Wednesday, February 4, 2015

May/December Relationships: How Patrick & I Met

Hey everyone,

This post is concerning a subject that I've been wanting to share for quite some time, however I've never found the inspiration to write about it until now.

For those of you who don't know, Patrick and I are in what is considered a "May/December" relationship, which basically means that there is a considerable age gap between us. Here is the definition that Urban Dictionary gives, which is actually considerably accurate given that their definitions are usually satirical:

"May/December relationship refers to a relationship between two people where one partner is in the 'winter' of their life (old) and the other partner in the relationship is in the 'spring' of their life (young). This can go either way, such as the woman is older or the man is older. 

May/December relationships can either be superficial or serious - so the term doesn't itself say anything about the status of the relationship.

Basically any kind of involved relationship where there is a substantial age difference between the two people and the relationship does not consist of either partner being considered legally underage."

This may be a bit of a long post. In fact, I will be splitting it into two sections to prevent one long, rambling post. Here are the following topics that I'm going to cover: How Patrick and I met, what made us decide that this was the right choice for us, how our families took the information, and how our day-to-day lives go and the scrutiny we sometimes face.

So, here we go!

1. How Patrick and I met

Patrick and I met because of a T shirt and a blogging website.

In September 2012, I was working at my summer job, dreading the day it would end because I did not have a backup plan (my anxiety makes new jobs very difficult for me). One night, I was determined to find an online copy of The Emperor's New Groove, which is by far one of the best Disney movies out there (in my opinion). I was having a hard time finding it, so I bought a hard copy of it on Amazon and would expect it in 3-5 business days, and then I started to search through the Emperor's New Groove tags on Tumblr, which is a blogging website (much different than Blogger, which is the site I use to post this very blog). When I got to the "Kronk" tag (a character in the movie), I noticed a really fantastic shirt that someone posted a picture of. I thought it was great, so I reblogged it (posted it to my blog) with a comment saying how much I needed that shirt and wondering where it came from, never expecting a response.

The shirt that started it all.

Six days after I had reblogged the post, I was shocked to get a response from the original author, saying that they had ordered the shirt custom made. The guy was really nice about it, which was more than I ever hoped for since you can get some very pretentious people on that website. His kindness prompted me to peruse his blog, which I found to have some really great stuff on it, and so I followed it (therefore his posts showed up in my feed, much like a person's posts would show up on your Facebook feed after you become "friends" with them).

In November, I landed a new job, and sometime between September and November I found a new boyfriend. I was working at Family Video part-time, struggling to make ends meet and braving the storm until my summer job started up again and I could work both jobs. My boyfriend at the time was roughly 5-6 years older (I don't quite remember), however our relationship was going nowhere fast, and we were about to hit our breaking point, in which he told me something that he knew would get me to break up with him, which is what we both wanted but neither of us knew how to do it in a normal, healthy way.

I spent most of my non-work time either with the boyfriend or at home, watching TV or scrolling through the internet. For months, I followed this mystery person's blog, trying to find any speck of personal information in the things he posted. I couldn't figure out his name, age, race, or anything else. I was fascinated. He posted so many interesting things about going to Disneyland and other Disney related things, which I of course loved because I grew up as a Disney child. It seemed as though a simple post about a shirt had sparked a fiery curiosity in me.

My curiosity got the best of me and I began sending him questions (a feature available on Tumblr) as early as September 28th, 2012, such as "How do you know if you get a pin you already have?" (he collects Disney pins and trades them in the park, which is a big thing in DL and WDW). I finally stopped with the random questions around January 9th and began asking him questions about himself, and from this sparked a conversation that has never stopped.

Within only a couple of days of knowing each other, we knew all of the serious basics. Ages, family situations, names, general locations, etc. Because of Patrick's job (travelling frequently but teaching online courses from home most of the time), he was able to talk to me as often as I was available-- and with my very sparse schedule due to lack of available shifts at Family Video, we talked a LOT. An important thing to understand about Patrick is that he is very tech-savvy. The nature of his profession is all about technology, and because this is is what he has held positions in for most of his life, he is very up to date with things like social medias. In a way, his background in technology keeps him young, and it is because of this reason that we have as much in common as we do.

As we continued talking upwards of eight hours per day through various social medias, a plan began to hatch. When Patrick and I first met I was still in a faithful relationship, however by mid-January he and I had broken up and I was free to explore the possibility of being with Patrick, whom I had found myself deeply attracted to, especially on an intellectual level. We decided had to meet each other in order to see if our relationship was compatible in person, and so we planned to meet in Michigan; he was going to fly to me and stay at a hotel near my house, and I (knowing that most people would freak out) only told one person that he was coming to see me. This may seem "unsafe," however Patrick and I were both extremely cautious about our meeting. His loved ones knew where he was and what he was doing and knew that failure on his part to contact them was a red flag. I also did regular check ins with the person who knew I was meeting Patrick; I left a notebook at home with all relevant information in it such as his name, location, and workplace, plus all of my relevant information such as an inked set of my finger prints, where we were staying, and any "markers," such as my tattoos. My check in person had a list of emergency contacts and instructions to call as many people as necessary to get them to that notebook and get it to the police if anything were to go wrong or I were to miss a check in. I never had the sense that our meeting was unsafe; I never felt as though I was going to be "Catfished" or abducted or hurt in the process, however I felt that not taking precautionary measures was ignorant and negligent. I did, and still do, trust Patrick with my life, and I know now that we absolutely needed that time alone without the scrutiny of some of the people from whom I intentionally kept the meeting secret.

Patrick flew from California to Michigan on February 14, 2013. I met him at the airport, picked him up, and we went from there. Our conversations came easily and we found that we were extremely well suited for one another in almost every way. Immediately, I was more comfortable with him than I have ever been with anyone I have ever met. He stayed a total of five days in Michigan with me, and in that very short span of time I fell more in love with him than I already had just from our many hours of talking. We visited some of the food places that he rarely gets to eat at (such as White Castle) and I treated him to Michigan delicacies such as Jet's Deep Dish Pizza. One day, while I was at work, he left the hotel and walked to Party City, where he purchased tons of balloons, a string of heart shaped lights, and other various little gifts, all of which he gave to me for my belated birthday and for Valentine's Day, along with several things that he brought me from Disneyland-- including a cookie that he tucked away for almost a month while waiting to meet me. His maturity in comparison to other men I had met, even older ones, blew me away, and it balanced astonishingly well with his playful and "young" personality. I know that it isn't always the same for everyone in our situation, but our relationship was even stronger in person than it was through simple verbal/written communication.
Our first picture together and possibly the only time he has ever let me be the one who drives (we took this at a stoplight-- oops!).

When he left, I was so upset about his departure that I couldn't contain myself; I broke down in tears and told my mother everything that had happened, and from then on she knew everything that went on between me and him. Slowly but surely I began to tell people about our relationship, some much later than others because I knew them well enough to know they would have a negative reaction (and in all cases, I was right).

One month later, Patrick had been working in Ohio, and instead of flying straight home, he rented a car and drove up to see me in Michigan, where he stayed for four days (and I got to be sick with the flu for all of them!). This time, he met my mother and my best friend's mom, mostly to ease my mother's mind about him, and he played the role of my nurse for me while I suffered through an awful head cold. The only upside to this was that I was so sick that I had to call off of work twice, allowing me more (albeit miserable) time with him.

One month after that, in April, Patrick paid for me to be flown from Michigan to LAX, where he drove from SF to meet me and take me to Disneyland. It was my first trip to California, my first time flying alone, and my first trip to Disneyland all in one. It is safe to say that it was an extremely emotional trip for me. I stayed for five days, and then I flew home, and to this day it still amazes me how much joy Patrick had in seeing me smile during that trip.

My first trip to Disneyland, with Patrick wearing the shirt.

Knowing that Patrick and I could no longer financially and emotionally afford to have a long distance relationship, and knowing that my life was definitely not going anywhere in Michigan (working two part time jobs, 45+ hours a week on my feet, struggling with a lot of family drama and so much stress that I was on a regular dose of Xanax and losing weight rapidly from the physical activity, lack of time to eat, and stress), we made the decision to move me to California. Initially we had planned on maybe September or October, but our inability to travel to one another was not something that either of us was excited about, so we moved up the date and I began telling family members about my plans to move. I did a lot of preparation; I had my car fixed so that it would make it across the country, I convinced one of my best friends to take a road trip with me, I threw out/gave away probably 2/3 of everything I owned, and I packed the rest. I did these things all while taking literally every shift that was offered to me at either of my jobs, sometimes working doubles at one job or a shift at both in one day, and I saved up to get myself across the country. In total, my trip cost about $500 (gas, splitting a cheap hotel room with Kerry, food), and the rest of my savings I used to support myself while I was job hunting once I moved in with Patrick and his daughter. I was very particular about this part, and I wouldn't let Patrick pay for anything that was for me until I moved in with him (and even then we went back and forth with paying for things like meals). I never wanted anyone to be able to say that I didn't get myself to where I was by myself. Of course, Patrick was there with a place for me to stay rent-free, but I worked my butt off to get myself across the country and to support myself during the time that I was job hunting.

Moving across the country to be with Patrick will likely always be the best decision I ever made for myself.

And so we come full circle. My first ever post on this blog was about my road trip here, and now I've explained how that all came to fruition. This post is, as I expected, quite long, so I condensed and just glazed over a lot of the details, but I will definitely be cutting off here so that I don't bore you all to death. If any of you have any relevant questions, please feel free to shoot me a private message on Facebook!

Stay tuned for my next post, which will involve the following topics about my May/December relationship with Patrick: what made us decide that this was the right choice for us, how our families took the information, and how our day-to-day lives go and the scrutiny we sometimes face.

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