Dodged a bullet.
You always hear people say that you can’t choose your family but sometimes don’t you wish you could? The dynamics of families are complicated let alone bringing in-laws into the mix. Thankfully Alex’s parents are incredible but my ex definitely had some skeletons in the closet – namely his grandmother.
This was a woman I had always known as an acquaintance (we lived in a very small town), but I never really knew. The first few times I met her she was always friendly and pleasant like most grandmas. It wasn’t until later when I realized there was something a little off. The first time was at a Christmas party when she was handing out gifts to the grandchildren. Everyone was opening their gifts when she came up to me and said,
“You’re not in the family until you’re engaged and you don’t get a Christmas gift until you’re in the family”.
Wow. I was not expecting a gift whatsoever and I just thought it was strange to even address the non-gift, especially by making sure I knew that I wasn’t family yet. I got over it and didn’t really see her again until the following Christmas when she apparently relaxed her rules and gave me a Christmas card with a dollar in it. Interesting.
A few months later we were having dinner with a bunch of his extended family and she brought up my mother’s family. She mentioned that she had known my aunt before she passed away. She then proceeded to tell me that her husband (my boyfriend’s grandfather) had been dating my aunt, but took one look at her and left my aunt. Her theory was that my aunt was so heartbroken over losing him that it drove her to drink (my aunt was an alcoholic) and that’s why she died. Holy hell – what do you say to that?! There was no, “Nice to see you”, “Pass the peas”. Nope, it was all break-ups and alcoholism. Swell.
The following Christmas the whole family went to her house and she told everyone that she hadn’t bought Christmas gifts, instead she was letting all of her grandchildren pick out one of her decorative plates that they wanted. Apparently she really wanted to get rid of those plates because all of a sudden I was “family” and there she was urging me to “Just pick one!”. I think the truth was that they were moving to a smaller house and she just didn’t want to pack all of the plates.
All I could think about was how thankful I was that the ex took after his mother’s side of the family because I didn’t want any of the crazy traits rearing their ugly heads.
So – did anyone else dodge a bullet by avoiding marrying an ex with crazy family members?