Given those points, I'm going to put it plainly and without many details: Ben and I formally separated at the beginning of September. It was not my choice, nor was it expected. It has been a hell of a year and, although things have evolved and gone back-and-forth emotionally, we do not intend to get back together. We are still on good terms as and when we see each other.
I won't be writing about this again except for in the context of me staying in the US and how my journey may continue here. I appreciate that this may be a rude awakening of a post, and it may seem odd to mention it and not explain further, but I hope my reasoning makes sense to anyone reading. I am lucky enough to have the most incredible family of friends here (who have carried me through this time in every possible way, and I cannot express my gratitude and love enough for that), my gorgeous pups, a lovely house, and a fantastic job. I am okay. My amazing family and friends in England have been wonderful in their support, constant availability regardless of time differences, and understanding that I (USCIS-willing) intend on staying in Charlotte. I have a home here, and my heart senses that this is where I want to be.
I'll leave you with what is probably my most deeply-loved proverb, a quotation from the movie 'Strictly Ballroom', and a mantra that I continue to try to live by. Being braver has brought me so many beautiful things that I do not regret, and would not have been lucky enough to share and experience had I been too scared to try. Always try.
"Vivir con miedo es como vivir a medias." - A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.