Woman questions future with older boyfriend

I have just entered into a relationship with a man whom I really love and care for. I have one small but nagging concern about our relationship — I’m 22 years old and he’s almost 40.

Q: I have just entered into a relationship with a man whom I really love and care for. I have one small but nagging concern about our relationship — I’m 22 years old and he’s almost 40.

Is this a problem? Will it be a problem in the future?

Jim: There’s nothing inherently wrong with such an arrangement, but there are certainly some things you should consider before going too deep into the relationship.

The first has to do with the basic difference in your life experiences.

You’re barely beyond college age; he’s approaching midlife and has already spent considerable time in the adult world pursuing a career and having romantic relationships.

Under normal circumstances, he will have achieved a greater degree of maturity than you have at this stage in your life.

Now, I’m not accusing you of being “immature.” And it’s quite possible that he’s young at heart.

But you should honestly consider whether the difference in your levels of life experience will impact your relationship before forging ahead.

In addition, some young women are attracted to older men because they’re really looking for a father figure.

The men recognize this and end up manipulating or controlling their younger girlfriends.

Take a personal inventory and consider whether you view your boyfriend as a peer and partner, or if you’re seeking to meet an unmet father-need in your life.

If it’s the latter, you should put a halt to the relationship in fairness to you both.

I know plenty of happily married couples who have significant age differences between them.

But you do need to take these things into account before moving forward.

Q: When I got engaged last week I got a hostile reaction from my parents, especially my mom. She believes we’re “too young,” even though we’re both in our mid-20s!

I’m wondering if this is because of the “empty nest” syndrome — my mom and I have always been close, and I’m the last of her children to leave the home.

We’ve always been a tight-knit family and this crisis really concerns me.

What should I do?

Juli: Even though, in your mind, parents should greet an engagement with a lot of enthusiasm, it’s fairly normal for them to have some anxiety, and even hostility.

You’ve already touched on the idea that it will be difficult for your mom to let you go.

Your marriage means a huge transition, not only in your relationship with her, but in her own life. Give her time to adjust to the idea of losing you.

Having said that, your parents may also have legitimate concerns about your engagement.

Often they can see something that you can’t.

For example, they may observe that your fiance is controlling or rude.

If they’re hitting on something that could be true, validate the concern.

You could say, “I can see what you’re saying. That’s why we are going through premarital counselling.”

This mature attitude will assure your parents that you’re going into marriage with your eyes wide open and that you’re aware of possible red flags.

If your parents continue to harp on the same concerns, remind them that you’ve already talked about that and considered their advice.

Also, be careful not to put your fiance in the middle of the drama with your parents.

Emotions are probably running high on all sides. Don’t make decisions or statements that could do lasting damage to the long-term relationships.

Your parents will likely come around to supporting your engagement and marriage.

In the meantime, reaffirm your love for them, acknowledging that this is a tough time for them.

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family, host of the Focus on the Family radio program, and a husband and father of two. Dr. Juli Slattery is a licensed psychologist, co-host of Focus on the Family, author of several books, and a wife and mother of three. Submit your questions to: ask@FocusOnTheFamily.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Air Canada agrees to $5.9-billion aid package, giving Ottawa equity stake in airline

$1.4 billion earmarked to help reimburse thousands of customers

Innisfail RCMP say Brandon Pitts is missing. (Photo contributed)
Missing central Alberta man

Innisfail RCMP request public’s help

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Yukon Premier Sandy Silver as Liberal on Wednesday February 8, 2017 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon headed for minority government as two main parties in a tie

Liberals came into the election looking to build on their surprise 2016 majority win

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Sajjan took aim at recent Chinese military expansions into the South China Sea this evening even as he faced questions about the Liberal government’s ties to Beijing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Sajjan targets Chinese claims in South China Sea, battles Tories over Beijing ties

HMCS Calgary shadowed for at least part of the voyage as it passed near the disputed Spratly Islands

Transport trucks approach the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. North American trade is facing a “critical moment” in the ongoing aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, say Canadian business leaders as they embark on a concerted campaign to fortify ties with the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Canada-U.S. trade faces ‘critical moment’ that demands urgent action, businesses warn

Will fall to Canada to ensure its best interests are represented

FILE-Team Canada’s Meaghan Mikkelson fights for control of the puck with U.S.A.’s Hayley Scamurra during third period of Women’s Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s national teams, hopes a Rivalry Series against the United States can happen this winter.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer
Canadian women’s hockey team to open selection camp in Nova Scotia

Six goaltenders, 15 defenders and 26 forwards will vie for spots on Canada’s 23-player roster

FILE - Rhian Wilkinson, left, and Melissa Tancredi of Canada’s women’s soccer team attend a news conference in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 to announce their retirement from the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canadian international Rhian Wilkinson now part of England coaching setup

Wilkinson left Canada Soccer in January to join interim England head coach Hege Riise as an assistant

Canadian actor/producer/director Jay Baruchel is photographed at the 5 Drive-In Theatre in Oakville, Ont., ahead of the premier of Baruchel’s movie Random Acts of Violence, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Jay Baruchel to host Amazon Prime Video’s ‘LOL: Last One Laughing Canada’

Final comedian left standing wins a grand prize for a charity of their choice

Letter: Leaders like MLA Jason Stephan should work towards greater good

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan talks about the devastating social and… Continue reading

Opinion: Women, hit hardest by pandemic, key to economic recovery

Events of the past year have laid bare the many disparities and… Continue reading

Children at the Port Angeles Boys & Girls Club practice social distancing throughout the day to minimize the spreading of germs and potentially the coronavirus. Photo courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula
Opinion: Teach young people these five principles

At all ages, young people may be the subject of mean behaviours… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: MLAs need to think about all Albertans

I was surprised to find more than a dozen UCP MLAs were… Continue reading

Most Read