Let us read Vivian's story and see if we can help her. She is a 43-year old dating, as she puts it, a "very mature" 26 year old. She adds, "We could not be more compatible, if we tried. He is aware of my actual age and has introduced me to his friends. His family is very traditional and I don't know how they would accept it. My biggest problem is that I feel he is going to leave me any day for a younger woman. We have not told each other yet that we are in love but we connect with such intensity, it is obvious. I think we both avoid the subject. I'm afraid to bring it up fearing that the relationship will end. What is happening to me is that most of my day is spent thinking of him and if he still wants me until I hear from him. This is getting exhausting. I don't want to lose him...He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have a hard time taking this relationship one day at a time because I am so occupied. Please help."
We see the following problem with Vivian's case:
- Lack of self-esteem and self-confidence. While it is understandable (the problem is more acute among women since they are more concerned about their age and being dumped for being old), but this could hurt her. Probably, her boyfriend can sense it too and no one likes a person with low self esteem.
- Thinking too much about the future; to a point that you stop enjoying the relationship in the present. With the divorce rate in America at 50%, it is clear that even perfect relationships among couples with no age gap are falling apart. What that means is that it is very important to enjoy each and every moment of your relationship in the present, give it your best, and not worry about the future.
- Lacking trust in the relationship (and indirectly in her boyfriend). There are moments in life when you just have to trust your heart. She has to trust the relationship and her boyfriend and deal with the consequences later on. In fact we think that she has less to worry about; her boyfriend who is younger than her has more to worry about a dating an older woman.
We like the attitude that Cristiana has. She is a 40 years old Italian woman and is dating a 25-year old soccer player. She says, "I am having the time of my life. I look 10 to 12 years younger, I wear trendy designer clothes, go to the gym 3 times a week, go to discos twice a week, eat healthy, and take vitamins. Age is just a number; it's all in the attitude. Because of my attitude, my boyfriend does not even realize that he is dating someone older."
Patrick, a man in Chicago, has a similar attitude. "Since my divorce 12 years ago, about 80% of my girlfriends have been of minimum 10 years younger than me; some were 17 to 20. They were great partners! They have no hangups, want to explore, and are willing to learn! My current girlfriend is 20 years my junior, and we've been together for the last 2 years. I really enjoy her companionship and love her. My attitude is very positive and I trust that our relationship is based on fundamentals and age is really not an issue."
Our advice to Vivian is to change her attitude by trusting herself, her boyfriend, and their relationship. She should stop living in the future. A relationship is NOW. And if she has concerns, she should just share them with her boyfriend.
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