They say breaking up is hard to do. It's a time of loss, a time of mourning and a time of absolute grief that leaves you feeling completely alone in the unknown. To put it briefly, it f*cking sucks. Whether it's for a little while or forever, it's something that, after the denial wears away, we must accept.
The second thing we have to accept (especially if you're a family person) is that even though your ex's family felt like it was your own, it was not. And you will need to let it go, too.
Saying bye to your SO's family is hard. These people were there throughout your milestones just as much as your actual family was.
They were proud of you when you went off to your dream college. They were happy for you when you got a job. They asked how your day was and listened to you vent about it.
They always knew your favorite foods, and they had them ready when you showed up at their house after a long day. And they never let you feel left out of anything.
These people were the best. They treated you like one of their own, and a part of you feels guilty about the fact that you left their lives after all the good that came from being in them. Your ex's grandparents were great, too.
They gave you life advice, and they always showered you with compliments and wisdom. They loved you for fitting in and nurturing the dynamic they built.
Having your ex's siblings call or text you to find out when you're coming over, when you can all go to the mall or to ask if they have shoes you can borrow is a priceless feeling that we take for granted. You know there's no boundaries with them.
They'll fight with you one second and ask for advice the next. They'll cry to you when they're sad (you'll cry to them, too), and they'll call you to pick them up when they don't have a ride home.
They'll be the ones who stay up with you to bake brownies at 1 am, and you'll sneak them beer when they still can't get it. They'll make you play with them in the pool ad build forts out of blankets, and they'll beg you to stay just another hour. They'll teach you what love is all about and that family is something you can create for yourself.
The cousins are no different. You've now spent every holiday, birthday and New Year's together for years. They're your SO's best friends, and without saying, they become yours. You plan vacations together, you go to concerts and movies together and you have the wildest adventures together.
They'll know your strengths and weaknesses, they'll know what to say on your bad days and they know how awesome you are on your best. You'll have heart-to-hearts on the beach and learn each other's secrets. Without saying, you never judge one another.
They become your favorite people to see, no matter how often you see them. Your SO also appreciates the fact that you've taken the time to make them special to you.
And last but not least, you break up with the house that became your home. When you couldn't bear to deal with your own family, this home let you in. You have to let go of the kitchen that always had your favorite snacks and the many special memories that were created there as a family.
You have to let go of the den where you watched hours worth of marathons, the basement where you danced, sang and got too drunk in and you have to let go of the backyard that reminds you of floating around in the pool, remembering how lucky and in love you once were.
When you break up with your SO, it's not the family you're choosing to leave, but that's what comes with the deal. You have to remember that at the end of the day, it's the individual person you're in the relationship with, not his or her family. As much as that hurts, it's the truth. The two can be hard to separate, but we must do what is best for ourselves.
Saying goodbye to your SO's family is just as hard as saying goodbye to your SO. You give up a piece of your world, a piece of your life and a piece of your heart to the people who took you in as their own and gave you the unconditional love you deserved.
Whether it was a few months or a few years, they will always be a part of you. Whether you find each other again, or you find another family to fall in love with, they'll have taught you that you are worth all the love in the world. You now know to never settle for anything less than that.