{Love Story Part 1} When I Lost Sight of Love

wrightsville beach, abla

After posting our “abridged” love story, I promised to one day write Ryan and I’s full love story. But in order to tell our love story, I have to start with my history with love. You see, every good love story has a good back story. It makes it all that more special when you know the journey that led the lovers to each other. So this is part of my story.

The part of my story that is all my own. The part of my story that has shaped me into the woman I have become. The part of my story that left me wounded.

The part of my story that in time redefined my definition of love.

Let’s go back in time to when I was engaged to a different man, no boy. Yes, I was engaged before during a time that feels like a lifetime ago. You see, four years ago I had a completely different life in Chicago and was preparing myself for a future that looks so different from where I am now.

My old story began back in 2004. I met my ex in college when we were silly and free – still kids at heart. We dated for 5 years. After I graduated I accepted a job in Annapolis to be close to him as he was still in college. Two years later, we moved in together. He was my first adult love. But, I was ready to grow up and he was still maturing. Things were not perfect, but after we had been together for so long the next logical step seemed to get married. We got engaged in the winter of 2008 and I was happy. I do remember being happy, it’s hard to see myself like that now, knowing what was to come. I dove into wedding planning. We picked a date, a venue, and vendors. We were moving ahead, together.

The future was looking bright. He had a job offer in Chicago and after some very careful planning, negotiating, and talking we decided together that this was the right move for us. I would quit my job and move to Chicago for him. So, in the Spring of 2009 I packed up my life and moved half way across the country, putting all my faith into our future together. It was so hard to say goodbye to my friends, my family, my beloved east coast. But, as the die-hard romantic that I am, I trusted my heart and my love.

My time in Chicago was a big adjustment. I missed my family, I missed my friends, I missed any sign of normalcy. Even he started to change. It was scary but I tried to stay positive.

Then, during the week of September 28, 2009, the world as I knew it ended. I was vacationing for a week at my favorite beach in NC, Wrightsville Beach with my mom and two of her girlfriends. During this time, my brother and his wife lived there as well. The beach is where I feel the most serene – so I was ecstatic to leave the already chilly Chicago on a plane to go see my mom at the sunny and warm beach.

katie all smiles at the beach

He stayed behind – as this as a girls’ trip. After my second day there, I knew something was up. He wasn’t answering any of my phone calls. Even after I left frantic messages and called his parents. As the worrier that I am, I was picturing the worst. My mind was creating images of him lying dead on the floor while Maggie cried and licked his face.

My fun in the sun was halted, because I just knew, in my gut that something was not right. Two days later and he was still not answering any messages, from me or his parents. I was mad, I was scared, I was full of rage.

Yet, I tried to keep smiling.

And then, 5 days into my trip I received the phone call that changed everything. We were out at a nice group dinner at a Thai restaurant. I loved this restaurant and was so mad that he was ruining this for me.

indochine dinner

It had been five days since I had talked to him. Every single tear filled voice message was left ignored. I must have left around 20. And then, during that dinner, my phone rang.

Writing this makes my hands shake and causes my stomach to do flips. Not that I’m still hurt – but just because I can still remember being that girl. I can still feel how it felt to step outside of the restaurant and hear my fiance that I love say, “I don’t want to marry you anymore. I don’t think I love you anymore.”

I no longer remember what I said. Or how I initially reacted. I do remember feeling nauseous. I do remember feeling like this couldn’t be true. I do remember feeling like everything inside of me turned into dust and disintegrated. I do remember walking back into the restaurant and trying to smile but the tears streamed down my face uncontrollably.

That evening, I sat on my bed and screamed and cried while my mom rubbed my back. What a blessing to be with her when I received this news. I was hysterical and nothing could help me.

After everyone else went to bed, I sat on the deck facing the ocean and it is so quiet except for the sound of the crashing waves which is competing with the pounding of my heart. My pain seems to take up the whole beach and ocean and I feel so alone, drowning in it.


I called my best friend around 2 am and she picked up and listened. She was so supportive and insisted that it couldn’t be over. But, telling someone else only made it more of a fact – I knew that this part of my life had concluded.

If only I had known then that it was only that, a part, a small segment, of my life that was over. In that moment it felt like all was lost.

I had built my life around him. I had left my job, a city I loved, my friends, my family, my everything to be with him. I had no idea who I was without him. It was like someone had died. Five years of my life vanished. The memories, the laughs, the love were all a waste. My heart was ripped out and discarded. As I sat there listening to the waves crash on the shore, I imagined myself as a lifeless piece of seaweed getting pulled under the current and pushed out to sea, never to see these shores again.

I couldn’t imagine facing him. I couldn’t imagine even facing my own heart. I had no idea how I was going to make my way back on a plane in two days and confront my future.

I didn’t know what love was anymore.

And, more importantly, I was afraid I didn’t know who I was anymore.

Stay tuned for {Love Story Part 2} Rewriting My Story 

xoxo katie





  • Pat

    That was difficult for me to read because I still feel the pain and loss you experienced that week. I am so glad that I was able to be with you and comfort you a little. You did survive the trip home and the following difficult year, and now you are a better person and loved by a wonderful husband. Love you Katie!

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you for always being there for me! This was so hard to write, I was shaking the whole time.

  • Emily Aukett

    Katie, your story hits so close to home for me it’s scary. My ex, who I had been living with, on a wednesday (not like I remember or anything haha) emailed me to say that he loved me and asked what was for dinner that night. When I got home that evening he was sitting in a chair in the family room with a bag packed and told me he was leaving and we were over. Nothing led up to it, no valid explanation. Just that he didn’t love me anymore and he couldn’t be with me. I drove home to my parents that night in a complete haze and cried at the kitchen table. The next day I attempted to go to work, but was send home, considering my zombie-like status. I got an email from him that afternoon telling me he knew I was off work the next day and that he was bringing “his family and friends” to our place to move his stuff out. I was mortified. The next day, my parents and my best friend all took off work and we were all sitting on the couch when he paraded in with his crew to pack. He is now married to the girl he apparently left me for. Good riddance.

    • kwalshmac

      Yes! GOOD RIDDANCE! I’m so sorry that you had to go through a similar heartbreak – but like me, it led you to your husband and hopefully loving yourself more. Thank goodness for the support of loyal family and friends.

  • Oh my goodness. That is so sad but at the same time I can relate because I went through something similar. I was with a guy for my high school and after graduation he asked me to marry him. I said yes but it didn’t take long to find out it was wrong. One day I will post my whole story. I totally feel you though.

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you. I’m glad that you realized your mistake before it was too late. You live and you learn – it’s just too bad that such intense heartbreak has to be part of the lesson.

  • Oh wow! I’m glad to know you are clearly better off without him but I can’t imagine going through that, especially after you uprooted your life for him!

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you, Lauren. And yes, WAY better off and it led me to my husband and a better awareness of who I am.

  • Ryan

    I can only imagine what you went through and how much it took to write this. I’m glad you were able to make it through telling this part of the story. I can’t wait to read part 2 and can’t wait to continue making wonderful memories with you and our family. Love you!

    • kwalshmac

      Proud of my story and my wounds because it led me to you! Can’t wait to get to the fun part of the story 🙂 and, the best is yet to come!

  • Wow Katie….I’m sorry you had to go through this. I can’t imagine how you must have felt. I’m sure it’s made you a stronger person though and look at you now! So so happy. Everything really does happen for a reason:) You’re so brave to have written this. xo Donna

    • kwalshmac

      Thanks Donna – This needed to be written and I am thankful to look at it as a blessing because it led me to my husband and the stronger woman I am today. xoxo

  • Oh Katie. You’ve touched my heart in such a deep, sad, but hopeful way here. Seriously, there’s something about this that just breaks me and warms me all at once… I think it’s because your vulnerability is phenomenal and I feel your heartbreak, but hear your hope. I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE REST.

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you, it’s nice to hear that, because this was a story I needed to tell. Hope is essential!!!

  • This heart breaking and beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad there’s a part two and that I know it ends happily. 🙂

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you, it was time that I write this. And, yes, thank god for happy endings

  • Pingback: {Love Story} Part 3: Second Chances | A Beautiful Little Adventure()

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  • Your story hit close to home for me. I was engaged before to a boy that wasn’t ready for marriage. I fell in love with him at 16, we started dating when I was 19 and we broke up three days before Christmas when I was 22. It was extremely painful and it was hard, but things are starting to turn around for me. I’m glad they did for you!

    • kwalshmac

      Oh Amber, I’m sorry to hear about your heartbreak. How terrible that it was a few days before Christmas! I’m glad things are starting to come around. Stay true to yourself and remember you are a person that deserves love. Don’t settle for anything but that. Things will work out!