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40-year-old stuck on much younger women

DEAR READERS: Your questions never take a holiday, but occasionally I must. This week's "best of" columns come from deep within the Ask Amy vault.


DEAR AMY: I must start out by saying this is not a midlife crisis. I am a 40-year-old guy who has never dated anyone older than 25. I recently broke up with a 19-year-old after dating her for a month. She was the one who asked me out, but the pressure from her friends and family was too much. She then started dating someone her own age. Even though she left for school a month ago, we talk on the phone almost every night, sometimes for hours. This girl got to me like no one else ever has. I know we were made for each other, though at different times! I can't get her out of my head. I don't know if I should just keep talking to her and stay close hoping she may still have feelings for me.

-- Not That Old

DEAR NOT: Thanks for declaring that you are not having a midlife crisis. I agree. You are having a dim-life crisis.

Before I attempt to slap you silly with the phrase "what can you possibly be thinking?!" I realize I have some major baggage here. Many of us do. At least those of us with teenage daughters. (If you attempt to date mine, by the way, I'm coming after you.) Her parents must be worried about this, and I would think that as their contemporary, you would try to respect them, at least a little bit. But she is also a party to this relationship, and based on what you present here, it sounds as if she's still interested in you. Since she is a (barely) consenting adult, there isn't much anyone can do legally to prevent you from seeing each other.

I do feel, however, that the decent and adult thing is for you to back off -- way off -- in order to allow her to have a halfway normal time at college. I realize that by the time she graduates, she may be too old for you, but since you're "made for each other," I assume you'll be happy to wait in spite of the fact she might outgrow you. (2003)

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