I know too many single and beautiful women in their 30s who are struggling big time to find a partner. And it almost feels competitive. A lot of these women live in fear…fear of having to settle, fear of it not working out, fear of the dating game, fear of time running out and not being able to bear children…the list goes on. It’s a sad and lonely time for these women, and I’ve definitely been there at times myself (I’m sure the single blokes out there will have a different opinion on this).

Having said that though, I personally feel like I’m in a good space. I’m loving life and the career I’m building and I’m happy and excited about my future and truly feel open and ready to find love again…and who knows, that ‘pot of gold’ could be just around the corner!

P.S. This post was written on July 16th, 2012. I’m very excited and deliriously happy to announce that as of November 27th 2013, I fell deeply in love with my next soul mate and we became parents to our beautiful baby girl in April 2016 :-). You can read my story of how we met here. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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