My 21-year-old son is seeing a woman who is nearly 40 – her birthday is next month. I found out through my daughter, so I confronted him about it and he admitted it, saying that they’re in love and he plans to move in with her in the next couple of months.
He said he didn’t want to tell me because he knew I’d be upset.
I’m pretty easygoing and can accept age gaps in relationships, but this is nearly 20 years. He only left uni in the summer and is working in his first proper job and not earning much money. He has his whole life ahead of him, so why would he settle for someone who’s at such a different stage of life and who may even have left it too late to have kids?
If she did want to start a family, it would have to be soon and then my son would have the responsibilities of parenthood while all his friends were out enjoying themselves.
My husband is convinced it’ll fizzle out naturally and thinks I need to be calmer about the whole thing, but I’m not sure I can! If they do move in together I’m going to have to meet her, and God knows how that’ll go. I’m 46, so only a few years older than she is, and I can’t imagine what I’d have in common with a boy my son’s age.
Have you any ideas what I can do about this? I’m struggling to know how to move forward.
It’s a tricky situation and I think your husband is right in that ranting and raving about it won’t get you anywhere – in fact, it might even make your son more determined to make things work with his older woman.
I also think there’s a good chance the relationship will “fizzle out” because life is going to throw up challenges – the question of parenthood, as you pointed out, work, marriage, friends.
The real challenges will come as they get older – when he’s 31, she’ll be about to turn 50 and facing all the challenges midlife brings with it, including the menopause.
However, I don’t think you should avoid her or just hope the situation will go away because it might not.
They might conquer all these obstacles and stay together. So talk to her and just be honest about your worries. See what she has to say.
And keep your son close, too. Don’t alienate him by getting mad and make sure he knows that you’re concerned because you love him and just want him to be happy.
The bottom line is, you can advise him and support him, but you have to let him make his own decisions and his own mistakes.
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