Is He Too Old?
Q: I am thoroughly in love with a 28-year-old woman. It's not a fleeting thing - our platonic yet romantic friendship has already lasted and grown step-by-step since late 2006, nearly three years ago. I'm divorced, she's separated with a young child, who I also adore. I am physically fit and probably young for my age (I wonder why!), yet I hesitate to take a further step and try to move us to the sexual level, because of the 25-year age gap. I am incredibly attracted to her, but I'm a realist that I may have too high a number attached to my age. My real problem: should I just accept that a woman of her age would hardly want to get intimate with such an older man? I'm not concerned about others judging me. It's more about whether I would be a fool to endanger our existing relationship, a relationship that may suit her just fine. Not least, I am a gentleman by inclination, so I don't want to "come on strong" just to see how she reacts. -- Larry, 53
Dr. Susan: Since when did being a gentleman include reading minds? If she's been hanging out with you for nearly three years, she either craves a father figure, or she really likes you. You won't know which until you own up to your romantic feelings and see how she reacts. Ask her why she hasn't gotten a divorce yet, or how she sees herself in five years' time, and see if that doesn't lead to a real conversation about what she wants out of life (and out of you). Your age gap is significant, as you are aware, but relationships do work out between individuals with those kinds of numbers. You'll have to ask yourself, though, if you're more willing to risk seeming a fool (tiny risk) by trying to raise the intimacy level, or risk feeling like an idiot when she becomes intimate with some other man while you're still sitting there playing old-fashioned, silent, way-too-patient gentleman.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.