I want to marry my fiancee but her parents and brother are giving us a hard time. We're from different cultures, but we love each other. Her parents said if we marry without their knowledge, we'll be in trouble; her brother threatened me. She wants to run away with me but we're worried about our security. I am a U.S. citizen, she's a student here. What should we do?
- Mr. Right
Do everything possible to make your relationship "right" from the start. Respectfully ask her parents about their objections, and what would make you more acceptable to them. If necessary, bring into the discussion a respected member of their community, and someone from yours, too, to help mediate reasonable options. If her parents remain opposed, your fiancée will have to decide whether she can live with possibly being estranged from them for years ahead. Should you continue together, then you'll need to see an immigration counsellor to learn the process through which she can apply to
re-enter the country as a landed immigrant, and what's needed for you to sponsor her.
I'm an attractive, fit, clever 42-year-old woman still searching for the "right" guy. I'm attracted to older men, which improves my odds, but not comfortable going to singles events alone. I have a half-dozen single female friends, my age, who are actively seeking a male partner up to 10 years younger than them. But I find it embarrassing to hang out at bars and clubs with a young clientele. Several of my friends are obsessed about getting
older, and while I'm not thrilled about the gravitational shifts, I've accepted the reality of getting older. I normally get taken for 35 or under, yet it doesn't change my being 42. I've tried to get my friends to attend events with an older crowd, yet they feel the men will be too fatherly or (ack!) grandfatherly. You'll probably tell me to find new friends, but I
like my friends.
- Not a cougar (but my friends are!)
The "old" expression still applies: Live and let live. Your friends' tastes and anxieties about aging are their business. Your best role as a pal is to continue to be confident and comfortable about your own age-related attitudes, without being judgmental of theirs. Humour helps. I recently laughed aloud through the New York-based author and screenwriter Nora Ephron's chronicles of the gravity pull she's experienced throughout womanhood, I Feel Bad About My Neck, and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. Her conclusion: even living with so-called "turkey neck" beats the alternative of not living at all. Follow your own urges and interests, and date whomever attracts you. Meet them through interest groups, lectures, courses, volunteering; and meet your friends for dinners, movies, etc. Bars rarely offer more than pick-ups, no matter what age group you seek.
I met a man whom I found attractive, several months ago, through mutual friends. I saw him in the coming weeks (always in group settings) and we seemed to hit it off, so I made the decision to make the first move. He's 20 years older than me, and I thought he may not think I'd be interested. I only knew how to contact him by email, but I received no response and let it go. We still saw each other periodically and eventually started
communicating through email. I asked him for dinner; he said he was busy. A couple of weeks later he asked if I'd like to get together and we went on a few dates. That was it. We still talk, but he hasn't mentioned getting together again. I've fallen for this guy and I don't want to give up. I think the age difference is a big problem for him, and that he's worried what people will say. Should I bother? Or just move on...
- Younger but Eager
So far, you're having a relationship of wishful thinking, in your own head. The mature next step is to speak openly to this man, and say that you care for him and would like to get to know him better. If he raises the age difference as his main concern, you'll need to convince him that you can handle it. But, be prepared that there's another possibility - that though he enjoys your acquaintance, he's not interested in a romance with you. If so, don't daydream further.
Tip of the day:
Cultural and/or age gaps can be bridged, so long as others' disapproval doesn't win out.