Friday, January 3, 2014

Putting it out there

Once upon a time I had a college sweetheart whom I was with for four years.

Once upon a time we broke up. Long story short, I’ve come to realize it’s because both of us were young & stupid. Mostly. And mostly me.

Once upon a time I loved Tom’s* family as my own. His mom & dad were like a second mom & dad to me. I loved his brother and sister-in-law, and their three kids. Family.

But then we broke up.

I kept in touch with his family for years after. In my mind, I saw no reason to end that relationship, just because my romantic relationship with him had ended.

I saw them several times a year. Usually in the Summer & Fall. And always at Christmas. We sent cards, exchanged cookies, had dinner. He never came, his parents always did. Sometimes my parents would join us.

And then we didn’t.

One Christmas I was moving out of my apartment, busting my butt to try to get everything packed & moved and the apartment cleaned all while navigating the normal holiday busy-ness. I was swamped, and so I politely declined the invitation.

As the next year approached, I didn’t see them during the Summer as usual. And I didn’t force it, or push the issue, even though I missed them terribly.

I chose to let my relationship with his family end, based on two reasons, both of which were directly tied to my new relationship with Jason:

1) I didn’t want to ever give Jason a reason to worry, or to think there was anything going on with my ex.

There wasn’t. Never was since the breakup. But I understand that me seeing his family regularly is a little… odd, and from experience I know that it’s easily misinterpreted. I wanted my new relationship to succeed, and wanted to stay away from any appearance of me not being over the past.

2) With Jason’s ex-wife still butting her head in the picture at that time (phone calls, texts, invitations to dinner, etc) I realized how I was probably making my ex’s then girlfriend (now wife) feel.

And it’s not a good feeling. That was never my intention, and I didn’t want her to feel the way I did when Jason’s XW came around.

And so I let my relationship with the family fall by the wayside.

But I still think about each of them regularly. Kay* & Frank*, my second mom & dad. Ed* & Cathy, their kids, Laurie, Kate*, & Carl*. I even think about Ed & Cathy’s dogs. Truth. I wonder how they all are doing, what they’re up to.

I wonder if they think of me.

I also carry a lot of guilt.

You see, Frank, someone who for so long was like a dad to me, passed away last year. Maybe you remember this post.

I wonder if he knows that I still loved him like family. That I still thought of him often, that I never really wanted to stop seeing everyone.

And so for the past year I have been carrying this guilt. I have contemplated contacting the rest of the family on numerous occasions, particularly Kay.

But… first I think I need to ask my husband’s permission, to avoid any issues. And how do you ask that question? Hey, you know my college sweetheart? I’d like to contact his mom.

And if he says okay, how do you start that conversation? Hey, I know we haven’t talked in seven years, but I really miss you? Awkward.

Oh, and because of other things that have been said in the past, I am 99% sure if I contacted the family this would totally piss off my ex’s wife. So there’s that to consider.

But at the same time, how do I not? Knowing, having seen firsthand, that we don’t have forever. Knowing that Frank died without me ever telling him how sorry I was that we lost touch. How can I not let the rest of them know what they mean to me?

So there’s really no point to this post. I’ve just been carrying around a lot of emotion surrounding this situation, especially for the past year. And I just wanted to get it out. Put it into the universe. So there it is.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Names changed to protect the innocent. Or just the mentioned.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Don't make it about your ex.
You remained friends with the parents and others for years after the breakup, so at some point they stopped being your ex's family, and your friends.

The relationship with your ex is a thing of the past, relegated to history, over, done, finished.
If he questions if that's true, ask if he's still hung up on his ex wife. Relationships can end with no lingering feelings. I loved my ex husband, then I hated him, now I feel about him like I would a stranger I see at the store. He's someone I know, but that's about it.

As far as calling the Mom, don't make excuses about the past. Just say, like, I've really been thinking about you lately and wanted to call and ask how you are doing. Go forward from there.

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