Q. I’m a divorced 48-year-old straight dad. Long story short, I have met a woman almost 16 years younger than I am, and we are feeling it big time. We only really hang out just the two of us and the age difference is not an issue besides the occasional pop culture reference.
I am kind of worried about what my friends will think, especially the women. They somehow are just not OK with a younger woman. And I am worried what her friends will think of the old guy. We have discussed it and decided that true friends will be accepting. But do you have any thoughts or wisdom for couples with a big age difference? I feel like I’m on the “SNL” skit “Meet Your Second Wife.” Thanks.
A. Listen, it’s your life, and if the two of you are happy, that’s great. Assuming there aren’t other issues (she’s awful around your community, she makes you awful, she’s bad for your kids, you were her boss, etc.), good friends should celebrate your joy.
But please give loved ones room for temporary discomfort. Let them adjust. You can say to the friends who might eye-roll this, “This age difference might be a red flag to you, and I understand that. Before you judge, I ask that you give it time and see how it works — and what this brings to my life.”
I say this as someone who’s met a lot of friends’ significant others: Sometimes it’s a gift to be told, “I’m not asking for immediate wild excitement or an endorsement, just love and support as I try something new.”
Let people have their reactions. The “Saturday Night Live” sketch about men dating much younger women got laughs for a reason — because it’s a familiar tale. It’s OK if some friends are frustrated. Over time, people will see what’s really there.
Also know that this relationship is about more than age. You could be very compatible — or not — for so many other reasons. Don’t assume that all problems are about the 16 years. You need time to figure out if you share priorities and values. If this continues to work, you’ll be more confident about the rest of it.
My advice to you is to stop caring what everyone else thinks. It’s a waste of time and energy.
Often, the older women just don’t have much in common with the younger woman. They are at different stages in their lives so it’s just not a good fit, for any of them. Doesn’t necessarily mean there is any ill will.
^We don’t need to have anything in common in order to be nice to each other.
I can speak from experience on this topic because my husband is 17 years older. Just introduce her as your partner and don’t mention her age. She should do the same. If some pushy person makes a comment, say something true and positive, like, “Yes, we have an age difference but it works for us!” Anyone who snipes after that is being rude and confrontational! Not a great friend.
Well, there’s lots to think about when there is a large age difference like this, but what your friends think is not one of them. What do you think about? Does she want a family? Do you already have one and want another one? You will retire before her; will that matter? Right now I think you might be in a bit of a sweet spot with the difference but believe it or not, it becomes more apparent with age.
People are going to judge. For some, it will always be an issue, for others, it will never be an issue. But if you are going to hide in the house to avoid such criticism, neither of you are mature enough to be in the relationship in the first place.
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