Family Bitterness

10 Nov

Letterbalm Broken Engagement RingDear LetterBalm: Almost a year ago, I broke off my engagement for several good reasons. Among other things, my fiancé cheated on me with a good (now ex-) friend and showed himself to be an inveterate gambler and an emotional abuser. It’s been a long, hard road, but with therapy and great support from family and friends, I’m feeling much better. I know I made the right decision. I’ve started some new activities, and I’m gradually getting back into the dating world. But my family can’t let go. They’re still angry at him; they rant and rage and badmouth him and won’t forgive him at all. I want to stop all this without hurting their feelings. I know they’re protective of me.

–Moving On

You seem to be getting over your heartbreak better than your family is. All of us have been in a breakup where we miss the family more than the boyfriend. Your relatives seem to have this in reverse – they may miss not having him in the family, and they’re taking their grief out on him (albeit for very good reasons). Ms. L.B. applauds your mature steps to take control of your life. Now, you need to sit down privately with the most reasonable member of your family and voice your concerns in this way, asking them to pass the word:

Mom/Dad/Sister/Brother/Cousin, I’m having this conversation with you because I think you’re the most reasonable person in our family. It’s been almost a year since I broke off my engagement to Ryan, and the family continues to rant and badmouth him at dinners and whenever we’re all together and don’t stop after I ask them to. This is upsetting to me because I’ve moved on with my life – I’ve started new interests and I’ve begun dating. I know the family loves me, but when they can’t let it go about Ryan, it comes across as overprotective and a little insulting. It’s like my relatives don’t think I can manage my own life. Everybody has bad things happen, this is just life. It’s what you do about it that makes you stronger. Can I count on you to spread the word when they start in about my ex-fiancé?

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