There are so many things I would love to say to you. Some people think I would tell you I hate you. Or I can’t stand you being with the man I used to love. Maybe you think I would insult you or make passive aggressive statuses about you on social media. Yet if I was able to tell you two things without dealing with repercussions or afraid of you thinking I’m the insane ex, the first would be this:
I’m so sorry for everything you’re about to deal with.
See, once upon a time, I was you. I was a young high school graduate who fell hard for a man eight years my senior. He seemed so put together. He had a nice job, his own place, his life pretty well set. He was everything I wanted in a man, from the way his smile lit up the room to his cheesy humor, to his faith in God and heart for youth ministry. I had made one of those infamous checklists for “what you want in your soul mate” and he checked off every box, sweetheart. I had never felt so strongly. Yet he insisted on not making us official for several months – treating me like a friend in public and a lover behind closed doors. He had his reasons, and I accepted them, yet discovered the truth shortly after – his mother didn’t want us to date. I should have taken that as a warning and realized what I was getting myself into, but instead I rationalized everything. I made excuses for him, and for his mother. We became official, and that’s when I thought we would be okay.
When I look back on this now, I really wished I could have sat down and talked to his ex girlfriend before me. I thought about it, but I had heard so many horror stories about her from him and his mother that I didn’t dare believe her. I wish I had followed my gut and done it though. She may have been able to spare me some heartache. So let me give you a cheat guide to what is going to happen now that you’re dating this man.
Right now you’re in month four. You really don’t have much to worry about right now – you’re in the golden stage. You’ve met his family, and I’m sure you’ve been to every holiday they’ve had so far. I bet you’ve played with his cousins, talked with his aunts, and had dinner/movie nights with his parents. You will be having date nights at his house, cooking dinner together and watching films. Sometimes he will take you out on really nice dates to places you wouldn’t expect. You’ll sit in the middle of his truck seat, where he can rest his hand on your leg or keep his arm around you. He will tell you that no one has made him feel so cherished like you have.
You won’t notice it at first, yet his mother will start to make little digs at your expense. When you do notice, she will tell you she’s “only kidding!” You’ll let it go because she will otherwise over compensate with compliments and gifts. The jokes will increase though, and you will get hurt. Your boyfriend will take up for you; he will even fight with her to defend you. You will have never felt so protected and adored than when he sticks up for you. Its okay, it makes sense.
Another thing you’ll notice – his family adores gossip. All families love drama and gossip to some extent, but you will wonder how these women don’t have their own TV show. They make Facebook stalking a full time job, and you will never leave a gathering without someone getting bashed – if one of them can’t make it, then it will be the absent one. You will wonder if they talk about you behind your back (spoiler alert – they do). The men in the family will all be the normal ones; you’ll find it’s easier to get along with them. They married into the family, much like you might, so you realize it’s possible to live with this amount of crazy. It’s difficult, but possible. Pay attention to these men, they will show you what you’re life will look like.
You’ll start to sense your relationship hitting a stalemate. His mother will want you at her house all the time, or she will call him on your dates every ten minutes. He will try to avoid her, he will fight with her, and sometimes he will give in just to have peace. It’s not your fight yet, sweetheart, but one day it will be. Pay attention. Try to ignore the feelings of insecurity in your mind when he tells you how much he loves you and wants to marry you, but he doesn’t propose. It’s not you, dear. He has a mother to deal with remember? She doesn’t think you’re good enough for him (read: NO ONE is good enough for him). This will not change – she will never really like you. Eventually he will move past this and finally pop the question. You will be so elated, and you will feel like it’s a sweet dream.
Here comes the beautiful nightmare, though. He’s going to start telling you things you do that he doesn’t like. You will try to fix these things, and fail. You will never reach his standards. He will push, you will try, he will crush you, and you will break. That’s how this goes for months. Now you have two options – stay or go. I left. I knew I couldn’t handle that life, and I couldn’t be who he wanted me to be. So I took the pieces of my heart and what remained of me and walked away.
Maybe you will be the one who stays. Perhaps you’re the kind of girl who can stay strong when his mother says hurtful things. Maybe you will be immune to the gossip in the family. Maybe you’re the kind of girl who will be what he wanted, or you will be bold enough to call him out on his bull crap and make him realize you are the best thing in his life, so he better not lose you.
Maybe you’re it. To that, all I have left to say is this: Good luck, sweetheart. Good luck.