Being an only child, I will never truly have the experience of a sibling relationship. Close friends and cousins are the most intimate family-like relationships I have as a comparison basis. So imagine my surprise when my college beau, Pizza Bagel, had a brother/sister bond so tight it collapsed our long-term relationship. I spent many years hating on Pizza Bagel’s sister and blaming her for the demise of my longest lasting relationship. These days I rise above my general distain and thank my lucky stars I purged my life of her even thought that meant ending things with Pizza Bagel. Remember folks…you may not realize it, but you are/will be in a relationship with their family too.
I met Pizza Bagel (PB for short) in college. Talk dark and handsome, I was intrigued by looks complimented with a strong personality. PB was worldly and introduced me to international cuisines and element of cultures I had not yet encountered. Young, naïve and amazed that college men would even speak to me made the attention from PB enough to sweep me off my feet. It was your typical college romance fueled with keg stands and beer pong, the stuff of true romance. I kid. I kid.
As the relationship progressed, I pushed to understand more about PB’s family and his life back at home. He guarded this information and was very hesitant to introduce me to his family (red flag). There was evidence that he had a strained relationship with his parents and alternately, a very close relationship to his sister. In the future, I would find out that his Mom had personal problems that affected his childhood. As a result, his main confidant and closest family member became his sister. In college, the details about PB’s past were not clear but it was evident that in order for the relationship to pan out in the long term, his sister would need to approve. Had I been a more seasoned dater, I might have realized that PB’s lack of willingness to introduce me to his family after a year of dating was a bad sign.
When I moved to New Jersey after college it was to pursue my career, PB had also established himself in that area and we were still dating. Although we did not live together, we were in close proximity to each other and his family. It was at this stage that I was exposed to them on a regular basis. My relationship budding with PB’s sister became complicated almost immediately. She was the jealous type that needed to be the center of attention. (Google “Histrionic Personality Disorder”). For eample if I wore something new she would pout over her lack there of said something. She had husband that was totally enthralled with her, yet she craved PB’s constant attention and affection. This was uncomfortable for me and she started to feel like the “other woman.”
At that point I knew I could deal with PB’s mother, personal problems included, and even with PB’s dad and his stand-off-ish attitude. That would not make or break our joint existence. However, the events of one night changed everything. PB’s sister’s need for attention resulted in a violent attack on PB and the injuries sustained were not just harmful to PB but to the fate of our future. Tomorrow’s post will tell that story in detail.
No one’s family is perfect and if you do find a partner with a family you love then you are truly among the blessed. The hope for most relationships is that you get along with your partners family and at least have a bond based on respect and your mutual love interest. The point here is that you cannot deem a partner a potential marriage candidate until you meet and get to know the family of which he or she is a part.