Dear Wanda and Wayne,
I've recently been involved with an older woman, going on two months now. I'm in my mid-20s and she is 13 years my senior. The age thing doesn't faze me and we get along really well.
We've been completely honest with each other to this point about where the relationship is heading. She does not live in the state and has expressed interest in moving up here on terms of getting more serious. This makes me nervous, that she'd change her life to be with me, and I've told her this but that has not deterred her from still thinking about moving.
Also, my parents seemingly are split on this new development in my life. Surprisingly, my mom seems genuinely OK that I'm seeing a woman older than all of her children (I'm the youngest of six); however, dad says I deserve someone younger and someone who isn't going to look like a "mother-in-law" in a few years. This complicates wanting to disclose a serious relationship to him, though I do love my dad and the rest of my family and value their advice/opinions.
Though it's still early in the relationship, I'm not necessarily ready to give up the idea of having children of my own. I know it's not a rite of passage but I know that she can't for personal reasons. Needless to say, life wasn't this complicated before. Anything you can offer up for advice would be helpful.
-- Cub Taken by the Scruff
Welcome to grown-up life, buddy! It's complicated. It's frustrating. It's unpredictable. Fun times, right?
Props to you for being so thoughtful at your young age. Most fledgling adults, and many experienced ones, would either cannonball dramatically into the deep end of this situation or scramble away from it as quickly as possible. And here you are, taking it all in, considering the feelings of the people you care about. You're going to make an amazing partner and father someday.
While being a great partner, brother and son is important, ultimately the person whose feelings you should most be concerned about is you. I know that probably sounds selfish for a giving person like you, but if your needs aren't being met, you're doing everyone a disservice.
I'd love to tell you to continue slowly building a relationship with this woman, but that's just me. What will make you happy? Whatever you decide, there will be ramifications: You might have to break this woman's heart. You might have to disappoint a parent. You might have to compromise your thoughts on making a family of your own.
Like I said, it's adult life and it's complicated. Don't make it more complicated than it has to be -- always stay true to yourself and communicate your feelings with others. That's the best any adult can do.
I'm detecting three issues: She is thinking of relocating to Alaska; your parents are hesitant; and she won't have kids.
First, moving. Would she move here for you only? Or for various factors? Good questions to ask. You're right to be nervous. Moving anywhere for anyone is a huge deal. Especially if it goes south and doesn't work out. Continue to be very open with her about how you feel regarding her relocating to be closer to you.
Second, parents. Oh, our parents. We love them. They love us. They want us to be happy. Remember that. Their judgment doesn't come from an evil source; they just love us. May-December romances of more broad age ranges are more common now then when our parents first linked up, so don't judge them for judging you. Know the "mother-in-law" comments and all assorted judge-y remarks come from a place of love, and live your own life.
Finally, kids. There are some almighty absolute deal breakers: kids, hard-core political beliefs, religion, to name a few. Sounds like she has decided or resigned herself to the fact she won't have children. Are you OK with that? When you look ahead, do you see yourself as a dad? A grandpa? Think good and hard, and be honest with her. Remember too that while compromises are noble, non-negotiables are respectable. Best luck to you.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.