I’m a 56-year-old divorced male with two adult children. Recently, I met a woman 25 years my junior with whom I have started a relationship. Even though she is much younger, we have many mutual interests in common and our time together is very enjoyable. I feel our relationship has reached the point where we will be spending a lot more time together. We have even discussed the possibility of having her move in with me. For those reasons, I feel that I should inform my adult children about my new relationship. What is the best way to tell your children that you are dating a woman that is, in the case of my oldest daughter, younger than her?
There are many sayings when it comes to age. From age is relative, to age is just a number — more than being mere cliches, they speak the truth. Dating a woman who is 25 years younger than you places you in a situation that may not be in the majority of relationship structures, but that is not entirely unusual either.
You mentioned one key factor. That being that in spite of your age differences you’re both happy together; that you share mutual interests. We congratulate the both of you on that and wish you the best of luck. Regarding your adult children, however, that particular situation can be a bit tricky.
A lot will depend on the type of relationship that you have with your children. Have you dated a younger woman before? Have you dated another woman closer to your age since you divorced their mother? If the answer is, yes, to either of those questions, how did they react to those relationships?
If they’ve seen you date women closer to your age and have accepted that situation, that’s a point in your favor. Obviously, if you have dated a much younger woman in the past and they likewise accepted her, you should have little cause for worry this time around.
If, however, they have seen you with a younger woman in the past and were critical of that decision, then it would be best for you to notify them of your current relationship before they discover it on their own.
To do that, it is best that you speak to them alone. There will be plenty of time later for them to get to know your new partner. Initially, you should be direct and honest with them. Tell them when you met her and how long you been going out together. Make certain to convey that you share mutual interests with her. You should also be prepared to soothe all of the concerns that are likely to come up. It is highly probable that your kids may question the motives behind the relationship. They may question your partner’s personal interest in the relationship. That means that you should be prepared to clarify that the foundation of your new relationship is based on sound sentimental reasons and not purely for physical or financial ones.
Depending on the personality of your children, how long it takes them to fully accept your new relationship will vary. Don’t go into your talk with them expecting them — much less demanding — that they accept your new relationship immediately. If they do, that is excellent. However, if they don’t, give them time. Allow them to slowly absorb the reality of your relationship. Once you feel that there aren’t any antagonistic feelings on the part of your children toward your new partner, introduce them — have everybody go out in an informal setting, such as lunch.
It may not be an easy process, but it is necessary. Take it slowly, allow your own kids’ reactions to set the pace, and you will see that everything will work out. Good luck to you on your new relationship.