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.