When I was dating/ engaged to the ex, I was generously adopted into the family. My own family lives in Atlanta, so I had somewhere local to go on holidays when I couldn’t afford the flight home, people who called to check on me when they knew I was sick or had a big meeting, and occasional Sunday pot roasts on my calendar. Along with that came its fair share of family obligations – helping out with money when things were tight, doing everyone’s taxes, and taking calls from one sibling or another to complain about their mother or vice versa.
When the break-up happened, the ex’s mother insisted on trying to stay close. She would call me at work to chat on our lunch breaks. She would make plans for us to meet up for happy hour. She would drop off gifts picked up at a bargain store that reminded her of me. But the ex had a new girlfriend. And I kept reminding Ex’s Mom that the new girlfriend wasn’t a big fan of she and I being so close.
After a few months, the ex and the new girlfriend managed to get evicted from their apartment (glamorous, no?). It seems their loud late night shouting at one another led to one too many police calls for their landlord. So the ex and the girlfriend ended up moving in to Ex’s Mom’s apartment where months later, they all still live together.
Today’s 30 days of truth calls for “someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted”. I clung to that friendship a lot longer than was appropriate after the break-up. I pretended that I just really enjoyed her company, but I also really enjoyed Ex’s Mom’s willingness to dish on all the drama in Ex’s life. I didn’t necessarily want the Ex to be miserable, but since I was, a little schadenfreude made my days brighter. At least I had a roof over my head and no screaming underneath it.
Ex’s Mom and I didn’t so much drift- I pulled the plug. After running into the Ex and the new girlfriend out on the town one night, Ex’s Mom called me first thing the next morning to leave a ranting voice mail about how I was “ungrateful”. I’m not sure what I did to raise that flag to her, but then it occurred to me- she’s not my family anymore. I don’t have to have this fight either. And in the interest of keeping the Ex across town in Mom’s spare bedroom and off my doorstep, I don’t need to complicate matters.
I calmly deleted her voice mail. And the two angry emails that followed. And quietly de-friended her on Facebook. She’s someone else’s adopted mother-in-law now. Besides, I know how to make my own pot roast.