When in a relationship, you’re never just dating the other person. It would be naive to think that you are. In fact, I’ve found that by dating that one person, you are also committing to a whole host of relationships simultaneously. )Not in a promiscuous way, I assure you. I’m talking of the wholesome, familial way.)
Because honestly, if you’re serious about someone, you’re really taking on a whole new family unit: their mum and dad and brothers and sisters and grandparents and aunts and uncles, and cousins who don’t realise who you are until the family meal at Christmas.
Suddenly, you’re wooing not one person, but MANY people, all with different levels of expectations and varying degrees of prejudice.
Quite a daunting prospect when you’ve just become a part of something so new and fragile.
However, I am a woman on a mission when in love, and at the start of mine and le man’s relationship, I rose courageously to the challenge. I played video games with his brothers, drunk wine with his father, talked periods with his mother, played boggle with his uncle, and shared cake with his Grandpa. I did all the right things and began to feel like one of Them, I began to feel like I belonged.
But it’s funny, isn’t it, how things can change, how people grow up and evolve, and quite abruptly, you’re back at square one.
All families go through it – they are faced with drama, with sadness, with business prospects and school pressures. Life gets in the way and your dating plan with the extended crew can go rather awry in the process.
And it can be SO hard not to take this personally.
Ultimately though, I’m starting to think that you can’t let family drama bog you down. Family is more than a sip of wine and a board game. Family proves itself by going through Hell and back, and still making it home in time to watch Eastenders together of an evening.
They may not be my family by blood, but I am bonded to them by love, and isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
When I met them, I didn’t know them. I simply followed my heart, my love, into that crazy maze and tried with all that I am to get to know them, to make me and le man work. Now I do know them, and I love them like family. But family Love opens you up to family Feuds as well, it’s just a part of life. You take on a new unit of people who can – however unintentionally – betray all of that effort you put in in the first place, and it would be oh-so-easy to walk away.
But I am simply not the kind of person to do that.
Instead, I am taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. Things are said, egos are thrown around, and people get hurt. People grow, people change, people are affected by life and that’s completely out of your control. Sometimes life changes a person or a family to the point where you find you don’t know them as well as you used to.
It would be the easiest thing in the world to let yourself get offended, to put your foot down and refuse to see them or speak to them. But that would be so petty. What about all that wooing you did in the beginning?
The thing is, with love of any kind, if it’s real, one set back doesn’t frighten you away for good. You try and try again because they’re a part of your life and you don’t want to lose them.
Put bluntly, I am exhausted of the whole thing. So for this fight, I’m adopting my original tactic. I am going to follow my heart, my love, back into the maze and try again.
Because family never gives up.