A concept I had a hard time comprehending in my younger, wilder days was that if my prospective mate doesn’t get along with my family, that’s a bad sign—a sign this person might, ultimately, not get along with me either. The best and worst thing about my family is they’re like me—they know me and what’s best for me when I don’t, and it’s infuriating when they’re right despite trying to prove them wrong. And when’s there’s consensus the farther I expand the circle of members from which I seek advice and approval, the more right they all are. (I’ve also found that if I have to go outside of my immediate family for approval on something, it’s probably the wrong thing to do.)
I had to learn this the hard way, as with most things I’ve learned. Now, this is not to say that since the means of acquiring this knowledge was heart-wrenching, and embarrassing, and a whole host of other adjectives which make for an uncomfortable experience when applied to your existence, that I retained the knowledge any more completely. Nay, I often forget and have to learn it all over again, with the same pains and regrets. You’d also think that I, knowing I’ve preferred the hard way over the years, would have adopted a new, enlightened standard of trying the easy way first, just to see what it’s all about. This also has not happened.
I know what the easy way is; I know my family’s advice is worthy of consideration. But I shirk it—I’m confident that I can defy the odds. I proclaim, waving a dismissive hand at those warning me: “Bahhh, I know what I’m doing. I know others have tried and failed when ignoring all of these red flags before, but I’ll make it work. I’m the exception!” Then I find out how unexceptional I am and that their admonitions were spot on.
So I guess this is a roundabout apology to all those people whose advice was compassionately given but I refused to heed.