A good-looking, successful, kind, generous, attentive, single man is wooing my single friend. He tells her how much he adores her and wants to be with her. He tells her it’s OK to take her time; he doesn’t want to pressure her.
And yet she’s uncomfortable.
Because he’s 37 and she’s 57.
He’s fine with the age difference. She is looking ahead and seeing that in 10, 15 or 20 years, their physical needs will most likely be very different. She doesn’t want him to waste his good years on someone who’s so much older.
We discussed how different this is than if the genders were reversed. Few men would be concerned about the future needs of a 2-decades-younger woman.
She’s trying not to fall for him. She asked me how to protect her heart from falling for someone who she feels isn’t right for the long term.
I tell her he’s a fully grown man, capable of making his own decisions. If he likes spending time with her and falls for her, he is going in with his eyes wide open. She needn’t try to protect him. She should do what feels right to her.
I also tell her it’s completely alright to be in “fond” right now if she doesn’t feel she’s falling in love. Love is something that builds. However, if she doesn’t feel she can or will allow herself to fall in love with him, she should let him go. It’s not fair to him to string him along.
So if she thinks she’ll never be okay with their 20-year age difference, she should tell him so. But if she’s only not letting her heart be open because she’s trying to protect him, she’s treating him like a child.
It’s natural to want to protect someone we care about. But there’s a line between protecting and infantilizing them.
If he enjoys her company and she his, there’s really no reason to not spend time together. Her 30ish daughters are both fine with it, even though she tells him he should really be dating them. He says he doesn’t want to date them, he wants to date her. He loves her wisdom, confidence, experience.
Part of her wants to surrender to this loving, attentive, gentleman. But she holds back because she wants to protect him.
Have you ever had this dilemma? You would jump feet first into a loving relationship except for one thing that doesn’t bother him, but you think it should? Share your thought process and what you learned.