Dear John, For the past few months I have been seeing a younger man. He is 28, and I am 37. I was previously married and have two daughters, ages 13 and 9. He never married and does not have children. I really enjoy his company, but I try not to lose sight of our age differences. Still my heart says, “Hold on,” because this relationship is wonderful. Which part of me is right? —Uncertain, in Salt Lake City, Utah
Dear Uncertain, Right now, your physical and emotional needs are in sync with his. However, as you move into your 50s, 60s and beyond, that may not always be the case.
If you are looking for a relationship that may last 10 or more years, this age difference may in fact become a problem with the passing years. One day he may want to have a child of his own. When that time comes around, the idea of going through another pregnancy might not appeal to you.
On the other hand, nothing in life is guaranteed. Even if you find a soul mate closer in age, circumstance may dictate that you might not be together for several decades. If you are willing to live in the moment and get from this relationship what you need, one day at a time, then you’ve found a relationship that’s right for you.
Dear John, I’m a male college student. I have never been in a relationship before. I do enjoy the company of women. Now that I am “seeing” someone, I’d like to ask: What defines a “relationship?” —Not Fully Matriculated, in Madison, Wis.
Dear Not Fully, There are many kinds of relationships. As I discuss in my book, “Mars and Venus on a Date,” committed relationships go through five stages: attraction in which we have physical chemistry with someone, uncertainty where we question our feelings and sort through our doubts, exclusivity, the first step for commitment, intimacy, which includes both emotional and physical closeness and finally, engagement.
Ideally, partners move together through these stages. At any stage, you may discover that your partner is not your soul mate, and you’ll start the process again with a new partner. Successful relationships are built on passion, trust, commitment and love. I wish you success in finding all of that. In time, I’m quite certain you will.