DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm involved with a man who's 17 years older. We entered into this a year ago, agreeing we'd eventually split apart. As time went on, we became closer than either of us could have imagined -- extremely compatible. But, the age difference bothers him. He often worries about "stealing my 20s" from me, and my needs not being met. I know he worries out of love, but I also am capable (and currently do) take care of, and make sure my needs are met. Society's view on our relationship would also play a huge impact on his opinion. Although he looks a little older, he doesn't look 17 years older. Is there any way to talk to him about this, or is it a lost cause? I know he has deep feelings for me. I believe it's all about chemistry, compatibility and willingness to be together, not the age of a certain person. -- Falling in Love, But Lost, Winnipeg
Dear Falling: One out of two marriages made in the last two decades are breaking up. Maybe we have to rethink this whole life-long thing. Yes, you may end up together into old age, but you may break up somewhere along the way, too, like so many couples do. The biggest holdup for this relationship -- other than his attitude -- is children. Don't give up a huge life experience, like having your own babies, over a romance with an older guy. Yes, he may have some of his own to come and visit, but it's not the same. Good news: If you don't want any yourself, or he'd like to have some with you, you're at the same stage which means more than the same age. Reading between the lines of your letter, I'm guessing he wants sex less than you do, so that's why you're "taking care of yourself" to make up the difference. This could become an increasing problem. This is also about your older boyfriend and his needs. You may think you'd be fine looking after him when he's in his 70s and you're in your 50s, but he might not want to play the "old man" role in anybody's life, especially yours. Start the talking by asking what his feelings are about his role in this. If he thinks he'll end up losing his dignity, that's a huge loss that must be considered.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Here's another perspective on the man who says he only dates single moms. My friend is a father and his child lives in another province. He only gets to see her once a month. He dates women with kids because then he's sure that the women know what it's like to have children. One of his biggest worries is that he falls in love with a woman without kids, and she and his daughter don't get along. Then he would have to choose between his daughter and his girlfriend. -- Seeing it His Way, Winnipeg
Dear Seeing It: There have been several perspectives from readers on this, but I think it's still a red flag if someone says he only dates women with children. Your friend has a good reason, but some men do not. Rules like this about children should inspire some serious questioning as you don't want to invite a pedophile into your family. You can't be too careful about that.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave. Wpg R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org