The Outrageous Way I Got My Boyfriend’s Family to Approve of Our May-December Relationship

I was meet­ing my older man’s fam­ily for the first time at his cousin’s wed­ding, and as the evening wore on, we started min­gling with the rest of the extended fam­ily. Keegan’s fam­ily is mas­sive, and all of the cousins his age had chil­dren who were about 10 years younger than myself—I was offi­cially closer in age to all of the kids.

After the main recep­tion party, all of the cousins—basically every­one Keegan’s age—decided to keep the party going. The grand­par­ents stepped in to take care of all the kids while the “adults” all met up at a local bar. On the way there, we rode with Kelly and Richard, the bride and groom.  In the back­seat of their car, Kee­gan warned me. “They’re prob­a­bly going to grill you now. Just be your­self. I love you,” he whis­pered to me.

It was a quick five-minute ride from the recep­tion to the bar; we were all quickly seated in a large booth and pulled more tables and chairs over to accom­mo­date the rest of the group. “So Vivian, you are the only new face of the group,” his cousin War­ren started. “Here it comes,” I thought to myself.

What are your inten­tions with Kee­gan? Do you plan on hav­ing sex and need pro­tec­tion?” War­ren said, laugh­ing as he chugged his beer.

Kee­gan said you work full-time. What do you do? Are you a nanny or some­thing?” Warren’s wife of 15 years, Carla, asked.

You’re drink­ing, so you aren’t preg­nant, right? I can’t fig­ure out why a 20-something as hot as you would want this old man! Hey, Kee­gan and I were born two months apart. Do I get a free pass?” joked Richard, as his new wife smacked his arm.

Slow down, slow down. She’s clearly ine­bri­ated and new to our all-night drink­ing. She has a low tol­er­ance being so young,” his other cousin Kim chimed in. As uncom­fort­able as I was, I joined in with the laughter.

Luck­ily, I didn’t actu­ally get a chance to answer any of their ques­tions before Kee­gan chimed in. “She’s my sexy babysit­ter, because you know, I need a babysit­ter, since I don’t have any kids!” The room erupted with laugh­ter at Keegan’s sar­cas­tic joke, paint­ing me as his babysitter.

Every­one except Carla was laugh­ing. We didn’t know at the time, but it turned out that her hus­band, War­ren, had been hav­ing an affair with their for­eign babysit­ter. We didn’t know, and didn’t mean to touch on a sen­si­tive sub­ject. The group of cousins had a lot of good fun oth­er­wise with our age dif­fer­ence and was over­all a very good group of peo­ple. It wasn’t long before they were all ready to retire to bed; hav­ing kids was appar­ently tiring.

Since we had none of our own—other than me, they joked—we weren’t ready to go bed. So Kee­gan and I decided to take a stroll by the bay. It was beau­ti­ful at night; the per­fect spot to watch the sun­rise. We cud­dled up in the front seat of his Dodge Charger and waited. We dis­cussed the evening and had a few good laughs.Overall, Kee­gan felt that it went well and that I had been “cemented” into his fam­ily now as his soon to be young wife.

Keegan’s fam­ily left quite an impres­sion on me, too, being filled with many cou­ples who were together in such long, sta­ble mar­riages that weath­ered count­less storms—his own par­ents are mar­ried for 47 years now, his grand­par­ents for 68 years, and his aunts for 30 to 40 years. Many of his cousins’ mar­riages were the same way; most were head­ing on their sec­ond decade of mar­riage. That’s not a value or prin­ci­pal that is present in my fam­ily. I loved Kee­gan deeply, and very much wanted to have a sta­ble, happy mar­riage with him, full of longevity and pas­sion. Kee­gan could make this dream come true for me.

His fam­ily could give our future kids the child­hood fam­ily expe­ri­ence that I never had. The grand­par­ent expe­ri­ence, the great-grandparent expe­ri­ence, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles—in Keegan’s fam­ily, they’re all a tight-knit group, but totally non-existent on my side of the fam­ily. I joked with him that I would marry him for his fam­ily, instead of “mar­ry­ing for money,” like every­one usu­ally assumes with age-gap couples.

Most of all, aside from a few jokes and ques­tions, his fam­ily accepted me. They accepted our non-conventional May-December rela­tion­ship and were happy for us. I couldn’t ask for any­thing more. They wanted to see Kee­gan happy, and finally—many years later after the rest of the cousins’ his age—they were see­ing him happy, in love, and ready to wed.