After attending Catholic Church with Mary, Brandan felt berated by her demand that he doesn't "look at girls" in the worship space
The American man has only spent a few days with his long-distance love, Mary, in the Philippines, but he’s setting some ground rules. An outing to church made Brandan’s blood boil when Mary insisted he keep his eyes only on the priest, and routinely reminded him not to look at other women.
To Mary, that meant wandering eyes anywhere in the church — and insisted Brandan could only look at the holy happenings, or at her.
"I’m trying to play it cool and be calm, but at the same time I’m like, really? It’s already a lot of pressure for someone to adopt a religion. So, Mary telling me that she doesn’t want me looking at other girls is a bit much,” Brandan told cameras.
For Brandan, who had never been to a mass abroad and didn’t speak the language, he was lost without context clues. Without observing the congregation to follow along, he expressed his hopelessness.
“I’m not understanding what’s going on, and I’m trying to fill in the boredness, but if I even turn my head, she doesn’t like it. And that’s f---ed up," he said.
Brandan confronted Mary after mass. “I’m willing to learn, but I don’t want to be forced into submission,” he told his girlfriend. “Or be told ‘You have to sit, not look or talk to girls.’ I’m not even allowed to do that?”
He added, “I can’t look at someone, or go out in public, without you accusing me of being a cheater.”
For Brandan, it’s the ideal of “physical control” — when Mary demands he doesn’t turn his head in any direction but forward. He explained how his freedom is being restricted, even through something as personal as freedom of movement.
Mary tried to defend her side, but ended up in tears. “I’m just telling you not to look because it’s church. Why do you want to?”
Mary told cameras her insecurities go back to her parents leaving, which she still thinks “is my fault.” “Every time I love people, I am afraid they will just leave me behind,” she said.
Brandan questioned what would make Mary “let go of your fear of abandonment,” and she admitted “maybe” getting married and having kids would help.
“I need something to hold on to,” Brandan said, noting that “maybe” isn’t enough.
Brandan set his foot down and reiterated: he can’t stay in a relationship where there is no trust. Mary encouraged him to “find someone else.”
“I’ll do anything you want, but you only have to do one thing for me — and that is to trust me,” Brandan said. The American man’s spiel encompassed one line: “It can’t be like this forever.”
Either Mary will have to learn to trust him, or he may be packing his bags for a life alone — back home.
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