An anonymous reader writes in that her family is having trouble accepting her new partner - who is 20 years her junior. Find out what advice Suzanne has to give...
Guilty writes, “I am 50 years old, I was married for 30 years, I am a mother of three boys and have a granddaughter, my youngest son lives with my ex-husband as he is studying and it is more convenient.
I have fallen in love with a wonderful man that I have known for a long time; the problem is that he is 20 years younger than me! His family has accepted me and my mother has accepted him – the trouble is my brother and my sons - they have not taken it very well at all and it is tearing me apart.
My new relationship is such bliss - as young as he is - he has what it takes to make a woman happy. I have never in my life had someone love me the way he does, I consider myself blessed to have this sort of love. A lot of my friends think this is wrong and have turned their backs on me, and I feel so depressed, I cannot stop crying. Why do I feel so guilty?”
In today’s society, an older man with a younger woman has become an everyday occurrence and is becoming more acceptable, but there is still a stigma attached to older women and younger men. There is even a new terminology for these older women ‘Cougars’.
Happiness is a gift to which we are all entitled
Young or old, male or female, pretty or ugly, fat or thin, everyone is entitled to it. But we are responsible for it too - it is up to us. Every relationship comes with its own challenges.
You say your partner is very supportive and I would use that to your advantage. Sit down together and discuss how to communicate effectively the way you feel about each other to your children and your family. Invite them around to chat to both you and your partner about what it is that concerns them about your relationship. Sons and their mothers have a very complex relationship, and often they can be very destructive towards any new relationship their mother has with a new man in her life, regardless of his age.
Set the boundaries around what you are prepared to discuss with them, with regard to your relationship. Be caring but firm
Explain to them that they have their own lives, their own new families and that you in turn need the love and affection that has been missing in your life.
Address their concerns together, you and your partner, as a unit, this way it is very difficult for anyone to bully you into their point of view. If your children won’t meet with you at this time all you can do is give them time and space. Dr Michael B. Beckwith says it best, “It is what it is, accept it. Take whatever you can out of the experience, learn from it and then let it go, completely.” Although this may sound harsh, you cannot be responsible for everyone else’s behaviour. You can only be responsible for how their behaviour impacts on you.
Enjoy your life, and enjoy all the people who you choose and who choose to be in it right now, they are the ones who care the most for you, the others will have to come to terms with their paradigms, and they will come around in time. Don’t dwell on the things that you cannot change.