I’m single, just turned 25. I met a very attractive, nice man who works in the same industry (different company).
He’s a corporate manager team leader. I’m a mid-level manager.
We have similar family values and are of the same Christian sect. We grew up in the same neighbourhood.
I have feelings for him and I see he feels the same way. Over five months of friendship, we’ve been speaking more frequently (every other day), and seeing each other at least once weekly.
He wants to spend more time with me, but I’m hesitant. There’s a very large age gap between us and I’m worried about what others might think. He’s 42.
If we do enter into a relationship, I know he’d want to settle down soon. I’m worried about wasting his time.
I would want kids much later (about three to five years from now).
I also worry about the stigma of dating a much older man and the potential assumptions and labels friends and peers might put on our relationship.
This man ticks off 90% of the boxes of what I'm looking for in a mate, but he's much older than every other man I’ve dated previously.
Is there anything we can do to mitigate the stigma, or am I right to be hesitant about leading him on further?
You’ve just neatly presented all the reasons for walking away:
You don’t feel ready for the relationship he’d want. You care a lot about what others think. You fear an age-gap “stigma” that people in love usually try to ignore.
You have led him on through the frequency of your contact.
It’s time to tell him – before things go further – the same things you’ve said here, openly and honestly.
The shadow of potential stigma is a serious roadblock in your mind. If you can’t get past it, you’ll be uncomfortable with a relationship and resent him.
My wife follows a strict paleo diet (Ellie: basically, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, leafy greens, fresh fruits and veggies, seeds and healthy oils.).
She expects me to do so, too. I’ve been pretty tolerant of it and have lost a fair amount of weight.
But I don't enjoy it and rely on her to prepare meals and find what we can eat.
We agreed that I can have a cheat day three or four times monthly, or once weekly.
I had my cheat day yesterday but today I had an extra cheat - a burger which included a bun.
I was honest about it and she flipped out on me. She said I was now on my own for shopping and making my own meals.
I feel confined by this diet. I think if I were free to have a treat more often, I wouldn't need to have a cheat.
She says all or nothing, that I agreed to the previous plan of cheat days. But I need more freedom.
Who is right?
Neither is “right.”
This is a childish tug of war over a basic part of your lives – eating – turning every meal and snack into a power struggle.
She’s wrong to insist that you follow the same diet plan she’s chosen for herself.
You’re wrong to leave all responsibility for shopping and cooking up to her.
If you like the weight-loss benefit of the diet, but feel too limited, then follow it moderately and help out with shopping and cooking.
A mature relationship is as important to your well-being as a suitable diet.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who insists her critical boyfriend “move in and get married,” as described by her “Frustrated Friend” (September 12):
Reader – “Insisting upon her partner moving in together and getting married, despite his repeated flogging her character, indicates that there’s a pattern of negative dysfunctional behaviour going on between the couple.
“Whatever excuses he’s giving her to delay moving forward in this relationship should be a wake-up call for her.
“Her friend should tell her to try and understand why she’s trying to force a relationship with someone who clearly doesn’t want to further the relationship into cohabitation and/or marriage.”
Ellie – Often, the impulse to give a close friend direct advice, comes off as judgement. Or, it’s perceived as jealousy if the advice-giver isn’t in a relationship.
That’s why I suggest that a close friend simply ask the kinds of questions that her friend can think over herself.
Tip of the day:
If you worry most about others’ opinions of the relationship, you’re with the wrong person.