Loss by proxy

There’s been this rumor going around my family that my brother Joey broke up with his girlfriend.  Last night, the rumor was confirmed.  My mom was devastated, and told me, “I feel like she’s the one he let get away.”

I’m pretty upset about it too.  I keep having to stop myself from crying – as though it was me getting dumped.  But we all really liked this girl; in the few months they were together, she easily became part of our family.  For Christmas, she got me skimpy pajamas; Martin, a pound of bacon; Doug, beer; and my parents, a spot for their dog on our local shelter’s memorial tree.  How can you not fall in love with that?

I guess the problem was logistical: she’s 32, my brother’s 25.  She probably wants to settle down and make babies sooner rather than later, and he has a different plan for himself.  You can’t change those things.  They’re often deal-breakers.  I get it.

But…  Shit.  Is this how my people felt when I split with my ex?  Did they love him as much as we all love this girl?  Were they personally hurt by the loss of a person they’d come to accept as part of the clan?

I’d like to say I’m sorry if they were, except that, when I think about it, I’m not sorry.  I had to lose too much myself – my ex’s 50% of that clan, for example, and a few of my own half – to give a shit about what other people thought they were losing.  And I still stand by that; it was my life and my loss.  Those other people needed to stop worrying so much about their own hurt feelings and support me.

And now I’m a big hypocrite, because I don’t want to support my brother, who has repeatedly broken up with girlfriends for no apparent reason and with no good explanation, and left them reeling.  Even as we were accepting this most recent girl into our lives, I kept telling Doug and my parents, “It’s too bad I like her, because I don’t really like him [in these situations].”  What I’d like to do, instead of supporting my brother, is get ahold of this girl (who, understandably but annoyingly, has deleted her facebook and fallen off the face of the planet) and tell her I’m on her side.*

On the selfish bright side, I no longer have to worry about my brother getting married and having babies before I do.  And maybe my poor mom, who had put her trust in yet another of her children’s failed relationships, will finally start to realize that Doug really is going to be hanging around for a while (even if she has to tell herself that it’s only if compared to everyone else) and accept him a little more warmly. 

And maybe I, in turn, can finally stop worrying about the state of my own union and waiting for the other shoe to drop, because here we still are, despite a rocky beginning and several insurmountable-seeming challenges over the past few years.  Maybe I should consider myself lucky to be in a relationship that’s withstood the tests of time and trauma – I mean, I already do, but the reminder of how fragile even the most “perfect” relationships can be certainly helps.

And that being said, I have to cut this short, because Doug and I are going on a date tonight.

*Mattie, if you’re reading this, I’m so, so sorry.  We really do all love you and would have been honored to have you in our family.  Would you like me to set you up with Martin?  He loves babies and probably would be happy to have some of his own, like, yesterday.

This entry was posted in family, love, other people's stories, perspective. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Loss by proxy

  1. Summastarlet says:

    Stopping by for ICLW, so hello!

    Sorry to hear about your brothers repeated break ups for no good reason. I hope the latest is not the one that gets away…perhaps you are right and they are just at different stages in their lives. I totally get the feeling of relief about your brother not settling down and having babies before you do…I often wonder if my little sister will get the babies before I do.

  2. slcurwin says:

    It’s so hard not to think of our own relationships when this happens. Sorry to hear about this.
    I love that you are wanting to set her up with someone else just to keep her around, lol.

  3. AP says:

    You know, my brother just ended a relationship with a girl I really liked, too, but their age difference was too much. Oh well.

    Have a great dinner and very nice recognition of Empire Records! No one ever knows that!

  4. Josey says:

    Here from ICLW!

    I totally get this – as the oldest of 5, it’s HUGE when we all love a significant other… and crushing when those relationships don’t always last. Hopefully this means you’ll get your BFP asap and then your bro and she will get back together and start on making cousins (but only when you’ve had your baby first *grin*!).

    Breakups are hard…even when you’re just another family member…

  5. Liz says:

    Stopping by for ICLW. I know it’s not my sibling, but my cousin-in-law recently broke up with her bf for the same reasons. I think he proposed or was close to it and she decided to break things off because she wasn’t ready to settle down. The sad part is, I like him SO MUCH more than her.

    I totally understand the selfish fear that someone else will get married and pregnant before you ever do. I often say it would suck if so-and-so got pregnant before me. Ahh infertility!!!

  6. Kristin says:

    Hope you had a wonderful date.

    I’m sorry your brother dumped what sounds like a fabulous woman.

    ICLW #19

  7. Pingback: Unsent Letter #4 | Bakery Closed Until Further Notice

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