An Open Letter to My Ex-Boyfriend’s Mother
What I Wish She Knew
We were friends. You were dubbed “Mom Number 2” because of how loving you were, how much you cared for me.
You were one of the sweetest, kindest women I had ever met, so full of grace and compassion that your body glowed with it.
You were understanding when I cried in your son's room about how my parents put me in counseling because I had experimented with girls. You told me when you were in high school, you had watched lesbian porn; it wasn’t this explosive secret, just a fact that let me know I wasn’t alone, and despite you being a good Christian woman, you were still human.
You were an English teacher for a private Christian school and always encouraged me to write and your eyes would sparkle when I asked if I could share my latest short story idea or free verse poem.
Your son would beam at me with so much love and admiration, it was like I was a goddess—one that loved his mother almost as much as he did and that was a beautiful thing.
But with motherhood comes the internal, crushing need to be desperately protective over your children.
You let them fall, you let them learn, you give them a hand, and you teach them a better way.
But with so much love for your children, even you didn’t realize you were wearing rose-colored glasses.
You didn’t know your son was far more emotionally unstable than he let on, you didn’t know he clung to me like a damp mist, like an uneasy, unshakable feeling, you didn’t know how I struggled with keeping him afloat when the nightmares came and the panic attacks slunk in.
You didn’t know that he still fought back the love he felt for his dead best friend and compared me to her with ever lyric I sang and every smile he caused.
You didn’t know that I broke down in tears, banging pathetically on his chest, telling him that I wasn’t her, I could never be her, and that I was alive and that she wasn’t, so he had to make a choice.
You can’t chase the dead.
When our year-long relationship began to crumble, I had somebody to fall back to.
I began to pull away and withdraw, and I tried so hard to hide how my disinterest in your son was growing, but I was snapping.
So often he leaned his emotions on the small frame of my body and I kept pouring and pouring into him, until I was empty, and he would always be confused as to why I didn’t have anymore to give.
He hooked his claws into my dreams and claimed them for his own, walking over me, lying pathologically to me, crying, and I felt like I was just a bucket, empty, letting him sink into me.
I could’t tell him the real reason I told him to stop in the middle of us having sex; I couldn’t tell him I was bored, or that I felt absolutely nothing.
But I will never forget how I put an oversized shirt on while he argued naked with me and begged me to finish him. I felt like I was being used, like the fact that I said no wasn’t good enough when it should have been, like the fact that he fought it terrified me.
When I finally had enough of his emotional whiplash, his emotional abuse, his emotional trauma that I couldn’t handle it, he showed up at my window at three in the morning, weeping, begging me to take him back—or he would kill himself. An hour later I called his sister and told her to check on him, both of us terrified he wouldn’t be breathing.
Months later when I was newly in a safe and very happy relationship, (and two years late I still am) I drunkenly slept with him and all those memories are a black mural I still don’t understand.
I don’t remember saying yes. I don’t remember saying it was okay.
Did you know these things? Did you know that he deserved it when I smacked him because even you had taught me to never accept extreme disrespect? Did you know that when he took me to court over it that he never showed?
Did you know that when I told you I still desperately loved your family that I meant it? That when you forbid me to speak to them because of how I had destroyed your son, I cried?
I poured my very soul into your green-eyed boy and finally pulled those pieces out when I realized he wasn’t a man.
Guide and teach and love, but never blind yourself to the emotional trauma he did to me because I left him and broke his heart to save myself.
Do not blame me for the fact that he was already broken when I shattered him.
Guide and teach and love, but never judge.