Living with my older man, Marco, had a lot of perks. He was a great cook, great company, and a good lover. After we were both settled in, he took me to open my own bank account and put money in it, since I didn’t have a job. He added me as an authorized user on his Visa with a $10,000 limit.
All of this was so new to me because I never had any money before. What am I supposed to do with all of this? Go on a wild shopping spree? Other girls might, but that just wasn’t my style. For my age, I was surprisingly responsible, which was a shock to Marco. At most, I spent money on one big ticket item, a laptop for school, which he agreed was necessary, even with my over-the-top specs for it.
Each month, the bill came in and he paid it with no questions asked. I didn’t have a job for the entire first year of our relationship, and he didn’t want me to have one; he wanted me to focus on school so that I could make something of myself. It didn’t matter what I charged to his card—gas, food, clothes, books for school—as long as I was going to school every day and getting good grades, taking care that the house was clean, and making sure the sex was fresh and exciting.
His dedication to my education was the best thing he could have ever given me. Along with teaching me proper dinner etiquette for business dinners, which despite being a little Pretty Woman, wasn’t the only thing this distinguished Italian lover taught me.
During the course of this first year together, he traveled a lot, sometimes for weeks at a time, so it was wonderful when he was home. It drew our relationship out over time, because he was gone about two to three weeks of every month. At times, it was very lonely and isolated. He had his friends, his work, and his business life. I had my school and a few friends who lived an hour away.
In school, most of my classmates were guys, and making friends was hard because Marco was surprisingly jealous. Plus, once they found out I was living with an older man, they typically shunned me. It took some time, but we worked out our boundaries for friendships and I found a small but reliable group of friends in the city. If I could change anything about the way we handled our relationship in the beginning, I would change how we decided to move in together so quickly and, instead, I would have chosen to have my own apartment, to learn to live on my own first without depending on someone else. Hindsight is 20/20, though.
So, here I am living in a beautiful rent-free house, driving a new vehicle, and all of my needs are met without question. I was doing really well in school and pretty much without a care in the world, until one fateful night about six months into our living arrangement.
Marco was packing to leave again for another business trip and I was feeling a bit needy. I really just wanted an extra day with him; he landed Saturday morning and was packing to head out early Monday morning. He smiled, kissed me tenderly, and looked at me with this look, as if to say sarcastically through expression, “You poor thing.” All he said out loud was, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. You are taken care of.”
As if that was all I needed? An occasional lover, an absent boyfriend, a businessman so caught up in himself and his work that I was just a mere complimentary service of his coming home. All of a sudden, my seemingly perfect life wasn’t looking so perfect anymore.