So I ran into my ex's brother this week. Or rather, he ran into me. Chased me, really.
One of the things that I have been worrying about, is running into my ex's family. I live in a small city. And I live and work in the same part of the city that his family lives in. And he comes from a huge family. So it is kind of amazing that I haven't run into any of them up to this point.
Running into my ex doesn't worry me too much. There is no etiquette about what I need to do if I run into him. I can make a scene and yell at him. I can turn and run in the other direction. I can burst into tears. And I won't feel like I have reacted incorrectly.
But his family is another story. I have to smile. And say hello. And ask how everyone is doing. And tell them that I am doing well. I have to be nice. And I have to be strong.
I was downtown this week for a meeting, and when I was in my car backing out of my parking space, I heard a knocking. I actually thought that I had hit something, so I was looking behind me. And then there was a knocking on my car window.
When I looked up (scared, surprised) it was one of my ex's older brothers. Smiling. Waving. He had seen me walking past him on the sidewalk. And followed me so he could talk to me.
So I rolled down the window to talk to him. He seemed excited to see me. Asked how I was. Wondered why I was downtown. He told me that I should go by and visit his mother, or at least that I should call her. That she is worried about me. When I told him that I knew, but that I was having a big of a rough time, he responded "I know, I understand, you got screwed." I smiled and asked about the family. He told me about their niece, and how much she had grown. How good she was getting with the Nintendo DS (she is almost five). I told him that he could let his mother know that he had seen me, and that I am alive.
That was it. We said goodbye. I drove away.
And then I cried. It seemed so strange to see him. He is someone who I had seen and spent time with at least once a week for the past four years. Someone who had become a constant in my life. Someone who could be counted on for a quiet joke at a family function. Someone who was supposed to be my future brother-in-law.
It was a reminder of my old life. A life that I really miss, a future that I really miss, but don't often let myself think about. It reminds me of my ex. And that I do miss him. Or at least I miss the person who I thought that I was going to be spending my life with.
It was also validating to hear him say that he understood that I had been the one who was wronged. It was interesting to hear that coming from someone who is close to my ex. To know that they understood that this wasn't something that I chose. It is hard to know what he told them, what he told anyone. It was nice to hear that he knew, they knew, at least some of the story.
In a way, I am glad that I ran into him. I am glad that I got this first run in out of the way. I know now that I can hold myself together if I see anyone. And I know that I am not yet ready to go and visit his parents, like they would like me to.
How have you coped with the family issue of a break up? Have you remained in contact with anyone from past relationships?