I was on the fence about whether or not I even liked my ex all that much, but his family tipped the scales in his favor. They were amazing and I really loved them—so much so that I nearly married the guy because of it. Thankfully I came to my senses before I made a huge mistake.
I loved his family more than I loved him and that was a serious red flag. Yeah, it’s important that you like your partner’s family, but I was in a relationship with him, not them. I adored his parents, siblings, and even his extended relations, which was great—the problem is that I was fonder of them than I was of my actual boyfriend. Yikes.
Even though his family loved me, they naturally always took his side. We all were one big happy family until my boyfriend and I had a disagreement one day. They took his side and I was really hurt even though I knew I couldn’t really expect them to have my back over his. As much as I felt like part of the family, my ex actually was, which meant he’d always win.
Not wanting to lose his family was just an excuse to prolong a dead-end relationship. I find excuses to do things (or be with people) who aren’t good for me pretty much all the time, and this was no exception. I knew that we weren’t meant to be together forever but I was so desperate to hang onto his family that I prolonged our inevitable breakup despite how miserable I was otherwise. I like to think I’ve since learned better, but I still wasted a lot of time I’ll never get back.
We had no bond because we spent more time with his family than we did alone. The temptation was always there to spend all of our time with his family because we both worked so well within that dynamic. As a result, we didn’t have anything that was just for the two of us. Dates felt uncomfortable and strange because we just weren’t used to being alone together. We never bonded on our own so when it was just the two of us, we were at a loss for what to do and how to be.
I realized after a while that his family was the only thing about him I actually loved. It may seem like a huge thing to like a guy’s family, but it’s really not in the end. It’s just one factor when deciding to be with someone and a potential partner should give you a ton of reasons to be with them. When I realized that his family was the only thing I actually liked about him, I knew I had to end it.
I didn’t want to settle for less than the full package. I don’t consider myself high maintenance in relationships, but there are things I want and need in a long-term partner that I’m unhappy without. Getting along well with my ex’s family was great but it wasn’t going to sustain us long-term. I need the full package and I shouldn’t settle for less than that.
Turns out, there are better, healthier dynamics for me to be part of. After my ex and I broke up, I thought I’d never find a family like his again. Like me, he came from a big family and all seven of his siblings were like my best friends. It all felt really natural and familiar so I was devastated when I had to give it all up. Then I met my now-husband who’s an only child and for the first time, it was different but in a good way. An unexpected hole was filled in both my heart and my partner’s family’s. His parents said they finally felt like they had a daughter, not just a son, and I love their son as much as I love them. It’s a much healthier, happier dynamic.
I don’t need someone else’s family—I’ve created my own. Luckily, my own family and I get along really well. We have our rough patches, but at the end of the day, we all really like and support each other. I also have friends that are like family. I’ve come to realize I don’t need someone else’s family to love and accept me. I already have everything I need. The rest is just a bonus.
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