Advice for His VERY Young Lover
Q: I have an 18-year-old girlfriend I've been seeing for 9 months now, and we just keep falling deeper in love. She wants to tell her parents about me but is afraid of the reaction they may have. There is a big age difference, but love has no boundaries. What advice, if any, would you have for her? -- Roger, 56
Dr. Susan: Your very young friend is afraid of the reaction her parents MAY have? I bet their reaction will be cataclysmic! Love may have no boundaries, but real life relationships have boundaries and challenges far beyond your (or her) imagining. In a decade or less, you'll be on Social Security and she'll still be short of her sexual peak. Do you really like to do the same things, talk about the same things, have similar plans for the future? With a huge age gap like yours, I can't imagine you're emotional and intellectual peers. She can't know who she is yet.
If I were her parents, I'd offer to pay for some counseling for her, to get at what's really happening in her mind. Daddy issues? An urge to rebel? A fear of facing grown-up life without a partner to take the place of her parents? It can't hurt to delve a little deeper, and if what you share is indeed deep and lasting love, there's plenty of time to continue your relationship. You ought to consider what is best for her development. Will you support her through college? Are you ready to have babies (or will you be ready when she is, in a few years or a decade or two)? If she's living at home and has been sneaking around to see you, I would advise an end to the subterfuge. Get the furtiveness out of the relationship and perhaps some of the thrill will leave, too. Then you can both make rational decisions about the future.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
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.