Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I have been the odd man out for the holidays for the last seven years. All of my friends are married by now, some of them even have kids, and I am now in my mid-50’s and have never been to the altar. For a long time, it didn’t bother me, but in the last year or so, I have felt as if I really want to connect with someone and start a home.
This year, I met a wonderful woman who is 25 years younger than I. We were working together on a project and became closer and closer and now we have begun seeing each other in a more intimate manner. She went to see her family for Thanksgiving and I spent the holiday alone, with a couple of friends visiting. All I could do was talk about her. I really think there is a chance this will work, because she seems to want to have a real relationship as much as I. But I am terrified at the thought of meeting her family at Christmas. In fact, I am a bit apprehensive over all.
If this doesn’t work out, I feel I will NEVER meet someone. I know our age different might be a problem.
I am happy and anxious all at the same time. I’m afraid I’m going to blow this through sheer nerves and over-thinking.
Old Man River
Dear O M R,
I am happy for your happiness. The apprehension you are experiencing is 100% normal; if you weren’t worrying about your age difference, there would be something else to worry about.
Integrating with a partner’s family is never simple. Unless children let their parents do the matchmaking, all relationships will be scrutinized. Expectations will have to be adjusted and there will be growing pains. But if the two of you are happy with each other, the family will most likely adjust over time; they really have no choice.
If anyone tries to engage you in conflict, don’t fight with them, just agree to disagree. I wouldn’t ask their permission for your relationship either. They don’t own her and it would probably invite conflict.
Just be yourself- it is the only way anyone will get to know who you are. Understand that her family might not be thrilled at first; but over time if they see the two of you fit together happily, that’s all it usually takes to help them adjust. In the end, most parents just want their kids to be happy. When a parent can’t accept their children’s choice of life style or partner, it isn’t about the kids really, but rather their own stuff. Never let someone else’s neurosis dictate your life.
You didn’t expect this woman to walk into your life… so if this doesn’t work out, there are probably other possibilities out there too. Don’t worry too much about the future; if it’s working for now, that’s what’s important.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: I can tell that you are at an age where you are taking this relationship idea very seriously. That’s great- you need to take a relationship seriously if it’s ever going to work.
However, I have a word of advice. I suggest that you make sure you are having a real relationship, not just pumping it up in your head because you need it to be real. Make sure the two of you are on the same page.
Many a woman with her biological time clock ticking has made the mistake of letting her fantasies run wild and has imagined herself married and with three kids… all within five minutes of meeting some guy! People who really want something badly tend to do this. You could be one of these people… your new girlfriend could be too. So keep your eyes open.
You need a relationship to be real at this point in your life. The up side? When you find one, you will be much more likely to succeed at making it work.
I can’t tell you what will happen here, but whoever you are with, there will be problems. If you are honest with yourself, and with each other, whatever happens, you will deal with it like two adults- and that’s the kind of relationship people of ALL ages should have.