I’m a divorced, childless man in my mid-40s and have been seriously dating a 25-year-old for two years. We both want to get married and have kids, but I’m worried that my girlfriend may not stick around for the long haul. I know she sincerely loves me now, but I’m not sure she’s old enough to understand what long-term commitment entails.
He Said: Getting married involves long odds these days with roughly 40 percent of couples getting divorced. Throw in a big age difference, and no one would be surprised to see the wreck rate climb past 50 percent. Are you hesitating because you’re trying to protect her from committing to a man who will soon be receiving AARP notices in the mail, or to keep any future kids from growing up in two households, or to save yourself from growing old alone? Lots of what we plan for, work toward, and count on in life goes sideways, but we adapt and keep going. You’ve been married before, and now you’re in love with someone else. If you two really love each other and there’s nothing but an age gap separating you, I say jump. You can’t give up on love because the stats aren’t right. Don’t let your fears of what may happen someday block your way.
She Said: Your question strikes me as one you’d ask a few months into a relationship instead of a few years into it. I can’t tell if you’re looking for an out, or just over-intellectualizing. If you want an out, you certainly have one. But if you love her, then instead of trying to predict the future (a dangerous proposition in general), ask yourself how she has been handling long-term commitment these past two years. Is she loyal, honest, and strong for her age? Does she display grace under pressure? Can she handle tough times as well as fun ones? Does she show up when friends and family need her, or does she shirk responsibility?
There was a time not too long ago when people married in their teens and stayed married for life. I personally know several couples who married young and have remained so for 25 years or more. Sure, half don’t make it, but that’s the case no matter what your age. Look at the positives: youthful idealism, health, a fertile body, and the energy to raise the children you want. You may need a prescription for Viagra in a decade or two, but that’s not such a bad problem to have in your old age now, is it?
Confused? Heartbroken? Curious? Twosense@7x7.com