I Lost My Partner, Job and Home in One Fell Swoop

The winning submission of September’s Writers Club prompt!

Collage by Edith Young; photos by Bettman and Patrick Demarchelier/Conde Nast/Contour via Getty Images. 

My phone pinged on my way to work: It was a meeting invite from my director for 9:30 a.m. that same morning. Weird. Our weekly check-in was yesterday. My heart rocked in my chest as I quickened my pace. At the conference room table, my director and our CTO sat on the same side, a piece of paper between them. Fuck. The company was losing money and non-essential personnel would be let go, effective immediately. Tears smarted in my eyes and then fell in ample waves down my cheeks. I signed the termination letter.

The rest of the day, I roamed through the city with no sense of a destination, doubled down on my anxiety and hit shuffle on my mental playlist of worries. In four weeks time, I was planning to move out of the apartment I shared with my boyfriend. He was bound for Chicago and I’d already planned to spend a month at my mom’s in the suburbs until I secured a new place to live. He and I had recently made the joint decision to separate; it was a choice the two of us lauded as a mature while burying our grief for a relationship we just couldn’t support anymore.

And now I was unemployed.

All at once, I lost what had rooted me for so long: who I loved, where I lived, what I did. I felt alone, small, unsteady. With no significant other, work or space of my own, there were few things to distract from their all-encompassing absence. I collected unemployment, scanned endless job boards and started doing temp work, anxious for some semblance of structure.

Some days, I was able to convince myself this was all an opportunity to do something better, a clean slate for a fresh story. But most days, I doubted this new reality would ever feel normal. Most days, I wished for the ability to time-travel back to the snug security of the past.

Very slowly though, I started to adapt. Through temping, I found a permanent position in a field that had always intrigued me and took comfort in a new job better than my last. Eager for any sense of purpose, I took up running, stopped drinking, volunteered. After many months at my mother’s, longing for independence, I found a charming city apartment full of roommates. A month after that, I went on my first date since my ex moved away.

One year on and I still have to remind myself this is my new normal: a residual side-effect, perhaps, of rapid-fire life changes. But one year on and I’m no longer defined by my job, my partner, my home. I’ve rediscovered a dormant resilience, a long-forgotten sense of self, a sum greater than its parts. One year on and what I once considered a massive loss, I now see as a veiled boon.

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  • Happy for you.

  • Connie Keane

    You go girl! The world is your oyster!

  • Martina Keane O’Neill

    You’ve come a long way from the insecure girl who left Norwood park doubting her future . You are such a strong young lady and though you are younger than me I look up to you so much for chasing your dreams x

  • A massive wohoo! for not letting that situation make you drown in self-pity. These are the kinds of empowering stories I think we should celebrate way more, thanks for sharing!

  • Joanne Putt

    You go Gurl!! So proud of you x

  • garnishmywages

    Yes, that is why women should not be afraid to leave a man/relationship that is not right for them. You did it, it can be hard to get to independence, but you kept going and made it work. Yay for your new Life!

  • Nat

    love this. I am currently in a very similar limbo-period of life, and this gives me genuine hope for the future me. thx for sharing!!!

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  • Zehra

    It’s hard to see the positive in such times but being resilient is the only way and you were clearly that. The sun always comes up 🙂 and that faith keeps us going

  • Daeyz

    Love stories like these, so empowering, and beautiful. Thank you for sharing.


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  • Senka

    This is a good read at this moment for me. I didn’t lose my job, or home. But I recently lost my best friend, who was my ex. Exes and friendship is usually a bad thing, loaded with emotions, past hurt and memories, but while battling with depression and loss, I hung on to the one person that knew me best. It ended ugly. With insults, nasty words, and now I feel lonely and a bit betrayed, because he’s the only other close person, other than my parents I talked to about my mental health issues.
    But it’s a clear sign I need to try harder. Include more people, more activities, even when it’s hard, and I don’t feel like it.
    I’m probably not as young as the author of this text, but uplifting stories know no age difference, and help.
    Thank you!

  • I love this!

  • Flic

    So much yes for this. Had a similar thing a few years ago… lost my boyfriend’s dad to cancer, almost broke up with said boyfriend through the trauma, moved 100 miles back home for ultimate dream job, fired 3 months in. Boyfriend now husband, career (fairly!) steady and I have a new sense of what is important. Thanks for sharing, you’re a total boss of your bad self. xoxo

  • Amazing and inspiring! I’m in the limbo-period now and reading this makes me feel empowered to continue! Thank you so much and congratulations

  • Diana Le

    Love this. It reminds me of this C.S. Lewis quote I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” <3

  • This makes so much sense. Thank you for sharing!

  • lauren

    Wow, I feel like I was reading my own story here. Quit my job, divorced, and was “homeless” for several months while searching for new jobs all at the same time. It was quite possibly the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced and “new normal” now is right. I’m also one year in…THIS. All of this gave me chills. “But one year on and I’m no longer defined by my job, my partner, my home. I’ve rediscovered a dormant resilience, a long-forgotten sense of self, a sum greater than its parts.” I hear you, I feel you. Its amazing the things I identified as “who I was” before….my partner, our home, my job…and so many of the things I clinged to and cared about then feel so irrelevant now. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Rasa Makaraityte

    I lost my partner, job and home – all at once just few months ago. That moment I was feeling DESTROYED – being all alone in a foreign country with no money left and no family. Yet, everyone was telling me I will be alright. I thought – how dare you to tell me that if I have only 5 euros left in my bank account?! I was even thinking of leaving Rome and just going back home to Lithuania, where I do have a family and where I could get a job easily. But I said NO! I will create my own la dolce vita here, in a city, where nothing works, but pizza and pasta taste so delicious. I thought I will not make it. Passed three months. Maybe four. I am living with two wonderful flatmates. Searching for another creative job, because the one I have right now is still not enough. Preparing my paints and illustrations for a personal exhibition. Doing creative things, filming videos. Started to write a blog! MOVING ON. EVEN SMILING AGAIN! SOMETIMES LAUGHING. I am still CREATING my life, I still have so many things to achieve. Slowly slowly, but it’s happening. So, girls, no matter how hard it seems – believe me. IT IS HARD. But you will be ALRIGHT. Just try and believe that you CAN do it. And don’t stop. You can kill yourself when you are very old and absolutely bored. But not right now 🙂