Big casually mentioned that he'd be going to a family birthday party out of town one Saturday. He did not invite me along, and I did not ask why. I figured there could be a million reasons why a person would not invite someone to a family party. Particularly a birthday, where he would know that I would feel obligated to bring a gift.
Without prompting from me, Big explained to me that I wasn't invited because there would be some members of his extended family at the party with whom it wasn't easy to get along. He felt, and I quote, that "when you meet my family, you should do so on my mother's turf."
I'll admit; I caved at this point. I really, really believed that Big saw us in a relationship. We were together all the time. I felt like Big must enjoy that time together as much as I did, because more often than not, he was the one making plans. That had not changed. In fact, when Big expressed concern that he was neglecting some of his projects and friendships, I suggested we could spend less time together. I left it up to him entirely, and he continued to spend most of his time with me.
So, I felt confident enough to invite Big to a family event. Big had met my father, and a couple of family members we'd run into when we were out and about. But this was different. My entire family would be at this party. It was a big deal to me. Anyone who shared in this day needed to be someone who was going to be around. If that wasn't the case with Big, I would have been fine going solo.
Big went out of his way to dress-to-impress, to dance with me at the party, to meet all of my family and make a good impression. I remember thinking I'd made the right choice. It certainly seemed like he wanted to be around...