Relationships are hard. Breakups are harder. Losing an entire family because they technically belong to your ex is a fuckin’ mare. While no one enjoys the intense extended loss that comes at the end of a relationship, we all kind of understand it. It’s necessary to move on well and to move on fully.
So what does it mean if your new boo’s parents are still in contact with his ex?
Recently, Reddit user u/Tiffanibb asked this very question, explaining that despite the fact that she and her 21-year-old boyfriend have been together for a year, his parents are still in touch with his ex. ‘I just wanna know if I should really be worrying about this or should I just drop it?’
Cue Reddit doing what Reddit does best – offering up some pearls of wisdom. However, one reply, in particular, caught my eye:
Here’s why it’s okay
‘Look, if she’s 21, you’ve been together a year, there was a while in between, and they were together a year, then she was a fixture in their household as a late teenager. That is young enough to still fall into surrogate daughter territory, along with their kids’ closest high school friends. I’m still close to some of the surrogate kids that were in our home in that era, even though my kids are in their twenties and don’t necessarily hang out much with all of them now. You’re assuming this is about you, some sort of preference or equivalency, and it probably isn’t. To them you are probably a completely separate person and situation. I really don’t put my son’s partner in the same box as his teen ex even though I have contact with both. One is a potential daughter in law, the other is a nice girl who hung out quite a lot as a kid in my home (along with a number of others) and I like to know they’re going well.’ – Deejay1974
Why did this response resonate with me so much? Because I’ve been on the opposite end of this scenario for a while.
Ladies, I’m sorry to say it, but I’m the ex his mom is still texting
I was with my first boyfriend for five years from the age of 16. There is a TON of growing that happens between the ages of 16 and 21 (I mean, not as much as one would hope, but still). There is too much eyeliner and the loss of virginity and the first time you get caught having sex, first family holidays with your partner and first heartbreaks and resolutions and everythings.
It is an almost suffocatingly intense time to be alive, to forge relationships, and to connect with people. My ex’s mom was an absolute friend to me for those five years. Together we cooked and laughed and experimented with her home Gelish kit. She consoled me when my relationship with my own mother felt like it was falling to pieces, and I giggled with her over the details of her third date with her new boyfriend. It was a true and important relationship in my life. And when the breakup happened, best you believe me and his mom broke up to. For a long time.
I cried over her while I cried over her son. I healed from the loss of our relationship too though, just as I had with that of her son.
But then life happens
You know that ridiculous fantasy many of us have where we can eventually be friends with an ex? If not friends, then perhaps just genuinely civil? Listen, that’s likely never going to happen. But I’ll tell you this much: it just might happen with your ex’s mom. After enough time had gone by, I was so glad the day I received a message from her, asking after my life and congratulating me on publishing a book. A message became a phone call and a phone call turned into her supporting me at one of my book launches.
Here’s what I want you to know
If the idea of your partner’s mom going to an event in support of his ex girlfriend annoys the fuck out of you, I feel you. It’d annoy the fuck out of me too. But here’s the thing: When I speak to or see his mom, it’s not about him. Truly. There is nothing malicious going on. We’re not talking about you or him, even, other than the perfunctory, ‘How is so-and-so doing?’
I promise I’m not trying to drive you insane, or live in the past. There’s just a small part of me that’s still 16, wearing too much eyeliner, and in need of a hug from someone other than my actual mom.
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