Far Apart in Age and Culture
I have been dating a 35-year-old man for about a year. I am an American, but he is not. We are both studying for doctorates. We met in school and we started off friends and ended up in a relationship. He loves to have sex with me, but he does not like to hold me or kiss me. Do you think we can go the distance even with our age difference? -- Carrie, 59
A 24-year age difference can be monumental, though I've heard from readers who have been quite happy with their much older spouses (both men and women). Your cultural differences can be huge, too, and they can sneak up on you. So that at first you only see how alike you are, or how you balance one another, and then later, you start noticing more essential differences that get in the way of compatibility. Another thing to consider is that, already, your needs for emotional connection seem to be far different. You want to be kissed and held, while he prefers a more direct sexual connection. He is not likely to change after a year of behaving this way, knowing what you like and need. You are likely to continue to be frustrated by not getting what you need to feel really close. I see so many complications for this relationship that I don't know what to tell you. I suggest you have a heart-to-heart talk with him to find out how he feels about a future together, how he sees the two of you in a decade. Then you can decide whether that is a future you want to work hard to be part of.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.,
is a social psychologist and relationship expert. She is a bestselling and award-winning author whose latest book is "Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way." She has written for and been quoted in Cosmopolitan, Psychology Today, Family Circle, Women's Health & Fitness, YM, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Child, and many others. She also consults and teaches writing online. Read her complete bio!
NOTE: The information contained herein is provided for information purposes, and not intended as a substitute for advice or treatment that may or should be prescribed by your physician or recommended by your therapist.