By Koty Neelis
When you meet someone who comes from a broken family you probably won’t know it right away. They’ll do their best to blend in, to watch their words, to make sure they seem like everyone else. It’s a habit they’ve picked up over the years. How easy it is to look like all the rest. How easy it is to perform the same dance and routine.
Wear the right clothes. Say the right things. Don’t let your guard down. Never allude to the fact there’s something missing.
And what is missing? It’s the question that continues to haunt them. Was it losing their parent at a young age? Was it the divorce, the abuse, the memories that can’t seem to go away? Was it because they had to grow up faster than everyone else? Not every broken person shares the same story and their story lives inside of them triumphantly defiant, an anchor holding the weight of their heart down, but the hollowness feels eerily similar all the same. They don’t know how to quite pinpoint when it all seemed to fall apart. All they know is that they fell. Hard.
When you start dating someone from a broken family at first it might all seem too easy. That’s because it is. You’ll ask them about their upbringing, their background, what their family’s like, and without blinking they’ll gloss over the ugly details with just enough relevant information you’ll actually believe you’re getting the real story. It’s not that they’re trying to be deceptive or misleading. They just know it’s easier this way. For both of you.
They know no one wants to hear about the long nights spent in the hospital waiting room wondering if their father’s okay and no one wants to talk about how their mother fucked them up or how their sibling was an addict or about how the pain from a broken home still lingers in the back of their mind regardless how many times they will it away. No, none of these are great first date topics. Even second, third, fifth dates just never seem appropriate for this kind of insight into their life. They’ve inherently always felt strange, in a way they don’t know how to communicate, in a way they hope won’t make you walk away from them and deem them unloveable forever.
In the beginning they’ll keep it up — this nervous charade. Letting you in just…