I was always told that families, or rather family dynamics could be complicated. Boy have I recently found out just how complicated they can be... even when they aren't technically yours.
I tell people that my fiancé and I fought hard for the love we have and the relationship we developed. I usually get a questioning look from people who know me and people who don't.
You see, when I first met the man who would someday become my fiancé, he was 17 and dating my daughter. When he and I started talking and we became close, there was more than a few people who weren't too happy about it. My family started out okay with it, teasing me for acting like a school girl with my new bestie. (By now he was 18)
From the beginning, his family on the other hand would have gladly had me put to death via guillotine and laughed as my soul left my body. To say they didn't like me was the biggest understatement anyone in the world had ever heard.
But my bestie and I continued on. Name calling while he was on the phone with me, constant pressure to stop talking to me, backlash from the people he loved most. I don't know anyone who had to fight through more just to be able to have their best friend in their life.
As time went on, some of my family decided they didn't like the relationship either. I guess I see why, he and I have this bond that we can't even define let alone anyone else. To them, he was an outsider who was becoming too important to me. My abuser would try to guilt me into getting off the phone, or staying off the phone, or he would interrupt the conversation with stupid, mean comments directed to my bestie.
Yet through it all, we seemed to become closer. We fought every hour of every day to not let what our families wanted affect us and how we felt about each other and how we spent our time together (phone and video call). Now this isn't to say that they (family) didn't almost win sometimes. There were days where I was glad I was busy and couldn't talk to him or days where I could use dinner as an excuse to get off the phone. And I know there were times where he would avoid me for days at a time and we'd pick fights with each other just so we didn't have to anger our families and put up with their mean words and actions toward the person we cared so much for.
The last year of our relationship before I ended up here with my bestie, became very toxic and I don't think if either of us thought we would make it through. And the thought of losing him completely added to my distress that I was always feeling because of the abuse, my health and that of my children.
It wasn't until we started planning on me visiting that we realized that the toxicity/hatred of our separate lives was washing over into our life together as friends, or whatever we had become. We both now had something positive to concentrate on and start rebuilding the bond that had been dented through the years.
It wasn't until I was planning the visit and mentioned I'd need a cheap hotel to stay at and transportation to and from his house outside of town. I'll never forget his words , that in a way, changed the direction of our future. He said, "I'll ask my Mum if you can stay with us."
"Umm, I don't know if that's a good idea," I told him. "I kinda want to live to see my kids grow up." That's when he pointed out that all of the toxicity for the previous six months had come from my side and not his. I still knew that his family hated the idea of our relationship (Especially when we would 'act' like a couple since in a way we felt like we had characteristics of one and everyone else thought we were one.)
It was true though, it had been months since I'd heard my name said in a derogatory manner and since I'd heard them tell him to get off the phone with me. I hadn't even realized that now he no longer tried to hide who he was on the phone with anymore.
Well, the planning went on and his mother and father were gracious enough to invite me to stay. His mum even started making plans for my visit. You don't know how good it feels to have someone that seemed to want you dead finally accepting you. And you know why? She still finds our relationship 'disgusting' but she sees the happiness that I bring her son. I think she sees the bond we have and at this point, since he's a grown adult, there isn't much she could do about it anyway (her words, not mine).
So, what is it like being here, living with and meeting the people who hated me so much? I have to say that I am having the time of my life. I thoroughly enjoy the long talks that his mum and I have (I'm older than her but from the same generation so yeah...). I have come to truly respect her and his father for what they do for their family. And what about the relatives that don't live here? I can't tell if they like me or hate me but they are 100 percent honest with how they feel about our situation and they have treated me with the utmost respect.
When my family fell apart because of abuse, his family took me in and I will be forever grateful. It's always nice to have more than one family to share with and rely on. And right now, I consider these people, along with my children, as my families.
So yeah, we fought hard for this relationship. If we'd ever given up, hatred and toxicity would have won and we wouldn't be where we are - in an amazing place and relationship. I will never feel bad about saying that he and I fought hard. We did fight so hard and we won. And now, there is just a little bit less hatred in the world.
Until Next Time...