Q: I'm 42 years old and am getting divorced. I feel that I'm at the "peak of my power," so to speak. My confidence is high, my hair count is good, I'm knocking down good money, etc. I'm dating a 20-year-old woman who I'm crazy about. Believe me, I'm not even close to running out and getting married again any time soon, but what about the 22-year age difference? She has the maturity and smarts of a person of around 28 years old and I'm quite a youthful 42. Your thoughts? -- Boyd
Dr. Susan: You feel pretty good about yourself, don't you, Boyd? Fine, but you're kidding yourself about a couple of things. Being crazy about a new woman when you're not quite divorced yet doesn't mean much. The thrill of the new and different (and young) is all that is. Enjoy it while it lasts. A 20-year-old woman does not have the same emotional wisdom as a 28 year old, no matter how besotted you are at the moment. Her life experience isn't at all like yours. You're a full generation apart, and eventually, that might show up in gaps in your ability to communicate. Of course, plenty of older men (or women) form excellent and lasting relationships with younger women (or men). One size does not fit all. Actually, Boyd, the more you know about why your marriage didn't last, the more you're likely to make the next one stick. Oh, and only you can guess how you'll feel when your honey is 45 and at her own sexual peak, and you're picking up your first social security checks.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.