The Only Thing That Compromising Won’t Solve in Your May-December Relationship: Part 2

Katharine McPhee Files for Divorce

Being sev­eral years older than me, 26 to be exact, he was in a far bet­ter eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion than I was. How­ever, his men­tal and emo­tional states were some­thing dif­fer­ent. Bran­don was not only a for­mer alco­holic, but he was also a man who had been scorned by his ex-wife and endured the humil­i­a­tion of infi­delity. This caused him to become very defen­sive about his feel­ings and he became a devout Chris­t­ian man. I com­pletely under­stood where Bran­don was com­ing from, but it wasn’t until one of our weekly Wednes­day night dates, the one day that we both could see each other, that I saw another side of Brandon.

As a born-again Chris­t­ian, Bran­don con­stantly preached the Bible to those around him. It was his crutch, in my opin­ion, but he found his sobri­ety through the verses of the Bible and tried his best to live accord­ing to the “Word of God.” As a bor­der­line athe­ist, I couldn’t help but bite my tongue when­ever he tried to preach it to me. He never force­fully tried to make me con­vert but he never accepted or respected my beliefs. And that was some­thing that I could not under­stand. I thought I had met Bran­don halfway, but when he con­fronted me that night about how I was not help­ing him stay “obe­di­ent,” it was a total slap in the face.

The minute Bran­don texted me to come out­side, I was over­joyed. I hadn’t seen him in a week and to see that he was within my reach to kiss and hug, I was ecsta­tic, to say the least. But I had a weird feel­ing that there was some­thing off about his tone of voice on the phone. Prepar­ing myself for what­ever it was that he wanted to say to me, I had rehearsed what I might say if he ever tried to con­front me for my lack of inter­est in Chris­tian­ity. As an accept­ing and under­stand­ing girl­friend, I never told Bran­don that I felt that the Bible was full of con­tra­dic­tions (and maybe a lot of you might dis­agree now read­ing this, but again, I’m enti­tled to my own opinion.)

Again, I never expressed my views to Bran­don and that was my fault. But when Bran­don told me we needed to talk and he con­fessed that I was not the woman he thought I was, I nearly broke down. I wasn’t sad to hear him say that, but I was enraged. He appar­ently thought that I was some eas­ily mal­leable young girl who he was going to con­vert into his own per­fect Chris­t­ian woman. The gall! In the months that we had been dat­ing, I never once told him that I was going to become a Chris­t­ian. Never. And yet here he was wish­ing that I wanted to change or that I cared enough for him to change.

If some­one truly likes you and wants to reach the next level of a rela­tion­ship with you, it should never feel like you need to change for them, but rather you want­ing to change for them. That was the prob­lem with Bran­don. He was fun-loving, affec­tion­ate, and had a charm­ing per­son­al­ity, and in return he wanted a sweet inno­cent, devout Chris­t­ian woman who he could brag about at his church with his Chris­t­ian friends. Not only that, but we would be the happy Chris­t­ian cou­ple at work. Bran­don didn’t exactly phrase it all like that, but that was what it came off as to me. He did express very clearly though that I was the rea­son he wasn’t going to church as often as he used to. I was the rea­son that he was sin­ning and hav­ing sex out of wed­lock. Accord­ing to him, it was all my fault. And to this day, that is still the biggest weak­ness in our May-December relationship.

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About Lena

I’d always dreamed of the perfect fairytale prince in storybooks—ready with money and status to come save me from my chaotic, average life and treat me like his princess. Add a 26-year age difference and I found the closest thing to it. Not everything comes as easy as we expect it to, but that’s what makes it all the more fun. At 18 years old, I experienced that “Mr. Right Now” love with a guy my age named Jared. Two years later, I met Brandon, my older man. Jared was the typical playboy who romanced my naïve younger self and made me fall hard for him. That relationship caused me to view love in an entirely different way than I previously had, and I’m actually glad it did. By the time I met Brandon, I had become wiser and more prepared for the reality of relationships. Even though at 20 years old I didn’t show the tell-tale signs of a smart, mature woman, that was exactly what I had become. I started as a part-time secretary for a highly respectable office, while juggling a full-time load of college courses at the local university. It was my first official job where I had to wear heels, pencil skirts, and an occasional suit. I was no longer the high-school girl that found “true love” after graduation and had her heart broken immediately after. The new woman I was now was confident and smart, and when I saw Brandon walk through the lobby door, I knew he’d be a challenge, one I was ready to accept. Now at 22, and Brandon at 48, we’ve managed to keep a two -year relationship feeling like the very first day we met—all the excitement and butterflies are still very much present.