A young heterosexual couple at a party.

Sometimes when you’ve been with the same person for several years, the relationship can start to feel stale. That crazy, all-consuming passion fades and you transition into a different kind of love.

It was around the four-year mark that I started to feel like this with Sam. Our honeymoon period was over and I felt like we were both taking each other for granted. To put it simply, we were in a rut.

At the same time, I was feeling really disillusioned with other parts of my life. I was burnt out from working as a journalist at a daily newspaper. I was hating living on the Gold Coast and I desperately needed a change. When a friend invited me to do a working holiday in Canada, I leapt at the chance.

‘Our honeymoon period was over, and I felt like we were both taking each other for granted’: Melissa and Sam in the early days of their relationship

Sam and I tried doing long distance initially, but I felt like it wasn’t working. I was completely lost and thought that being young, I should see the world and find my feet on my own, so I broke it off.

A few weeks after that, I found out on social media that Sam had met someone else. One of his relatives shared a post alluding to seeing Sam and a female, and after some digging I realised he had a new girlfriend. I was utterly shattered to think he had moved on without me. I couldn’t eat. I barely slept. I drove my flatmates nuts crying all the time and behaving like a woman possessed.

I knew that I was being completely unfair and selfish. After all, I had broken Sam’s heart and he had rightfully moved on and met someone else. But I couldn’t help the way I felt.

Somewhere in the depths of my despair, I had a realisation: Sam was the one, but I had pushed him away all because I was young and didn’t really understand how real love shifts and evolves with time. That real love is not always rainbows and butterflies – you have to work at it.

I booked a flight home and called him to say I was coming back. It was one of the hardest phone calls of my life; I was so nervous about what he’d say. I think deep down he wanted it to work too and he agreed to give it another shot.

He was there waiting for me at the arrivals gate. I’ll never forget it. He had lost so much weight and looked like a shell of the person I’d left behind. My heart broke with guilt. We kissed in the terminal, tears streaming down our faces.

It took time to repair the damage I’d done, but Sam ended up forgiving me. A few months later, we began a new chapter of our relationship when he joined me in Canada. We spent three magical years travelling together, making unforgettable memories, from skinny-dipping on a beach in Rio after a few too many caipirinhas to exploring the desert on the backs of camels in Morocco. It turns out you don’t need to see the world alone as a rite of passage – you can do it with the person you love beside you.

Sam and I have now been married almost a decade. We have three beautiful children together. I am so grateful to have him as my life partner. Our love has gone through many different stages, deepening with each hurdle we clear together.

To this day, I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d never seen that post on social media, never put two and two together that he had met someone else. It was a sliding door moment that changed the course of my life – for the better.

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