Entertainment TV 'Today' 's Jill Martin Is Engaged to Ex-Fiancé Erik Brooks Again: We 'Needed to Grow' "When I realized I was confident on my own, that's when I knew Erik and I were ready to get back together," the Today show contributor wrote in a new essay By Dory Jackson Dory Jackson Instagram Twitter Website Dory Jackson is an Associate Editor for PEOPLE's digital TV team. While at the brand, she's had the opportunity to interview a long list of celebrities, from Kate Hudson to Pierce Brosnan to Billy Porter. She also recaps popular TV shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules.The New York-based Maryland native graduated from Randolph-Macon College in May 2016 with a focus in Communication Studies and Journalism. She came to PEOPLE in March 2021 after working at a number of major news companies, including Newsweek and Us Weekly. She also previously co-hosted a podcast called "Idol Nation." People Editorial Guidelines Published on November 22, 2021 02:25 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images Jill Martin and her ex-fiancé Erik Brooks are giving their love another try. Brooks, a managing partner at a private equity firm, previously proposed to the Today show contributor in 2019. But Martin, 45, confirmed the pair's split the following year, telling PEOPLE that maintaining a long-distance relationship amid the COVID-19 pandemic had "taken a toll" on them. Now, Martin has penned an essay detailing the breakup and how their reconciliation came to be. "Deciding to end our engagement last year was heart-wrenching," she wrote on Today.com. "I used to say, 'It literally takes my breath away to picture my life without him.' But our relationship couldn't stay the way it was. We needed a pause. A long pause. And we took it." Martin said "it wasn't working" between the two at the time, and that they were "arguing more than we were getting along." "Energetically, the timing wasn't right," she continued. "We both still needed to grow. It took falling apart to build ourselves back together. I was 44 and honestly didn't know how I was going to go on … but I did. My beautiful family supported me and assured me it would get better." Then, a few months ago, Martin initiated a conversation with her ex for the first time in 18 months. She said Brooks was "shocked" to hear from her but "took time to process that first conversation." "We began to learn about each other again," she continued. "We wanted to make sure this time would be different. Better." Jill Martin and Erik Brooks. Jill Martin/Instagram The Celebrity Engagements of 2021 Now, the two "laugh all the time" together, Martin said. And while they still argue at times, the couple is able to "limit the drama." Their second engagement occurred on a small fishing boat in the Bahamas. Though it was just the two of them, another couple nearby captured the romantic moment for them. "Erik simply said, 'I can't wait to spend the rest of forever with you,'" Martin said. "And we were engaged. Again." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Concluding her essay, Martin said "everyone's journey is different." "It took me 45 years to find my fairy tale. When I realized I was confident on my own, that's when I knew Erik and I were ready to get back together," she continued. "The realistic version of my fairy tale was ready to be written."