Written by: Heather Patterson
I was called to learn some hard things about love and family at the age of 23.
I went home for Christmas in 2019 and brought my boyfriend-at-the-time, Joe, with me. We had intentions to talk to our family about getting engaged. We had known since we met that we wanted to be together. We already had made big life plans together; we are both coffee connoisseurs and wanted so badly to get married and open our own coffee shop.
My family had other plans.
When we went home that Christmas my family was very judgmental of Joe. They are very conservative and tend to go too far sometimes, but this time was the worst. My dad took Joe out for coffee and drilled him on our relationship. Asking him if we have sex, asking how often it was, reprimanding him for the fact that he drinks alcohol, how he made less money than me, how his choice to watch pornography when he was a teenager was playing into how our relationship is now and how there was no way that Joe could be a good man.
After this conversation, my dad came back home and told me that I had disappointed him beyond repair and that there was no hope for me. He said it would be impossible for me to regain his trust and the only way it MIGHT work is if Joe and I broke up.
Out of desperation, we decided together that we would break-up to hopefully try to mend the relationship I had with my family.
The next several months were insanely hard for both of us.
I knew we were supposed to be together. The more I tried to get over it, the more I missed Joe and wanted to be back together with him. There was no one that was going to replace him, and the pain of literally not saying one word was excruciating.
Nine months later after getting counsel from some of my friends, I decided to surprise Joe for his birthday. I wanted closure at the very least. I wanted to move on with my life or if he was still on board (I had no idea if he would be or not) then maybe we could figure out how to be together again.
I showed up on his birthday and hung out with some of his friends till he showed up at their house. I stood around the corner, and when he walked in I came out.
He thought he saw a ghost at first but then we both started crying so hard, holding each other so close.
We both stepped out and talked for a bit realizing how much love we still had for each other. We decided to try again and not care anymore what my family thought about us.
A few months later I sent my parents a very long email explaining everything. Standing up for Joe and myself and deciding that we weren’t going to let other people’s opinions stand in the way of our future and our dreams.
My dad called me the next day and tried to convince me otherwise. He told me that Joe was addicted to porn, that Joe made me have sex with him, and that Joe was a drunk. He was so angry with me.
I was so sad and confused. I wanted to do something that would make me feel free and in control so Joe and I literally went and got matching tattoos that day.
It took quite a while for my parents to be comfortable with us dating again, but after a lot of convincing they are finally now happy that we are together and they are just as excited for our future as we are!
It’s been two years now that it happened and we just got engaged three weeks ago! We also have plans to start our coffee shop at the end of next summer. We are SO happy and in love.
I’m so glad that I went through this experience even though it was so painful.
I learned so much about not caring what other people think, and the joy of what happens when you choose yourself. You never know what you are capable of until you choose yourself.
The people that are your biggest supporters won’t ask for you to change, they will stand by you while you continue to choose yourself and your dreams, and applaud you when you accomplish them!
Fast forward to today, it’s the pain and struggle I remember the most that enables me to love Joe with every ounce of who I am today.
I challenge you to choose yourself; to show up for yourself. You will be surprised by what you can accomplish.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”