I broke up with my ex-girlfriend “Sam” about a year ago. It was a super serious relationship: timeline for having kids/holidays with each other’s families serious. The official reason for said breakup is that I was tired of long distance (Sam has a temporary position in the neighboring state).
Reality is more complicated.
1. Sam was really insecure about the fact that my ex-boyfriend was my best friend as it wasn’t “normal” to stay in touch with your exes. It got to the point that she banned me from talking about him and refused to meet him and his husband/son when they came to visit. We had planned a trip to the city my ex lived in right before we broke up and I was having panic attacks about bringing it up.
2. Sam had a lot of internalized misogyny from her more conservative, Christian upbringing that led to some judgmental statements about my past.
3. I have some mental health issues that I treat with medication and therapy. They’re well managed but if anything flared up, Sam would insist I find a new therapist because the one I had wasn’t “curing” my issues. She said I was being lied to when I stated that therapy is not a cure.
4. We’d have what I took as “Let’s agree to disagree” moments about X which she’d then bring up in later unrelated disagreements about Y. She’d usually do this in front of others, with a laugh and an eye roll.
5. Towards the end of our relationship, Sam informed me she wasn’t sure how she felt anymore. She wasn’t sure she wanted to move back because there was no guarantee our relationship would work out and she was afraid she was wasting her time with the long distance. She asked me to convince her it would work.
At some point, we had a dumb argument, didn’t speak for three days. I realized I was relieved to have a break from reassuring my girlfriend about our relationship. I was exhausted trying to give Sam a kind of security no one could. I broke up with her the next time we spoke on the phone. After some time, Sam and I started casually texting. I’m able to cope as the emotional stakes were waaaaay lower. I love her sense of humor and I do take pride in maintaining friendships with former partners. I have zero interest in anything non-platonic with Sam.
Sam and my parents/brother have stayed in touch. They became close while we were together and this normal behavior for my family (they’ve stayed in touch with my aunts and uncles’ former SOs). I’ve tried to explain to my family why we broke up but they spin it some way where it’s never anything Sam did wrong in the relationship and that I’m being too picky.
Recently, Sam has pressed me to visit/come see me. My family is ecstatic about this and asked her down for the holidays. She thankfully already had plans. Unperturbed, my parents got her a Christmas present. Not just any Christmas but fancy alcohol. Which they legally can’t ship. So I’m expected to hand deliver it and I’m not sure I’m ready to be in a room with Sam.
I’ve considered the nuclear option but doing so risks damaging the close relationship I have with my parents and brother. I’ve gone with the flow up to this point. I don’t care that my family maintains contact with Sam (okay, I care a little), but I don’t want to be in the middle of it.
Questions: Is there a tactful way to extricate myself from the love fest between my family and my ex-girlfriend? Have I screwed myself by being non-confrontational up to this point? Am I being too picky? Should I have given into my instincts and chugged the 12-year-aged Scotch I’m giving Sam in two days, consequences be damned?
Didn’t Ask to be Santa’s Helper