Every man I’ve ever dated has had a woman or twelve, in his past who lingered in the shadows of whatever incarnation his present is currently in. A former lover, girlfriend, friend, teacher…someone who made an impact and simply never faded or stopped stalking him, no matter how far away those moments were from the day we met.
The worst experience came with the men who I fell in love with. The men who I gave the power to crush my itty bitty heart to smithereens like Wile E. Coyote’s whole being at the relentless smarts of the RoadRunner. It wasn’t the men who held those memories close to their hearts, it was the families. Mom’s who kept prom photos up from the high school sweetheart that got away, grandpa’s with shrines to a former life of the most “amazing little lady”. Or the sister’s who constantly reminded me that they were still friends with the former lady love. Like little tiny pinpricks at my young and yet-to-be-jaded heart. These moments were awful and gut wrenching, especially when the men in my life found it to be no biggie. Ladies, I’m certain you’ve gotten that look of sheer shock because well their families could do no wrong, and how dare you crazy person dare have feelings about anything!
Sorry, I digress.
Trust me eating Sunday dinner with the entire family next to a wall of photos of the woman your current flame describes as “what it must be like in purgatory” is not a cheerful time and makes it much more difficult to ingest ones less than appetizing TV dinner montage. Oh, especially when someone randomly brings up that unnamed former girlfriend came by and yadda, yadda she’s still really pretty and successful and going to Grad school and is getting the Nobel Peace Prize simply for how amazing she dresses when volunteering at the local senior center. *breath*
The only man who never made me feel like that past was anything more than the past was of course, Future Husband.
The odd thing is that with all the hard work and tireless effort, that was put into trying to be a part of families, I simply didn’t see that these families not wanting me wasn’t that big a deal. My desperation to craft the undeniably perfect meshing of two families was a farce in many ways. I’m a “all my ducks in a row” kinda dame and used to have a much harder time dealing with the aftermath if one stepped out of line. I put so much value into the approval of family then I needed to. What I needed to face was that these men were raised in families that not only wouldn’t accept me but also didn’t raise a man worth the two pennies I had to rub together at that age.
As I grew up, got older and I came to see that the only thing that mattered was the family I chose to build – and of course the one I was born into.
When I first starting dating Future Husband, he wanted me to meet his Bro after I believe only a couple weeks and I flat out declined. At that point I had a strict policy…no family until I knew that I liked the person beyond the blue eyes and fracking adorable smirk. My goal for my next long-term relationship was to have it be about us and not me having to impress a group of people into liking me over the other women of his past.
And that’s exactly what we have, a relationship that is based on
not killing each other being good to each other, raising a wicked cool Monkey and working hard to fulfill our dreams.
It’s funny that I almost got that nagging flicker of insecurity last week but then I was reminded that I cannot change the past and I will not let infect my heart in anyway. Heck if it wasn’t for the past choices of both me and Future Husband, I wouldn’t have all the things I have in my life right now, including the ultimate in chosen family.
I’m proud of who I am today, the man I chose to love and the Monkey who calls me Mama. So there.