AceShowbiz - Singer Lauren Alaina realised she had to call off her engagement to her high school sweetheart as she came to terms with the death of her stepfather at a therapy retreat.
The former "American Idol" star began dating Alex Hopkins back in 2013, and they announced plans to wed last summer (18).
However, the young couple decided to end its relationship in January, and now Lauren has revealed her moment of clarity came as she sought counselling help at Onsite Workshops near Nashville, Tennessee, where she enrolled in a residential therapy programme at the start of the year.
The musician initially wanted help healing following the loss of her beloved stepdad Sam Ramker, who died from cancer in October (18), but digging deeper into her emotional state and past traumas also forced Lauren to confront her real feelings about marriage to Alex.
"It changed my life in every way...," she explained of Onsite Workshops on the All Our Favorite People podcast. "Last year was intense: I lost my stepdad... and I had... some deaths in my early childhood... that I never dealt with, and then my dad was an alcoholic; just a lot of things that I didn't even realise... how they can affect you as an adult..."
Lauren came to understand that she and Alex weren't meant to be, despite their efforts to salvage their romance. "Alex and I kinda both knew it (wedding) wasn't gonna happen," she admitted. "We fought with it for a while, we tried. I think we both knew it wasn't right..."
"We started dating at 17, and we're now 24 years old," Lauren continued. "We're very different people, and we have different goals, and we want to go different places in life..."
Despite the heartbreak, the star insists she will always cherish their relationship. "I'll love him until the day that I die...," she shared. "I will never look back on our time together and think that it was a waste, ever, because he was such an important person in my life, but that just doesn't make him the person that I'm supposed to be with forever."
As for her dating future, Lauren confesses she has a lot to learn, because she's a complete novice.
"It's been very interesting because I've only ever dated Alex...," she said. "I make a lot of jokes about not knowing how to date. I'm like, what do I do? How do I even meet people...? It's problematic. It's not a skill that I have... I'm so awkward! I'm a very flirty person in general... (but) I've never had to flirt with intent."
Lauren will have some extra opportunities to meet new people as she is currently on tour, with her next live show taking place in Iowa on Thursday, March 14.