Terry is a 36-year old single mom with two daughters (16 and 11) and has been in a relationship with a 21-year old. “We are so happy together and he’s already told his family members who accept us very warmly, but I’m scared to tell mine. He’s pushing me to because we have become serious about each other even though I tried to hold back. I dont think they’d be happy about it and my older daughter would be horrified. My ex-husband (violent, bullying) would probably try and take custody of my younger daughter. What am i supposed to do? He makes me so happy and would never hurt me or cheat on me even though he can easily get women his own age. I dont want to lose him but I’m trying to be practical and think of everyone else as well. Please help!” she writes.
How to introduce a younger boyfriend to others?
First of all, congratulations for both of you for finding love and you should right away introduce your younger boyfriend to your friends and family. Be brief and introduce him as you would any other man with no explanation from you. There is a possibility that some will tease you (your response should be something like “I know! Yeah, it is a good relationship.” And that’s it.), or be horrified (again no apologies; just say that love just happened and you are glad to have him as your boyfriend). In summary, don’t be apologetic (You haven’t robbed a bank; merely fallen in love) and no need to give complicated explanations (it isn’t other people’s business anyway). And please do not think of others – think of yourself. If you think of others all the time, with every guy someone in your group of friends and family will have a problem. So if this relationship is so beautiful to both of you, do your best to keep it that way.
How to talk to your children?
Well, first of all you have to take this idea out of your mind that you are some kind of an old woman (you are only 36!) and you cannot date a 21-year old (because your daughter is 16). Tell your daughter if she asks that love is a very complicated emotion as she too will learn over time. Also let her know that you do not expect her to treat your boyfriend as her father – she already has one. You just want her to treat him as your boyfriend – that he is special to you and you want her to understand that. Yes, your boyfriend will also need to build a bond too with your children over time to gain their trust and love.
Legal custody issues
I am no legal expert but you are not doing anything illegal. Merely falling in love with a younger man is no ground for changing the custody arrangements after divorce.