Situation: Karen, a single mom with an eight year old son is dating a man 15 years younger than her. She writes, “Everything had been going well till I recently realized that he is still in touch with his ex. I was hurt because he was telling me that they had broken up. I happened to catch him red handed on this one. He promised me he’ll never stay in touch with her again and he sent her an email right in front of me saying he’s now seeing me, and therefore, won’t be able to talk to her again. Until that very day I trusted him, but as days go by I can’t stop thinking of the emails I read that he wrote to her. They have been in touch over the phone as well. But the day I happened to question him, he literally begged me not to go away from him. He sat the whole night and pleaded and cried. I decided to take him back again but this thing keeps bothering me. I don’t know if he’ll go back to her again…but he promised to be honest and loyal to me. I sometimes can’t stop asking him if she has called him or not. I understand he’s young and can make mistakes. He wasn’t sure it will affect me to this extent. He says he had no idea why he was doing it in spite of being happy with me. I love him a lot. I have been so honest and sincere to him. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have the strength to break up. We are not sure how far we will go. He wants me now but not sure of the future. I have tried all ways to get away from him…but it’s killing me…What am I to do? He’s a sweet guy and he keeps me happy too but the lies he said keep haunting me. I’m trying to keep my thoughts clean but I saw the number of girls he stays in touch with through his Facebook account. Where am I going wrong? He swears he loves me and that he cannot be without me, then why is he doing all this and why in spite of knowing this why am I not able to forget him or leave him?”
Breakups are not final any more: There is a trend these days that a breakup isn’t truly a breakup as it used to be in the good old days. With email, cell phones and Facebook it looks like you can’t truly breakup from anything. I have myself noticed that if I end a friendship with someone even after many years I will get an email from that person inviting me to look at his/her photos somewhere or get a greeting of some kind.
Friendship on Facebook is harmless most of the time: The other thing that I have noticed that in the younger generation, the attitude about exes is different. While the previous generation believed that the end of a relationship meant end of everything, young people today may end a romantic relationship but still not break all communication. The younger generation considers Facebook contact as nothing serious. In other words, the jealousy that you are experiencing is a result of the age difference.
Since he is young, he still needs to learn many lessons in life but remember that because of his age, he is still in the let-us-have-fun mode while you are a single mom who has to worry about raising a good child and sending your son to college some day. In other words, you will need to act like a grownup here and guide him along.
So this is what I suggest you do:
- Trust him. If he says that he has broken off romantic relationship with his ex and his contact with other women is merely friendship, then, you should give him that freedom and not be jealous. We all deserve that freedom in life. You do not have to monitor his actions or spy on him or go crazy imagining him with other women. It will serve no meaningful purpose but will drive you crazy.
- Recognize that due to the age gap, you need to adjust the way you think, and also when you talk to him, make him understand that because you are older than him, he will need to pay more attention to what you say because you have more experience in many matters.
- Enjoy this relationship. If you two are in love then celebrate the relationship and make each other happy. Don’t get too bogged down with what he is doing or whether he is trying to hook up with other girls or over-analyze each action. If he is going to cheat with another girl, even without your trying to find out, you will find out very soon and very easily. It is nearly impossible to hide if he is cheating on you. So just relax and enjoy what you have.