What a crummy situation to be in. You want your family’s love and support, yet they are unable to offer it. I will say this now, and return to it later — the biggest lesson here is to set limits on what you share with your family about your love life. This is important to remember for the future. As tempting as it is to communicate everything to your family, there is always the opportunity for it to come back at you when you least expect it.
What you need now is damage control. Sit your family down and have a talk with them. Explain that you have three things to say: First, you need them to support you as you find your way in this relationship, and that you appreciated their help in the past, and would like to be able to count on their support for the future. Secondly, I would let them know that he wasn’t the only one at fault for the breakup, that you bear some of the responsibility, and that the two of you are trying to piece things together because you now realize how much you care for each other.
Finally, I would be blunt and tell them that they are distancing themselves from you in a way that is similar to how he pulled away from you. In other words, they are doing to you what he did. You thought you could rely on him, someone you cared deeply for, and he backed away. You thought you could rely on your family, people you also care for deeply, and they are backing away. Ask them to give you the benefit of making your own mistakes and finding your own joy in the world.
Back to my opening statement. The lesson learned here is to limit what you share with your family about how the relationship is going, not going, floundering, etc. You are a grown woman and get to make your own choices and reap the benefits or consequences of them. Your family only wants the best for you, but they introduce their opinions as criticism, which never helps.
Wishing you patience and peace,
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on November 9, 2010.