Question: Dear Luise: After staying in a loveless marriage for 23 years (for my kids sake) I recently decided to get a divorce and move on with my life. Hoping one day I would find someone special and actually have a chance to be happy. Well I have found that special someone who I love with all my heart and knows he loves me too. Our relationship is everything my marriage wasn’t. The problem is (well I don’t see it as a problem) my 2 sons don’t approve of the young man I’m now dating. I’m 45 and he is 25. I never dreamed I would be dating someone a year younger than my oldest son. I didn’t go seek out a younger man it just happened naturally. I fought my feelings for a while before moving forward. We have a wonderful loving relationship and I don’t feel I should have to give that up to please my grown children. Is this wrong of me? Don’t I deserve the chance to be happy too? They don’t take my thoughts in to consideration when picking a mate. At this point my sons have quit talking to me and say I chose my young man over them….I really didn’t they chose to turn their back on me. Am I looking at this all wrong? R.
Answer: Dear R.: It is your business and not your sons’ decision but you may have to go on without them. When we let our adult children run our lives, we deny our own value. Peace at that price comes pretty high.
The other side of the coin is that I married someone with an age difference of 16 years and you need to face the fact that it may catch up with you. I am now 84 and my husband, who is in a nursing home, is 100. I go every day to see him, taking his little dog along with me. I made my choice, knowing how it would probably play out but it is not easy. Also, in our culture a younger woman with an older man is at least tolerated. You are going to meet with a lot of judgment beyond that of your sons, when it is the other way around.
What it comes down to is how thick is your skin and how strong you are…both of you? Life is in the “now” and that is where you are. You can’t predict the future even when you can make an educated guess. People-pleasers wouldn’t do what you are doing and neither would conformists. However, you sound like your own person. Remember the Shakespeare quote “To thine own self be true?” Blessings, Luise