The Hard Stuff

Tough love from REDBOOK's advice guru, Karen Karbo.

Woman and Older ManQ. I really like this guy who is 23 years older than I am. I know I have to ask myself why he's interested in me. We get along well, and I've never really gotten along with guys my age — I have an "old soul." When I think of a father figure for my future children and the qualities I want him to have, he has them all. What's your opinion? —M.J., 19, DenverA. Full disclosure: My partner is 16 years younger than I am, so I do know something about age differences. However, I'm old. Or considerably older than you are, anyway. And the conventional wisdom about dating someone from another generation is that the older both partners are, the less the age difference tends to matter. For example, if you were 29 and he was 52, the age span would be easier to negotiate. Right now, however, he has much more life experience than you do, and that makes a big difference in how you relate to each other, your families, and society at large. You're right to ask yourself why he's interested in you. Aside from your youth, what does he see in you? Know, too, that however old your soul may be, you're a teenager, and he's middle-aged. I find it interesting that you use the term "father figure" to describe what he'd be to your future children. In point of fact, he'd be their father. It sounds as if he may be a father figure to you. If you were my daughter, I'd advise you to take a pass on this one. Once you get some more living behind you, you'll be in a better place to revisit your interest in older men. Trust me when I tell you that there are plenty more guys out there closer to your age who possess the same qualities you admire in this man. If he truly cares for you, he'll understand your position and wish you well. Award-winning writer Karen Karbo is the author of How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great. She's also a mom, a writing teacher, and a horse owner. Send your questions to her at: The Hard Stuff, REDBOOK, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019 or karenkarbo@redbookmag.com. Letters may be edited for clarity and length, and must include your initials, age, city, and state. For more advice from Karen, go to redbookmag.com/karenkarbo.
Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Originally Published: The Hard Stuff: "Is he too old for me?"

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