To my ex-boyfriend’s parents

Subject: To my ex-boyfriend’s parents
Date: 25 Dec 2018

There’s really no good way to start this. A lot has happened tonight, and the worst part is, while I’m shocked, I can’t say that I’m surprised.

Just an hour ago, my then-boyfriend called me in tears. He said that he had another huge argument with you, over me. He said that it culminated in an ultimatum: either we end our three-and-a-half year relationship, or you disown him.

I know that we don’t live in a fairy tale or, dare I say it, some romance movie. I know how important family is to both him and I. It would kill him to lose you. I know that the choice was clear for him, no matter how much it hurt. That isn’t to say I’m absolving him of responsibility - no matter how inevitable these kind of decisions are, they are still a two-way street - but I feel the deepest sympathy for him, having been put in that situation by two people whom he loves and respects very much.

And yet, I cannot help but feel as through we both have been horribly cheated by the situation you have put us in. It may have had the outward appearance of a “choice,” but you and I know very well that there was little choice in the matter. To force your son to choose between the woman he loves and shares a connection with versus the people who gave him life, figuratively and literally, is a low blow. You can try to dress it in the name of “love.” You can say you’re looking out for his best interests. That, while I am a perfectly nice girl, I am not what’s best for him. That the well-being of your son is, above all other things, justifiable by any means necessary. You may even convince yourselves of this. My mother certainly did, over 4 years ago, when she delivered to me a similar ultimatum regarding my high school sweetheart.

In some way, I can see why you might tell yourselves this. I am far from perfect. When you first met me, I was a student in a cushy 4-year top 20 private institution, steeped in prestige. Today, I’m studying for a second degree, taking a vastly different career path than the one I had initially. My first visit to you involved me being heavily sleep-deprived, and you never took kindly to me after I just couldn’t seem to keep myself awake (regardless of the fact that this happened shortly after an exam-filled week for me, and that I happen to have overheard conversations between you and your son telling him to “sleep the whole day” when he stayed up late studying for his own exams). To top it all off, my father assaulted my mother this past August, leaving her face disfigured, with a 2 year recovery time, before committing suicide. Not only is my path ahead far from straight-forward, but it is riddled with things that most of my peers would never dream of having to deal with.

But despite all this, I think you would be lying to yourselves by saying that this is all in his best interests, because no matter what angle you try to portray this from, your actions come from a place of selfishness and premature judgement. It’s all about what *you* think is best, the kind of significant other that *you* think is appropriate for your son. I feel most insulted by the fact that you really don’t trust me or your son’s judgement of me as a nice person who would never, ever dare to hurt anyone, especially her family. I have seen the results of that kind of mental and physical brutality firsthand, so I hope you can take my words to heart when I say that I would never dream of putting anyone through that anguish. I don’t think the timing of the two conversations you’ve had with your son is any coincidence - one shortly after I began working towards my second degree, and this most recent one just a few months after my father did what he did. I get it, you want someone whose path looks a little neater. Your son is in medical school now; surely he can do better than this girl who couldn’t figure out what career she wanted at the young age of eighteen, whose father also happened to have a crazy, murdrous streak. But me being someone who is willing to chase her dreams, even if they’ll take a little more time and effort to achieve, is one of the very things your son loves about me the most. And I refuse to be held responsible for what my predecessor did. I have a strong mother who taught me to value kindness, and treat people properly. I also have the common sense to know that what he did was horribly inexcusible and wrong. Despite your misguided, awful assumptions about me, I truly hope you never have to deal with a tragedy like this, though I also wish you’d find a little empathy instead of thinking that his genetics will make me turn out like him.

I know that you have more life experience than us. I also know that, despite your hurtful actions today, you care deeply about your son. But, despite all those sayings about how a relationship isn’t just between two people, I truly hope you realize how much you overstepped. I doubt this letter will ever come your way, but I hope you realize this someday. The part that perhaps hurts the most from all of this is... I know I am in the morally right. Your son and I share a mutual love and respect for each other, and I think that we really do make each other better people. I can honestly say that our relationship is something that I have done right, despite all of my flaws. Yet that won’t really change anything, will it? In the end, you hold this power over him, and there is nothing that either him or I can do about it. There are too many implications to what you’ve done - the fact that you truly think so little of me that you would threaten disownment, the fact that you care so little about his feelings to go through with it, his own insecurities about how me and *my* family would react to him no longer having a family, just to name a few. He and I are powerless when it comes to our own relationship, and that’s all there is to it.

I feel blessed to have shared this time with your son, and I know that he feels the same way. I also know that to have our relationship end in this way is the worst possible way, and I hurt with him. I pray that you all find peace and happiness, even as I doubt that that will come easily given how little remorse you seem to have when it comes to tearing apart the relationship your son has built with me for the past several years.

Best Wishes,
Your Son’s Ex-Girlfriend