Content warning: This post contains mentions of domestic violence and may be triggering to some readers.
My friends were shocked — to say the least — when I finally told them about this story. They said things like “But you’re so powerful and independent” and “I see you as such a feminist though.” But how this story played out wasn’t because of my stand on specific issues; it was a deep void of self-worth that I didn’t know I lacked.
Back in 2016, I was freshly back in the United States, experiencing reverse culture shock and overwhelming stress to find my first career job. I spent the past two years living around the world. I was a free-spirited, ambitious college student and figured out ways to make money while I lived in four different countries.
Now that I was back in America, I began my job search. I landed a job doing marketing for a health food snack company in Santa Monica. The team was small, practically non-existent. I was the third hire. It was me, the CEO, and a sales guy we’ll call Smith.
Due to the small nature of our company, Smith and I quickly became close and eventually friends, even hanging out outside of work. Smith was 12 years my senior. He had a tall, semi-in-shape-dad bod physique with grey hairs speckled throughout his beard. Smith exuded confidence but almost in an egotistical way. That kind of demeanour bodes well for sales though.
I only lasted at this job for seven months before the position started to change to e-commerce and I quickly realised that the lack of management wasn’t well-suited for my entry-level experience. By the time I made this decision, Smith and I were basically best friends; we got along exceptionally.
Perhaps the sparks were already flying a little at this point. It’s all a bit jumbled in my head as to what point exactly we started to become more than friends. One thing is for sure though, it was after I left the company. This is not to save anyone’s asses — neither of us works there anymore anyways.
I do, however, remember the point at which I nervously told Smith I wanted him to be my boyfriend. He was surprised, replying in a coy manner with, “Me? Are you sure?” The rest was history.
Since we built our relationship off of a solid friendship, it was comfortable being around Smith. His mature manner and a sense of purpose was sexy to me, and something that the younger men I had always chose to date lacked. We ended up moving in together; it was quick but quick seems to be my choice of pace with relationships.
It’s pertinent that I note that our relationship was not rainbows and butterflies. Both of us had a dating history of people that were the complete opposite of each other. I’m very much care-free, low maintenance, and am open to talking about my feelings – the epitome of a girl that contrasted Smith’s past relationships. Aside from his age, Smith had a less-than-appealing life narrative of being divorced and making semi-racist/negative comments. Like any couple though, we tried to work through our issues.