He Loves a Girl 30 Years Younger

Q: I went to my daughter's apartment one evening and accidently met her new roommate. We began to chat and immediately felt a connection. I'm a suburban, professional, unhappily married man 30 years her senior, and we are deeply in love. I've never felt this way in my life, not even about my wife who has evolved into a cold and distant stranger.

We frequently have the discussion of how old she'll be when I'm this age or that age but she doesn't care. She insists that she, too, never felt this way before. No one knows about us. My dilemma is that while I'm deliriously happy, I need to break it off with her because I love her. If I love her, how can I do this to her? I feel like I'm robbing her of her youth, her life. What can I say to make her understand that it's because I'm desperately in love with her that I must do this? — Robert, 70

Dr. Susan: You needn't feel you're "doing this to her." However, keep in your mind that you'd probably screw up your relationship with your daughter if you don't behave with more integrity. What that means is you talk to your wife and bring up the idea of divorce. Otherwise you'd be opting for a tawdry affair, just like so many others. It's not your age that matters here. Maybe this young woman is old enough not to care that you won't be around as long as if you were her age.

What you're feeling is likely a passionate attraction to someone who is everything your wife no longer is for you. Such feelings won't last more than a couple of years, at most, if the example of everyone else on earth throughout history is any yardstick to go by. If your marriage is really worthless, get out of it.

One thing you don't have to do is convince your young girlfriend of anything. If you feel wrong about this affair, it's call a halt to it. You don't need to get her to agree. That just prolongs the drama.

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