​Experiencing my First Heartbreak

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on April 09, 2021 # Relationships, Lifestyle

By guest blogger Zack Collie

My partner and I met three years ago on an online dating app. I still have the very first message she sent me on my phone. I was so excited to see a message from her. One of the things that instantly stood out and attracted me to her was how she took the initiative and sent me the first message. Usually, it’s the other way around. I remember checking out her profile pictures to see what she looked like, and she was beautiful. We started talking and after a while decided to go on our first date together. She lived an hour away from me. I didn’t drive at the time. I felt bad even asking her to drive to me, but she said she didn’t mind. We went on our first date together in person.Zach and partner in front of pool

I remember being so nervous. Not only were we meeting each other for the first time, but I had to have my parents show her how to lock down my wheelchair in my van. It was a little embarrassing and nerve-racking, to say the least, but the date went perfectly. I shared about my accident and what happened to me. She asked me questions and shared some personal traumas she has been through. After our first date, we continued to talk. Eventually, I asked her to be my girlfriend. A year or so into dating, we decided to move in together to have our own place. Life was great. I was dating a kindhearted and beautiful person. She really cared about me. We started making a life of our own together. A year and a half into dating, I asked her to marry me. She said yes! We were both so happy and excited about our future. We were engaged for a year and a half.

Sadly, at the beginning of March 2021, she ended our relationship. It was not something I was expecting. I’m heartbroken. Even as I’m writing this, I’m still processing our breakup. She was my first real relationship. I never experienced heartbreak before. Emotionally, dealing with this breakup was harder for me than breaking my neck in 2010. I’m not a very emotional person, but I don’t think I had ever cried as much in my life as I did when I realized we were really ending our relationship. Every day is difficult. It feels like a part of me is missing.

I wish I could cry it all out of my system and move on. However, I have realized that the only thing that really makes it better is time when it comes to heartbreak. She did a lot of my care while we lived together. She was the reason we could have our own place. When Covid hit, I lost my part-time caregiver, and everything was on her.

After our breakup, I had to move back home with my family until I figure out how to get myself back in my apartment. I am so grateful to have a supportive family and people around me who care about my well-being. I know that God has a bigger and better plan for me. I am trying my best to focus on Him. He has really help me get through this breakup. I know He would never put me through something I can’t handle. For now, I am going to keep doing what I always do and move forward. I will continue to live by my motto, “I will never give up, I persevere and strive on adversity.”

Zack Collie is living with quadriplegia and was paralyzed in 2010 diving under a wave at Newport Beach breaking his C-4 vertebrae. Zack started a YouTube channel to spread awareness about spinal cord injuries and his life living as one. His mother, Amber Collie, is also a regular blogger for the Reeve Foundation.

This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90PRRC0002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.