A few days ago, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a post about my ex’s brother and his girlfriend “in a relationship”. They have been dating since the summer but finally made it “Facebook official”.
My ex’s mother responded to the post: “The best thing to ever happen to this family!” Although I agree that his girlfriend is simply amazing and a genuine sweetheart, it stung. Why?
Well, because for years, I was the best thing that ever happened to that family.
I was the glowing spectacle in the eyes of his mother, brought in from the world into her undeserving son’s arms, hopefully to remain indefinitely. Obviously, he and I broke up. More than once, in fact, because at the time, he simply didn’t know what he wanted, couldn’t own up to his emotions, or wasn’t ready.
While I can accept that and know it was he who cast me out, why did it sting so much to read that comment?
It’s the phrasing; in particular, the word “family”. Why would she be the best thing for the family? Wouldn’t she merely be the best thing for my ex’s brother? Similarly, why was I the best thing that ever happened to the family and not just to my ex?
The thing is, I may have been the best thing that happened to my ex in years, but I also received so much warmth and approval from his family that it really felt like I was the new bulb replaced on the string of lights that made things once again bright.
I never had his affections and emotions in an open sort of way. He hid himself from me and rarely made me feel very loved or special, so having his family’s acceptance was part of what kept me going. I needed it to have the patience required to wait for him to shape up.
That’s why the comment scraped the inside of my heart: I was just as much in a relationship with the family as I was with my ex, and in some ways, more connected to them than I was to him, at times. Breaking up with him was breaking up with three other people all at once.
Now I have the devotion of a man who isn’t afraid to tell me how he feels. He tells me I’m beautiful, sweet, cute, and amazing every day. He even says I’m the “most beautiful” he’s ever seen. Although I like his parents, I don’t need them in the way that I relied so heavily upon the relationship I had with my ex’s family, because with Bryan, I am given more than enough adulation and support. I don’t feel like I’m wading in a pool of my own emotions for someone else, while they are on the shore holding the life raft, like I did with my ex. I was always waiting for him to jump into the depths with me or at least scoop me out to the beach to be with him.
In that way, I very much required the acceptance of his family, because without that, I was swimming alone in my love for him. Buffered by their love, I could be strong enough to hold on a bit longer.
That’s why it stung.
It’s completely personal and nothing to do with my ex’s brother’s girlfriend. She is beyond a blessing to be around. It’s nothing more than coming to terms with my own insecurity I felt in my past relationship.
Realizing that I am now submersed in the warm cocoon of a submarine barrack with a man who openly and unabashedly loves me gives me security. His acceptance is the one I need, and it has finally been found.