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Simply Solo Spotlight: Leaving the Past Behind

May 10, 2011

Today’s guest post is inspiring. And a little daunting. But mostly, it makes me remember to take chances and to believe in myself, first and foremost. Before we get to the post, let me tell you about who wrote it.

Debbie Lamedman is a playwright and freelance writer. Debbie writes for and Confessions of a Cluttered Mind. When you are done reading her guest post, be sure to check her out!

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at:

Leaving the Past Behind 

Inspirational poster - don't be afraid of change

Photo courtesy of

Like all single gals, I have my horror stories of past relationships. I’ve gotten my heart broken more times than I care to count, but that’s because I’m a sensitive gal and I wear my heart on my sleeve. And like many of you, I’ve gone through my dry spells, my promiscuous periods, and finally, after expending a lot of energy, I think I can safely say that I am calming down and learning to be content with just me for company.

I ended a four-year relationship about a year and a half ago and let me tell you … this latest relationship was a whopper. The granddaddy of them all. More ups and downs than a heart-racing roller coaster. It was unhealthy and I was miserable while I was in it. When I look back (and hind-sight is 20/20, as they say), I wonder why I stayed so long in a destructive relationship. The first six months were wonderful, but for the subsequent three years that followed, I was pretty unhappy. It’s hard to say why I stayed. And I won’t deny that I was probably a bit addicted to this man. I was always waiting for it to be good again, like it was in the beginning. But that never happened.

Other factors were changing dramatically in my life; namely my career. I was feeling dreadfully stuck and after I finally had the courage to walk away from a bad relationship, I was feeling very anxious to make a major change. A geographical change. Now, that being said, I realized then, and I realize now, that moving away doesn’t mean you leave your problems behind. Not even close. Those problems, unfortunately, come with you. But I also knew that I needed a fresh start and I wanted the chance to be in a new place, a new city, where every restaurant and movie theatre didn’t constantly remind me of him. I’m not saying that I was running away, but I did know that if something in my current situation didn’t change dramatically, I would sink deeper and deeper into despair.

About this time, I reunited with an old friend who had recently made a move from the city I was living in to another city about 1,000 miles away. I had never been to that city, but I had always wanted to go and had heard good things about it. My friend invited me to stay with her and check it out and see if I liked it. She told me she thought I was very well-suited to this place and she could see me living there. So I decided I had nothing to lose, and off I went.

Fast forward one year later, and I am happily and contentedly living in my new city. Moving is probably one of the most traumatic changes a person can make. But it’s also incredibly rejuvenating to start from square one. Scary? You bet it was scary. I cannot tell you how often I cried and how many times I questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing. But I continually went over the details in my head as to what brought me to this new place in my life. It was a leap of faith and I’m very glad I took it. I have a clear conscience that I was not running away from a man or my problems. I had gone as far as I could go career-wise and relationship-wise in the old place, and I knew intuitively it was time for a major change.

Sometimes you need to shake up your life. You cannot get complacent or you won’t move forward. It can be hard starting over, but I had nothing to lose. I am loving my new city and I’ve been challenging myself to get out in the world, to show up for life and in doing so, I’m meeting new people and establishing new social and professional contacts. I’m just about ready to start dating again, but that’s not a priority yet.

Let’s face it—making a huge move like this is not for everyone. But for me, the timing was right, the motivation to make the change was right; I saw an opportunity and I took it. I’m single in a new city and for the first time in a very long time, I really like who I am and the risks I chose to take to get to this point. What risks are you willing to take to make a change for the better?

19 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2011 8:48 am

    We stay in bad relationships because we have hope, misguided though it may be. I wish you much love and luck in your new city. I have been thinking, just thinking, about moving but I probably won’t until the granddaughters are in college and away. Being close to my daughter is just too painful. Good luck with the move.

    • May 10, 2011 1:33 pm

      Thank you for your good wishes. This choice is not for everyone…everything needs to be aligned before you can make the leap. If you don’t feel right about it, it’s probably not a good idea.

  2. May 10, 2011 10:03 am

    Good for her for getting out and away. Starting a fresh somewhere new is rarely running away. Sounds like it was exactly the kick start she needed to start living again. We only get this chance one, gotta seize every opportunity 🙂

    • May 10, 2011 1:34 pm

      Thanks Rhi! You’re absolutely right–we need to seize the opportunity when opportunity presents itself. I’m very glad I was able to do just that!

  3. May 10, 2011 11:53 am

    This is such a great post, Debbie, thank you for writing for my blog. When my ex and I broke up, my gut told me I needed to get away from this place. There were just too many memories of him and our time together. However, what I needed the most as I cancelled my wedding and ended the 7-year relationship was the support of my family/friends, and I couldn’t fathom living so far away from them. And, I loved my job, and wasn’t ready to give it up.

    I think it took great courage to do what you did. Part of me wishes I did the same, but then another part of me is happy where I am now and have been able to move past many of the issues. It’s a tough decision but I do find your guest post to be very inspiring!

    “I was always waiting for it to be good again, like it was in the beginning. But that never happened.”

    I think so many of us are guilty of doing this in a relationship. It’s actually a pretty easy mistake to make. Especially when the beginning is almost storybook good, it’s really hard to let it go.

    • May 10, 2011 1:37 pm

      Thank YOU for the opportunity to write for this wonderful blog. I’m so happy to be able to contribute! Staying or leaving both take courage. You have to determine what is right for you. My move was not impulsive…if it had been, I would still be miserable. But it was well-thought out, and now I’m feeling content for the first time in a long time. You obviously showed strength and courage by staying and working through the difficulties. I’m glad this post inspired you, and please know that your blog is highly inspirational to me and so many others.

  4. May 10, 2011 12:43 pm

    Debbie, loved your post, and boy I can relate! It’s easy to get stuck, and to not really question the choices we make, because change is scary. BUT, as you said:

    “Sometimes you need to shake up your life. You cannot get complacent or you won’t move forward.”

    I agree wholeheartedly with this, and with Catherine’s comment. Best wishes to you on your journey!

    • May 10, 2011 1:39 pm

      Thanks KD for your good wishes. You’re so right! “It’s easy to get stuck.” More often than not, we need to push ourselves. For me, I need to trust my instinct and listen to my gut. It’s usually right. Thankfully, in regard to moving to a new city, my instincts were definitely right!

  5. May 10, 2011 4:30 pm

    Wow Debbie, I can completely relate. Was in a similar situation, moved across the globe 6months ago and have been doubting myself and the reasons why I moved. Reading your story made me realise that it’s completely normal to feel what I feel and that I too had reached a very stagnant point my life. I think I somehow expected to be the same despte everything else around me changing, but now I know better:). All the best. ~Nqobile

    • May 10, 2011 5:03 pm

      In my experience, I think we look back in an attempt to feel safe or comforted. Obviously, we knew what the past held for us, but we never know what the future will bring. Congrats to you for making such a huge move. It’s natural for you to be second-guessing yourself. You said, ” I expected to be the same, despite everything else around me changing…”That’s the beauty of a new situation…you can open yourself up to all sorts of wonderful changes, and in turn you will change–hopefully for the better! Best of luck to you in your new locale.

  6. May 10, 2011 10:48 pm

    I have been tempted to pull up stakes myself and head for a brand new part of the world, because this is where my marriage ended. In my case though, with joint custody of the kids, that can’t happen until they’re both grown and on their own, at least another 7 years from now. It’s nice to dream, though…

  7. May 11, 2011 12:12 am

    Well, keep the dream alive Mark. It can happen. Only you will know when the time is right…

  8. May 11, 2011 5:36 am

    Well after reading about your story I feel ….how much strength you have girl ?! You have won over your problems and have achieved a new place in this world , I wish you all the success and glory . Well coming to your question , I haven’t really made any significant change in my life off late and that is the reason why probably I feel stuck , your right sometimes we need to shake up our lives. Geographical change is anytime a big change one can have but if the cause behind it is too relevant and strong one must do exactly what you did. What I feel is things are destined so if change has to happen it will happen.
    How motivated are you? – The test finds out how inspired you really are.

  9. May 11, 2011 6:52 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I can totally relate and hats off to you, Debbie for making such a huge adjustment. It took me about 10 months after the “final” break-up before I could even consider any kind of big change. The first change was the hardest for sure: a new job (I worked with him so it made getting over him a little difficult). The new job required travel on a weekly basis, so it was as close to moving city as I could get without having to leave my friends and loved ones. But now so many other things have changed too, including, I think, my attitude, my level of confidence and my level of comfort with my own company. And almost 2 years on, I am dating again but the anxiety is gone and I can just have fun!

    • May 11, 2011 10:27 pm

      Forgive the cliche, but the truth is that time does heal our wounds and our heartache. But also, changing your attitude is a huge component to creating and accepting change. Sounds like you’re doing just that and I’m glad you’re rid of the anxiety and having some fun! Keep going!

  10. May 11, 2011 10:47 pm

    Thanks for a great post! So easy to relate to all this!
    I’ve stayed in a bad relationship (or several) long past their due dates. Sometimes long past they went irreparably sour. But the power of hoping for love and change is sometimes greater than our ability to rationalize and save ourselves from a painful situation.
    The best thing to do, after such an investment, is what you did. Start over. We can’t really leave our problems or our lives behind, like you said, but we can have a fresh page. Take a breather, push our boundaries, test our courage, and feel alive again. That’s the first step towards the ultimate goal: one day, loving again.

    Here’s to hope and healing!


    • May 12, 2011 8:37 am

      The heart is very resilient. Therefore, after we move forward past a painful relationship it is only a matter of time before we want and need to feel love again. It’s always risky, but it’s part of who we are as human beings to need and want love in our lives. Thanks Larissa!

  11. May 16, 2011 3:18 am

    You are very lucky, in that you got to move away, which almost forces one to start over and that’s what makes it so scary, yet necessary. I’m envious of you! I can relate to your story in so many ways, it was uncanny. Except for the part about being able to move away, which sometimes I wish I could do. But being a college student doesn’t really allow for that to happen 🙂 Anyways, your story spoke to me and makes me want to pursue what’s best for me instead of trapping myself in something that isn’t benefitting me. Bravo.

    • May 18, 2011 8:34 pm

      Bravo to you too! You recognize that you want to pursue what’s best for you! That’s wonderful! If you keep an open mind, and keep moving forward, you’ll avoid trapping yourself. Thanks for your comment!

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