A few weeks ago, I wrote a very personal post about my sudden and unexpected break-up. Now that I’ve had some time to heal and reflect, I’m ready to move forward with a new positive outlook and greater clarity on my future goals. So, here’s the answer to the question that nobody really asked: Where do we go from here?
Where Do We Go from Here?
The better question would be “Where do I go from here?”, because I don’t really care where he goes. But, “Where do we go from here” is a Buffy reference, and as we all know, that’s the best show in the history of shows, so I’ll take any excuse to reference it.
As far as the “we” goes, he is moving out at the end of this month. He’s excelling at his job and saving money. He credits me for helping him learn that it’s ok (and even desired!) to have money saved up for an emergency, job loss, or anything else that might happen. He’s focused on learning how to live for himself and be an adult on his own. His main focuses are going to be fixing himself and being there for his daughter.
I’m not mad at him for any of this. I’m happy that I was able to teach him some things about money, and that he’s working to improve himself moving forward. He was definitely right about one thing: he never would have fully taken care of himself knowing that he had me as a safety net. And I don’t want to be anybody’s safety net anymore.
Where Do I Go from Here?
Clearly, this is the most important part. What do I want to do moving forward for myself? It’s not always an easy question to answer. The day after the break-up, I was so confused as to what I wanted that I even applied for a job back in Los Angeles. I left Los Angeles for me, before I even met Brian! Why would I even consider moving back?? I really needed some self-care and evaluation.
The Healing Process
It’s important not to make any drastic decisions in the first few weeks or months following a huge life changing event. You need to take a step back, evaluate where you are and where you want to be, and take time for yourself. I’ve spent the past few weeks doing just that.
One of the most important things I did during this past month was reflect on where I went wrong. Looking back, there were lots of red flags. I didn’t want to see them because I was so happy to be with someone who had some energy! The infatuation high was amazing -especially after being in an emotionally abusive relationship for so long. In hindsight, I definitely shouldn’t have jumped into a new relationship so soon. We should have taken things much slower, and I should have set healthier boundaries.
I’ve been doing a lot of journaling lately about how my lack of boundaries led me to where I am today, and I know that’s something I need to work on for the future. Self-reflection isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it’s essential to the healing process and ensuring that you don’t keep making the same mistakes.
Self-care after a breakup is also definitely a must. For me, the best way to do that was to be with my people. I Booked a flight to Los Angeles and I spent an amazing weekend with my best friends, my sister, and my mom. Being with them was so easy and natural – I felt better than I had in months!
But the trip also reminded me of why I left LA in the first place. It’s crowded, it takes forever to get anywhere, and it’s prohibitively expensive. Although I miss all of my awesome friends, I don’t want to move back. Visiting there really helped me gain that clarity.
What Do I Want To Do?
Staying in Pennsylvania
So many people have asked me if I wanted to stay in Pennsylvania. At first, I wasn’t sure. He was a big part of the reason that I moved here. But, he wasn’t the only reason. The incredibly low cost of living also had a lot to do with it. Not having a mortgage payment gives me the opportunity to save tons of money and pay off my credit card debt – and those things will enable me to quit my job and live the life I want.
To be perfectly honest though, if I didn’t have all my pets I’d be gone already. I’d be applying for a teaching job someplace in Southeast Asia and I’d just take off. But cats don’t travel well, and I could never leave them. They may hold me back, but they are my babies. It’s also a good thing though, because I need at least two more years of working to truly be at Coast Fire, and I think dedicating that much time to this blog while I still have an income coming in will give me a real opportunity to reach Passion Fire.
Living the RV Life
I had to think of a way I could be free to live the life I want (adventure, travel, etc.) while still being able to take care of my darlings. Living the RV lifestyle seems like the ideal solution. They can travel the US with me, but still have the comfort of having their own territory. I also wouldn’t have to worry about having them fly, or any weird regulations that other countries might have about importing animals. And when they all pass on through the rainbow bridge (after living very long, happy, healthy lives), I will start pursuing the international portions of my fire goals.
I’m obviously not in a relationship, but it was important to me to think about what I really want out of a relationship, before getting into a new one. I really do want a partner to pursue all these fire goals with. Although I’m comfortable working towards it on my own, I value companionship and its something that I want to eventually find.
I want to be smarter about it though. Hopping into a relationship with just anyone isn’t going to work. Brian was always very supportive of me doing my blogging thing, but there was always the underlying feeling that he never really believed that I could achieve those goals. He thought it was just a pipe dream. I want to be with someone who not only truly believes in living the FI kinda life, but who actively wants to pursue it with me. I’m sure it won’t be easy to find someone like that, but I’ve realized that I’d rather go at it alone than drag someone kicking and screaming. That’s growth, right?
I also want to thank all my friends and family, both the real-life ones and the online ones, for all of the kind words, support, advice, and love that you have shown me during this transition. The PF community on Twitter has been nothing but amazingly supportive, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it (and to meet a bunch of you at FinCon!).
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.