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How do I convince my boyfriend to accept our 22 year age difference?

By April 18, 2011 - 4:18pm
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I am 20 years old, my boyfriend is 42. We met when working together at the same company. We have been dating for almost 2 years now. We have both never been happier. The things we have in common are endless, we make each other laugh non-stop, we care immensely for each other and push each other forward in our careers. My parents fully accept our relationship and him especially. So does my brother, my sister, some of my relatives and some of my friends. Now the problem is, I have always had the attitude of 'I don't care what people/the world think of decisions I make in my life'. He is the exact opposite. That would be the one thing we do not have in common and which has now become somewhat of a major problem. Worst of all, this is now putting our relationship on the line which I am desperately, with every fibre of my being trying to avoid. We had 'the talk' the other night and he basically confessed that for the past few months he has been trying to think of ways we can be together. For the past 1 1/2 years we have not gone out or done anything together as a couple at all because he is afraid people will judge him. He feels paranoid. So we have been hanging out at his place for 1 1/2 years. He also confessed that he would love to take me out and do things with me, introduce me to his friends and family and come clean with them about our hidden relationship. He also said that he is scared to tell his parents, sisters, other relatives and friends because he is absolutely certain they will not accept our relationship and age gap. He added that if they were to accept our relationship and were aware of it then he would be alright with it as well. Obviously I understand family and friends mean a lot to him and so does their acceptance and opinions. So I asked him to give me ONE chance to convince/show him that we CAN in fact make this relationship work. Now I am on a mission to save this relationship and I am not just determined to do it, I am INCREDIBLY determined to do so. I cannot lose this man. However corny this may sound, I believe we all have soul mates and I believe he is mine. I believe we are destined to be together. I am 20 but self-admittedly very mature for my age. I have always been this way. Another problem is that I look very young for my age, I appear to be 15/16 years old. He does not want to be viewed by the public as a pedophile which he is strongly under the impression the whole world thinks of him. I was raised in a very traditional, very well rounded household. My parents raised me and my siblings with the right morals and all my intentions toward this relationship and in saving it are meant well.

How do I go about convincing this man that our relationship CAN work? And how do I convince him to confront his parents, etc. about it all? Would it be wise for me to tell his parents, etc. myself?

Thank you so much in advance.

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Hi Jasminine,
Indeed, you do sound like a very mature young woman for your age. Likewise, you are fortunate to have been raised well with morals and strong convictions and to have a supportive family and friends.
It is up to your boyfriend to take the leap (with a leap of faith) to tell his family and friends that he is in a relationship with you. I would not advise you to break the news to his family or friends.
Based on all that you have shared, I point out, if your boyfriend really loves you and wants a healthy normal relationship, then he needs to be mature and secure enough to be seen with you in public. You deserve more than to be kept as a secret.
As a mother of children your age, I need to ask you the same questions that I would ask my own daughter- is this the man who want to spend the rest of your life with? Do you see yourself having children together? Are you ready to accept the reality that when you are 42 years old, he will be 64 years old ?
As a neutral voice, I don't think there is anything more that you can do to convince your boyfriend. It is all up to him now. Good luck!

April 18, 2011 - 5:31pm
(reply to Maryann Gromisch RN)

Dear Maryann,

Thank you for your response, it's much appreciated. Even though that was not the response I was hoping for, I do understand your point of view. To answer your questions. Yes, he is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. We have talked about having kids and personally yes, I would love nothing more than to have his children. I have already accepted the reality that whenever I become older each year, so does he. That is fine by me.

I do understand that you suggested it is all up to him from this point onward, however he is in a very fragile place right now. A place where one right word said will move him in my direction and one wrong word or stare from a passer by will move him in the wrong direction, away from me.

That is why I thought I would go talk to his parents and sisters and basically explain to them that we have been together for almost 2 years now and that we are both very happy. It didn't bother them when they didn't know, why should it now? And besides, they are married, have kids. They are happily settled down. Why not respect their brother's decision and let it be? I am talking as if I had already spoken to them and they shot down what I had said, I guess it is because I am scared they will... I can imagine that perhaps his past unsuccessful relationships could also be cause to why he is so readily willing to throw in the towel because he is scared to get hurt. Perhaps my younger age is fueling me to find a way to make this work. Basically he said it is up to me now to show him how this will work because he can't think of any more ways, which is when I got the idea of flying over and seeing his parents and sisters.

April 19, 2011 - 3:09am
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