Love, life and stuff // The Break Up Part II (AKA thank Christ I don’t have to go to that bloody christening anymore)

If you’ve read part one you’ll know that I just recently escaped ended a long term relationship with Mr Right but not-right-for-me.

Apart from waking up each morning with a feeling of unashamed blissful freedom I have also pleased myself thinking about all those familial duties I am no longer required to fill. Specifically the attendance of a christening of a child I have seen once in my life; I’m not even partial to children so couple that with the fact it was going to take over my whole weekend with train journeys and small talk and you may understand why I am relishing planning my now free weekend.

During the two and a half years we were together he made the visit to my parents house once, my parents living up North providing the perfect get out clause. Him being a southerner, I had no such luck. To make matters worse it was a double whammy since his parents were divorced, every one trip I paid to his mother had to be balanced out with a trip to his father. Divorced parents don’t seem to understand when you explain you did your torture only last Sunday with the other half.

The relationship you have with your partner’s parents is always a tangled one (why else would there be so many jokes about the mother-in-law?) and yet it always seems that the butt of these jokes or the stereotypical image is of a man’s suffering. This has never been the case with me; my parents are perfectly pleasant and welcoming to all my boyfriends – even when they’re arseholes – but my god, have I met the mothers from hell!

The French mother…

…who despite being an English teacher refused to speak any English to me over our first lunch meeting to show my lack of French as unsuitability as a future wife…

The mother that has such an odd relationship with the son…

…that it’s almost as if they want to marry their son themselves and you feel caught up in some bizarre threesome…

The father who makes inappropriate remarks…

…to which one has to smile sweetly to whilst seething inside. Of course you could do as I do and say what you’re really think when this happens but that leads to a whole other world of pain. Something called sufferance, they suffer you whilst all the time hoping their son sees sense and gets a nice little wife who will bear his lineage, you suffer them whilst they make sexist remarks and treat you as a facet of another person.

The crux of it is, when you really really like someone, you want their family to like you too. In that first meeting, what you wear, how you come across, how you use your knife and fork, what opinions you give all become of paramount importance. Then a little further along the line when perhaps you don’t really really like that someone quite as much you resent this charade.

Fair enough, it’s difficult just coping with the foibles of one’s own family and meeting your quota of family events for the year, never mind multiplying that by two. If I were to do it again I hope to do so on my terms. Not asking, ‘will they accept me?’, but, ‘will I want to accept them?’ If I don’t, then I don’t need to spend my weekends biting my tongue and pinching myself under the table to ease the tension. I just hope to meet a man who’s man enough to see that we don’t all need to get along; who understands I’m not getting in bed with them and neither is he.

Mademoiselle Blow

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