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Older man, younger partner - trying to move forward.

(63 Posts)
cjb57 Mon 18-Jun-18 16:01:57

First-time poster and nervous newbie, but needed to ask...

I'm a 57 year-old man in a four year (so far) relationship with a woman of 33 (believe me when I say I've heard or read all the judgemental stuff already, so if I can ask you to refrain from that, I'd be grateful.)

The relationship is strong, we're deeply in love and we both have similar aims in life, including having kids.

At first I thought it was just a crazy fling and we kept it fairly private and she wanted to keep it from her family, especially her parents whilst we both thought of it that way. However, after a year we realised that it was actually pretty serious and she's met my family and kids multiple times and they get on really well. I've met a few of her closest friends, but not many. Of course there were eyebrows raised &etc, but everyone soon accepted that we're very happy together.

Now for the problem part:- she is scared, terrified, to the point of breaking up the relationship, of telling her parents and thus the rest of her family. We've discussed it time and time again and he always ends up promising that she'll tell them only to back out of doing so at the last minute.

Now, for my part, I want, need the relationship to progress as most relationships do, but it's quite impossible to envisage kids (and possibly marriage) while she's so fearful of her parents' reaction that she hasn't told them. If she won't tell them there's no realistic future for us and I have pretty much no option but to break up with her, which I really, really don't want to do.

So here's my question:-

How would you handle "it"?

"It" being any interpretation of advising her how to tell her parents (or not), advising me how to get through this (or not) or anything else the panel might be happy to offer (other than giving me a hard time for having a younger partner!smile)


DaffoDeffo Mon 18-Jun-18 16:03:38

FOUR YEARS and you've not met her family and a few of her closest friends? Did I read that right?

cjb57 Mon 18-Jun-18 16:04:48


SoapOnARoap Mon 18-Jun-18 16:07:13

I don’t think this forum will give you the answers. Only she can do this

DaffoDeffo Mon 18-Jun-18 16:08:23

are her family important to her?

the only reason I ask is that I have friends who are fairly distant from theirs and if that's the case, I don't think it matters enormously but she should probably tell them (do they really need to know your age? is it any of their business?)

if her family is important to her and she is deliberately not telling them because she's worried of the reaction, then that's different. It would actually worry me more than you've only met her close friends. Surely it's not a problem with her less close friends?

has she got any siblings who can give you both a softer landing than going directly to her parents?

it does sound odd behaviour for a 33 year old!

cjb57 Mon 18-Jun-18 16:18:04

Her family are very important to her, she sees them regularly and is very attentive to them. Although her parents came here from Iran back in the 70s, and clearly they retain their cultural connections, they are both fairly modern "British" and, whilst she is interested in her culture, I wouldn't say she's anything other than a modern, well-educated British woman.

I'm not that fussed about meeting her acquaintances and I'm even OK with her parents disapproving of me, I can cope/live with that. She does have a sibling, an older sister, who does know about me but isn't being supportive at all. Weirdly enough her sister was the bad girl of the family, now reformed, and is now married with a 1yo.

hellsbellsmelons Mon 18-Jun-18 16:20:48

So you want to become a dad at 60!
Wow - good for you but I'd be wanting to retire and chill out by that point.
Not running around after a toddler (unless it's a grandchild)

Does she say why she won't tell her family or introduce you?
Are her family judgmental of everything she does?
She's a 33 YO adult and can do as she pleases.
But if she won't do it and you can't move forward then it's time to call it quits.
It may make her sit up and take notice and do the right thing or she may accept that and move on as should you.
You can't live in this limbo for much longer.
So it's put up and shut up or do something drastic.

DaffoDeffo Mon 18-Jun-18 16:25:22

when you say not being supportive do you mean she actively thinks the two of you shouldn't be together or she just doesn't approve?

well it goes 2 ways - she tells them, they actively don't approve and she has to choose between staying with you and alienating herself from the family or breaking up with you and finding someone they approve of

I think only you can bring this to a head - because your concern should be that she tells them, chooses not to alienate them and she chucks you and you have essentially wasted 4 years of your life while she knew she couldn't go out with you

I think she's being unfair on you and you need to call her out. But you also have to make it clear that you will support her. The problem you have is she may want you to bring it to a head - because then she could use it as an excuse to break up with you (that you're 'forcing' her to tell them).

I really think it's unfortunately one of those proper sit down chats - where you have to say that you really need everyone to be aware because you can't move to the next step without this being done. And then you have to be prepared to deal with the consequences of what you are asking for.

cjb57 Mon 18-Jun-18 16:33:35


She says she "can't" not she "won''t" in fact she's frequently said she will", but she's terrified of her mother in particular I think so she rationalises along the lines of "but you'll die, I'll be idle-aged, with kids, and alone"

Just doesn't approve, I think. I've been in touch with the sister and all I got was "Thank you, but it's for our family to deal with"

I have in fact recently done the "tell them or I have to leave" bit, which I'm sticking to. The problem is she keeps telling me she's going to tell them, then doesn't. We're still seeing each other, although nowhere near as much as before and we're talking a great deal. I keep trying to reassure her that I'll be there for her during the storm until her parents calm down - as I think most parents would after a while.

DaffoDeffo Mon 18-Jun-18 16:37:41

then I think all you can do is make a timeline by which you need it done and if she hasn't done it by then, you've got your answer sadly

cjb57 Mon 18-Jun-18 16:38:55

Yes, you're rightsad

hellsbellsmelons Mon 18-Jun-18 16:40:06

Then your only option now is to follow through with ending it.
You can't say it but no mean it or nothing will happen.
Good luck

cjb57 Mon 18-Jun-18 16:53:30

Thank you

Generally Mon 18-Jun-18 17:54:08

Echoing what PPs have said, you need to decide how much longer this is tolerable for you, set a deadline and end your relationship if she hasn't done what you need her to do to enable you to continue with it.

It's not an ultimatum, it's about you and your needs. It seems she understands what she needs to do and why. If she wants to continue to be with you enough then she will be. If not, then I know it sounds harsh, but what have you lost?

And, don't resume the relationship on the basis that she will tell them or on the basis that she will tell them you've just started your relationship, it will take you months (years) for the story to 'catch up' with reality. I'm assuming that if you are going to have children it would be better for you for it to be sooner rather than later? You will come in for even more disapproval if you want to get married/have a child when the relationship is 'new'.

I was in a similar situation and my now DP did what he needed to do with one day to spare (he didn't know my deadline). You have my empathy - it was an excruciating time and took us a while to get over as I had already started to detach in anticipation of needing to end it.

Tangled59 Mon 18-Jun-18 18:02:07

She sounds a bit pathetic really. Fully grown and 34 and scared of her parents? Jesus...

cjb57 Tue 19-Jun-18 12:10:36

Tangled59 - you summed it up nicely.

Anyway, it's all over - the final deadline passed and she's made her decision. sad

DaffoDeffo Tue 19-Jun-18 15:48:26

I'm sorry for you that it's had to end that way. I really hope you can find happiness with someone else.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Tue 19-Jun-18 15:56:28

I'd guess the cultural stuff was very important. A friend of mine was the child of Muslim immigrants and thought they'd absorbed British ways. Well, they appeared to until she got engaged to a white atheist. All of a sudden the ideas and prejudices from the old country were back with a passion. She was totally freaked out.

cjb57 Wed 20-Jun-18 08:00:49

Thank you all

SandyY2K Wed 20-Jun-18 08:17:51

I can understand her fears, but I never understand why she didn't envisage this in the beginning.

She's wasted 4 years of both your lives. Especially hers when most would have children in mind and the bio clock is a factor to bear in mind.

cjb57 Mon 25-Jun-18 10:57:21

Well, after many texts, calls and visits (she lives 200 yards from my flat) in floods of tears, she's now promised three times on three separate occasions to go to speak to her parents and tell them.

Of course, she hasn't, it's always the same, "It was on the tip of my tongue but I just couldn't do it." With loads more tears. I get suckered by it every time and I feel like an idiotangry

It's soul destroying. sad

Prawnofthepatriarchy Mon 25-Jun-18 11:00:42

I'm so sorry, OP. flowers

WasFatNowThin Mon 25-Jun-18 11:02:30

That's very sad, I'm sorry.
I married a man 20 years older than me, it worked well at first, but it didn't last.

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Mon 25-Jun-18 11:30:25

I'm sorry you're going through this, cjb57 but I think you have to be strong here and protect yourself.

Stop answering her calls and texts.

Tell her to leave you alone (even if it feels like the last thing you want to do).

She is a grown woman, and needs to start acting like one. Enough of the tears and the tantrums. You have asked her to reveal your relationship to her parents and she has not done that. And she can't be honest with you about it either, hence all the 'I will, I promise I will, sob sob'... nonsense. You sound like a decent person and I hope you find happiness with someone else. 4 years is a long time to put up with this crap.

HollowTalk Mon 25-Jun-18 11:33:59

That is the beauty of an older woman, you see, OP! They don't give a damn what anyone else thinks.

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