What I Said to My Rich Older Man When He Proposed (Not What You Think…)

For the first year of our rela­tion­ship, Derrick—my rich older boyfriend—was a com­plete secret. I was afraid to tell any­one in my life that I was with him out of fear that they would look at me dif­fer­ently. I never talked to any­one about our first kiss or our first dance; I never even dished to my girl­friends about the first time we had sex. It was like Der­rick didn’t exist.

On our one-year anniver­sary, Der­rick took me to the same lit­tle sushi restau­rant that we had gone to for our first date. Mid­way through din­ner, I went to the restroom, and on my way back to the table, I noticed Der­rick stand­ing with a dozen long stem roses. There was also a card that read, “For many more years to come.” I felt like the luck­i­est girl in the world.

When we arrived back at his place, Der­rick dis­ap­peared into the bed­room. I waited in the liv­ing room sip­ping on a glass of wine and think­ing about what was tak­ing him so long. My train of thought was sud­denly inter­rupted by the sound of glass shat­ter­ing. My heart skipped a beat, and I ran to see what hap­pened. As I turned the cor­ner into the bed­room, I saw Derrick—down on one knee, sur­rounded by rose petals, can­dles, and the pieces of a shat­tered wine glass.

This bro­ken glass rep­re­sents us,” Der­rick told me. “When I met you, I was bro­ken, but you put me together again. You showed me that it was pos­si­ble to love again. You were the glue that made me whole again. Marry me.” I stood in silence—I was too shocked to say any­thing. “Marry me, Cassie.” I could not speak. Like every­thing else that hap­pened in this rela­tion­ship, it was way too soon. But even with the hes­i­ta­tion in my heart, my body did what my mouth couldn’t: smiled and nod­ded. Der­rick slipped a beau­ti­ful dia­mond ring on my fin­ger, as tears streamed down my face.

The next morn­ing, I woke up with a knot in my stom­ach. Some­thing wasn’t right. A beau­ti­ful, hand­some, attrac­tive, rich older man pro­posed to me, and I didn’t want to tell a soul. The thought of it made me feel sick. By this point, some peo­ple knew that I was see­ing an older man, but they didn’t know how seri­ous our rela­tion­ship actu­ally was. I knew that I needed to make a choice. So that morn­ing, I decided that I would stop car­ing about what the world thought of our rela­tion­ship. I loved this man, and I knew that no mat­ter what his age was, this man loved me back. I no longer cared what any­one thought or what peo­ple would say. This was my life—I was ready to come out and tell the world that the old man was offi­cially mine.

I called my mom, my friends, and my fam­ily. I let every­one know the news. I didn’t let them say much, because I knew that many of them would not share in my joy.  Most of them still believed there was some­thing wrong with this whole pic­ture, that there must have been an ulte­rior motive of some sort.  To them, it didn’t make sense.

I didn’t lis­ten to what they had to say—if they weren’t happy for me, I sim­ply did not have the time to lis­ten, and I refused to let them bring me down.

Think­ing back to that day, I never could have imagined—perhaps because I was so naïve—what the months ahead would bring.