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Maturity, not age gap, is key to relationship

DEAR AMY: I have a great boyfriend. He's kind, sweet, smart and funny. We love to be together and to talk, just the two of us. When I'm at work and we're apart, I look forward to being with him. Here's the thing. He's 43, and I'm 20. My mom didn't say anything negative about this until he asked me to move in with him. She said that he's too old for me, that he's old enough to be my father, and that it's creepy and gross. She said that he has too much power because he's older, that he'll manipulate me to do stuff that I don't want to do. He's not that way. I had a boyfriend who got me to smoke weed when I was 14 and he was 16 -- only a two-year difference. Another guy got me to drink when we were both 17. My mom thinks we have nothing to talk about, but that's just crazy. We talk all the time. It's like we never shut up. We've been together for almost 10 months. We're both really happy. Do you think we should break up just because he's 23 years older than me? I don't get why it's a big deal. But maybe I'm being stupid. Do you think we should break up?

-- B

DEAR B: I don't think you should break up just because of the age difference. I think you should break up because you're not mature enough to be in any healthy relationship.

I know this because of your history of being "manipulated" by guys, going back to that boyfriend when you were 14 who "got" you to smoke weed. After that, someone else "got" you to drink.

By your own account, you have a history of demonstrating the one thing that's worse than bad judgment: No judgment.

At 20, you are still in the midst of adolescence. Maybe this much older man will be a good and stable influence on you. I hope so -- because it sounds like you definitely need a real grown-up in your life.

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