Neil writes, “A little more than a year ago, I met a married woman on Facebook, who had the same last name as me, but lives in America (I am European). She is 39 and I’m turning 20 next month. We started talking and we clicked, and even though we were both in relationships, we were both unhappy too. We soon realized we have much in common and our talks became really frequent and ever more intimate. The level of understanding that we have shown to each other was, and still is, mind-blowing to me. I have never understood, cared about or loved anyone as nearly as I love her. Now let me be clear, we have never met. Many people find Internet dating repulsive and socially unacceptable, something sick and immoral, even pathological. The fact that she is 19 years older than me, is still married and has 3 young children is even more disturbing to my friends and family who don’t understand my connection to her, even thought I have explained them in detail about what we have and why I am into her. She is divorcing an abusive husband and she says I gave her the courage to do so. Even so, the divorce is hard on her and the kids because of her husband who is very, very mean and abusive to all of them. Now the fact that I am much more mature than my peers was always clear to me, even if the society tried to put me down and put me in a frame that matched my age. I do not feel immature and I know I am a very responsible person. I do not mind the kids nor the responsibility that comes with them, I fully realize that a woman with such a life and responsibilities will be harder to stay with, but I am committed, rational and caring and would never abandon, what I feel is, true love. Again, I feel that we are a perfect match and so does she, she loves me and we want to be together. It’s awkward because she doesn’t have a big income (she was a stay-at-home mom till last year when she started working because she went for the divorce) and I am still a college student. I would leave school, I’d leave everything for her, but we haven’t even met and she is still married. We are kind of stranded on this internet relationship, that isn’t just platonic. I don’t mind that and am very patient, I try to be understanding and we really don’t have a lot of arguments; we rarely argue about anything. My problem is mostly the cynicism of my society about online dating. Of course I want it to be more, I want to touch her, I want to hold her, have sex with her, all the normal things couples do when they are together, but this just isn’t possible for us right now. I know life is complex and they may be surprises and we may not even click live, but I feel I have to pursue this, or else I may never meet such a wonderful woman who is perfect to me in every way and have such a perfect, mental and emotional connection with. I hear a lot of skepticism every day about it and have no support whatsoever from my family, friends or anybody else. I hope you can understand how hard it is for me to still want to be with her, but I do and there is nothing I want more. In my head, however, I have to constantly fight the cynical criticism that society put in my head because we met on the internet and communicate only via email, phone and video chat. I know her like no one else and she knows she understands that no one ever knew or understood her before. I want to know if this is really so immoral, what we are doing, and if I am just being naive and should stop talking to her? Again, I really feel in love and she gives me what I need and vice versa. I never had this before and don’t want to waste it waiting for a younger woman with no kids and no baggage from her life before me.”
He continues, “Another issue for me are kids. When we meet, she will probably be in menopause and will not be able to have kids. She said she wants to have a kid with me and that it’s possible, but I realize chances I ever have a kid with her are slim to none. But seems like I will have to let that dream go because I don’t want to leave her just because I want kids and she can’t have them anymore; it would be immoral and I would betray myself and my own love to her. Another issue is the distance between us. I am quite ready to leave Europe, and come live with her in the US, even if I love my country and think my life would be more stable, socially and financially, here. I would do it for her, for us and believe I could be happy there. But I know things in reality don’t go in a straight line and sometimes it’s just not possible. I don’t want to leave her just because it’s hard and I don’t intend to. But I need some kind of confirmation from someone and seeing you are very liberal and open minded, I would wish for some impartial judgment about this.”
- Congratulations on finding love. You are very lucky to be able to do so at such an early age. And I agree with you that if you have found the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with, then, it would be stupid to abandon her just because she is older. Who knows you will regret it the rest of your life and be miserable.
- Don’t pay too much attention to what people say. I have repeatedly said it is natural for people to talk and they will always talk no matter what. If you were to date a girl your age, they will complain about her nose or hair color or her attitude or whatever else they can come up with. If I listen to people, they will not let me even breathe my way.
Finally, let us appreciate some of the harsh realities of your situation and let us deal with them one at a time:
- Since you have never met, I strongly encourage you to find the money to visit her here. Before you take the relationship to the next level, it is critical for you to visit her for a few weeks and that would give both of you an opportunity to really see how far you both want to go. I would not recommend taking any more decisions until you have done so. If you pick the right time, you can find very cheap tickets to the US (while you have not said anything about your financial situation, I am assuming that you are dependent on your family and may not have a lot of money).
- I would not recommend that you abandon college. You can transfer to an American university, but I strongly encourage you to continue your education here. There is enormous benefit to college education and you will be a better man and husband if you had good education and eventually a better job.
- Yes, it maybe impossible for you to have a child with her because by the time you graduate from college and start earning (I would not recommend that you two have another child before that because she already has 3 children to take care of), she maybe too old to have a child. Of course, there are other alternatives like donor eggs if you two still want to have a child together.
- While you both will need to consult with an immigration attorney but the paperwork for immigration is fairly simple. When you two decide to marry, you can enter the US on a fiance visa and then get married here. That would allow you to live here permanently, go to college, and also find work.
There is nothing immoral about your or her choice but you just need to take it carefully so that you both can find happiness without jeopardizing long term progress. Love can happen between two people of any age and age gap has nothing to do with how good the relationship is. I hear from a lot of couples of same age who are miserable and want a divorce and I hear from many happy couples in which partner is old enough to be a parent of the partner.