I didn’t see the breakup coming. We’d been together for four years. Two years into the relationship, we started living together. Most couples will tell you that it takes some adjustment, but it wasn’t like that for us. We were immediately happy, immediately compatible. We talked about marriage, kids, and the future. This last year, we’d started looking around for engagement rings. I had been saving for over a year — I put a little bit aside from each paycheck and have well over $10,000. The plan was to ask her before we rang in the new year.
Part of what came between us was, I think, her parents. They’re deeply religious people and care very much about their culture and customs. My family isn’t religious and we’re as American as it gets — we don’t have to worry about safeguarding our culture because our culture is everywhere we look. When her parents found out that we were dating, it was because her mother had looked through my ex’s phone. My ex hadn’t told them anything about us, probably because she knew that her parents would have objections. So during her snooping, her mother found texts between us going back years, and the haranguing and strong-arming began.
Initially, I think it made my ex even more determined for us to be together. She was ultra sensitive to how her parents’ objections would make me feel and we often spoke about “us” and the future. Whenever something happened, she always took my side. I think that’s really important in situations where parents are pitted against significant others: which side the son or daughter takes. But she made me feel that we were safe and that I was her priority. She was always really honest about her parents and what they said about me — and it hurt my feelings, of course, but I’d rather know.
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