Tell my grown up children?(43 Posts)
Please don't judge me. I'm 53, and 18 months ago I began a relationship with a colleague. We've known each other for 6 years. We were colleagues (I was his boss) and then friends; very rapidly we became 'share-anything-near-inseparable' best friends. Then one day he kissed me and that was it. I hadn't realised I loved him so much and then it was just obvious. It was like opening a door in a long nightmare and realising you're at home at last.
It's amazing. We finish each other's sentences, love the same music, share a love of books and film, have the same profession, can't keep our hands off each other, laugh at the same things, and the sex is fantastic - out of this world. We can be together 24/7 (we frequently are) and never tire of each other; the days we are apart I ache for him and we text literally hundreds of times, talk for an hour, and rush to get to each other the next day. I've never felt so loved or in love: I am the luckiest woman in the world to find this at 53. He has - a week ago - asked me to marry him.
So far so smug. Here's the problem. No, it's not that we are married to other people.
It's this: he's 27. Three years older than my oldest child. I'm older than his mum. His friends, some of them, know and we get on really well. To be honest I look a lot younger, and most of them think I'm in my late 30s. But I'm not. I was a graduate professional with a house and a mortgage and a Mercedes - and married - before he was even born.
If I was a rich 53 year old bloke with a hot 27 year old girl it'd be a bit iffy (imho) but acceptable and most men at least would secretly be congratulating me. But I'm not, and it isn't.
I had to tell some close colleagues because as soon as this happened I didn't want to line manage him any more. They raised eyebrows but not a lot else; two of them actually said they'd never known two people better suited or happier together, and the other said she'd wondered when we'd realise we should be together. What I can't imagine is telling my sons (24 down to 19) that I'm in a relationship with someone pretty much their age, and half mine.
For a long time it was, as a result, a bit like an illicit affair, which made me wonder if it was "real". However, at the moment (since October when my youngest went to university) we are seeing each other all the time - we are in effect living together. And this is love and I want to share it. I want to live with him, do everything with him - and I want the world to know we love each other. It hurts him that I've kept it hidden. I'm not ashamed of him (why would I be? I have a gorgeous, six foot two, rugby playing, clever man who could have any girl he wanted and he chose middle aged me!) and he's proud of me (he says I'm beautiful, accomplished, clever, funny, and kind, not to mention good in bed, and his friends envy him. On a good day I believe him). My children (all boys) know him; they really like him a lot. But that's as my friend. They don't know about "us".
I know all the practical stuff. I'll die first. He might have to look after me (though my mum is fit as a fiddle at 89, and still very attractive; his dad at my age is an old man). I know one day he might meet someone else (but so could anyone). My body's not 27. We can't have kids. He wants to party more than I do. We've experienced it all, loads of times. We don't care - we want each other. I've been married before and he's had a very ltr, and the differences between us are far less than in those relationships. (Fwiw, we were in these relationships when we met and until they ended, mine first and his a few weeks later, two and a half years ago.)
We are, for want of a less cliched phrase, soul mates. He doesn't want anyone else. He loves my body (god knows why) and has made me love it too. He doesn't want a family (which is why he ended his previous ltr - she did) - his own childhood was very traumatic. I party with him sometimes but he can go off and have nights out - he comes back wanting me more, and I have my own interests and friends. It's fine. I don't need advice on whether this is right - it is.
What I want is advice on something far trickier. How do I (can I?) tell my family?
Just tell them? What they choose to make of it, how they react and the rest of it is up to your sons and you to work on later on.
Mother's day might not be the best days, but you know, arrange afternoon tea and just say it. I wouldn't involve your partner, I don't think. But you know your sons best.
That's what he said. I'm worried sick. What if they are disgusted by it? Boys and their mums...
Sounds great, they probably won't be that surprised to know you're a couple now.
Would it be an idea to show them what you have written here (maybe take out the sex bits). It is so obvious from your words that you are perfect for each other.
For what it's worth my parents had a huge age gap and were happy together.
Like all big news the initial reaction might be completely different once they settle with the news. So, expect shock maybe but that will change if they see him being nice to you. Most will be fear of how he might treat you.
Hoping goes well. I imagine they will prefer you loved than lonely....? X
Delighted for your happiness but OMG. Could be awkward. Would it be easier if someone else told them? Give them some space to react?
For what its worth I'm 46 and have been married to my 35 yr old husband for 7 yrs now and my older boys 28,27and 22 all adore him. My 12 yr old dd is a pain in the arse and gives him a hard time'
I think you should aknowledge to them that you understand it might be weird for them but that you are so happy and contented that you hope that will be enough for them to accept it.
Good luck and good for you.
Yes, acknowledge that it is a weird situation for them. Don't have DP there when you tell them. Don't say things like 'But you should be happy for me!'. Maybe just tell them the basics - that you really love and care for each other. Don't mention sex, attractive or any of those things nobody wants to think about their parents in that way.
Also, did you say yes to his proposal? If so, then I wouldn't rush into the wedding. Far more important to make sure things are ok with your kids - esp the one who has only just left home -than hurrying to get married.
I told him I'd love to marry him but I didn't see how I could. He wants me to tell them, and I see what he means - it's a huge blocker.
It's the youngest I'm most worried about.
I'm still thinking about the rest of the advice. Thank you and keep it coming.
Ps I definitely won't do it on Mother's Day! And because one son is studying overseas I won't see them all until June.
Telling them via a letter might be a good idea - they'll have time to get over any initial OMG reaction, have a bit of a think and hopefully respond positively. Telling them face to face might mean there's a gut negative response which will be hard to undo.
One thing they might be concerned about is thinking he's after your money. So if you have any thoughts on that, tell them. Do you have a will?
But if you say some of the stuff you've said in your OP then I can't see how they couldn't be happy for you.
I'd ease them in gently - ideally starting some time ago but that can't be helped. "I went out on a date with X - I know, crazy isn't it, but it's just a bit of fun" "actually I'm still "seeing" him - we get on so well together and are having a great time" "we're starting to think of ourselves as a couple" "we're going on holiday together"
Take them through the same process you went through rather than throwing them in the deep end. The problem with this approach is that realistically it would have to be sped up a bit which they'd find creepy.
Just tell them. They're adults. They might freak out initially, but if you just state the facts without any angsting, then you don't give their misgivings a way in, iyswim.
For example, saying something like, "I've got something to tell you. I've been worried sick, I know it's weird, and you'll probably freak out, but..." will lead to a reaction of,
"Oh god! What's up? Why are you worried? Yes! Yes it is weird! I'm freaking out right now!"
"I'm going out with X on Saturday night! Yes, we're a couple! I'm really happy!"
Will lead to a reaction of, "Are you? Oh. Wow. Well, good for you."
If it doesn't, then that's up to them. I'd be willing to bet they'll come round eventually.
Happiness like yours is like rocking horse shit. Grab it with both hands (the happiness, not the shit. That would be gross).
I wouldn't go through a process of pretending to date him as abive ^^ Sorry but that's too deceptive and could leave them feeling you've lied to then which will only make things worse. Honesty really is the best policy IMO.
You need to just tell them. The longer you leave it, the bigger deal you are making of it. You deserve to be happy too, and your lovely DP deserves to not be kept a secret.
FWIW one of my best friends has a step mum only 3 years older than us. Her age has never been a problem. Her parents are great, all three of them (step mum and mum actually get on really well) and although it's a tad unusual, it's never been a problem. It can work just fine.
I think you should acknowledge that it might be weird for them. It would take a miracle for all of your boys (I am guessing you mean at least 3) to just shrug it off with a 'Good for you, Mum'. They are adults, officially, but one is only in his first year at uni and is probably just discovering himself. I don't think anyone would expect a mature response from a 19 year old boy.
Wiggly's right really -it would have been nice to break them in gently but given that you don't have a time machine, actual deception isn't a good idea. But I like the low key "yes, we're a couple, isn't it great!" Approach.
I wouldn't lie about any aspect of it. Tell them you are nervous about telling them and aware it might be weird for them.
I think a letter/ email may not be a bad idea actually and might be easier for you and your sons. I agree that you should be quite matter of fact about the relationship and that you love each other but not talk any further about your feelings unless asked.
The other thing to consider is that you are an adult as is your DP and you are perfectly entitled to do what you are doing.
It sounds like you have a great relationship and whilst you are conscious that some sensitivity is required here you have nothing to be ashamed of so avoid being overly apologetic about it. You deserve to be happy and ultimately your sons will have to suck it up.
Your aim is to get them to the point of acceptance as painlessly as possible but ultimately you only have a small part to play in that.
I think the reason I was expecting judgement is I recall (I used to post here a lot under a different name) some threads with mums whose sons were with older women and some really negative things were said. I'm relieved not to have that.
I do have a will and DP is if anything embarrassed that I have far more than him. We have agreed that we will (if we marry) buy somewhere together as equals. I'm going to pass on to my boys all my capital to date. (I'm lucky enough to be able to afford that). My estate goes to my boys and DP prefers that.
I still can't decide how to tell them but I do know i must. Apart from anything else I could burst with happiness.
Sounds like you have a lovely relationship OP.
I do get the issues with telling young adult DCs, I've had difficulty with my DCs accepting a partner 10 years younger, although they admit they have no difficulties with their father's relationship with a woman 10 years younger than him (other than they don't like the woman, but that's a whole other story....).
Agree how you tell them is key, and as they have met him already and your relationship is now quite established, I do think you need to tell them very soon. Suggest talking to your sons together, without your partner and explaining that the relationship has developed. Yes, you do have a right to do what you want, but it is going to be more complicated than that if you have been on your own with DCs for some time - sons especially can be very protective, often unnecessarily. Start talking to them, but remember you have had 18 months in this relationship - it will (probably) come as a massive shock to your sons. Wouldn't normally advocate lying to DCs either, but maybe gloss over the length of the relationship when you talk to them - they may feel decieved that you haven't mentioned it earlier.
Oh man. Please be realistic in your expectations. If this guy is all you say he is, they'll see that you're happy and be pleased for you over time, but their initial reaction might be ewwwww.
If my dad was dating a woman my age i cant pretend I would be cool with it straight away. It'll take some getting used to.
Congratulations on your relationship. Sounds beautiful.
Your sons may well be really pleased for you - I'm sure they'll have concerns about the age difference, but better for you to be in a happy, supportive relationship with a 27-year-old than in a poor relationship with someone your own age. I imagine that if they see he treats you well, they will be happy for you.
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