Is She Too Old?
Q: I am a 52-year-old female, and I recently met a 30-year-old man. We seem to have really hit it off. We both would like to take our relationship to a more personal level but I really seem to be having a problem with the age difference. He is not at all bothered by it, but I just can't seem to get past it. Could you please tell me if you think we should keep this on a friendly basis or should we take the next step? -- Sally, 52
Dr. Susan: I say you ought to listen to your own gut instinct on this matter. A 22-year age difference is no small gap, no matter who's the older party. That's a whole generation, which means you've each grown up in a different culture. Different music, different movies and television, different books, politics, everything. And there's another big difference, which I suspect you're well aware of: from his point of view, you've got the body of an "older woman," and it's only going to get older. Sorry to sound cruel, but that's reality. You're probably in great shape now, and might remain so for another decade or 15 years if you take good care of yourself. But if you're already bothered by the age difference, multiply that insecurity ten-fold as the years pass. Now, if you're asking me if you should pursue a brief physical fling with this fellow, that's up to you. When it ends, as it most likely will, will your self-esteem be irretrievably damaged? The fact is, considering your current trepidation over the idea of getting more personal, you'll probably both get more out of a cross-generational friendship than an affair.
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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.