Saturday, October 04, 2008

Dismaying Story #132: Yet Another Age Gap Question

Dear Andrew,

I am 50; she is in her 20's; we met at work recently. She is single, I am not happily married. I have been training her in different aspects of our job - both in the office, and outside, "in the field." Her beautiful eyes and smile have kept me in a trance. I can't believe I told her that her eyes were terrific. She just thanked me (Whew, no lawsuit!) But... her personality, looks, wit and knowledge... all are great. When I see her interact with younger guys at work, I am so jealous! I hate them! I can tell she's more relaxed around them than she is with me. Yeah, I know this is a fantasy, but it hurts! The times we work together are great, she treats me so well. I just don't know what to do once the training is over in 2 months.

Signed, So Close and Yet So Far Away

Dear Not Really All That Close,

Let me see if I can line up all the reasons why you should give your head a hard shake and forget about this.

1) You are married. Okay, so you say you are unhappy. Then work on your marriage! Sit down and have a heart-to-heart with your wife. Go see a counselor. Read a Dr. Phil book. No, I take that back – Read the Dismaying Stories on this site, particularly the posts like this one about commitment.

I have a firm and clear policy about when it is okay to entertain thoughts of spending time and affection on another woman – at a minimum this should happen after you have exhausted all reasonable efforts to make your marriage work, after your efforts have failed, after you have fully and publicly split up, after sufficient time has passed to allow some healing to take place and for the sake of common decency, and after you have fully looked after the needs of any children affected by the split. Since you are still married, you clearly do not fit these criteria. You owe your wife and any children you may have better than this.

2) You are a co-worker and trainer for this young woman, which means you are in a supervisory position. Tossing unwanted attention her way is a BIG no-no, not only personally but also legally...

3) ...and trust me, your attentions ARE almost certainly unwanted. How many 20-somethings yearn to take up with a married 50-something? So few that the chances of her being one fall somewhere between slim and none. Your fantasy is her gross-out.

4) This yearning is unhealthy for you. It has you tied up in knots to the extent that you have resorted to consulting an Internet relationship advice guy, so obviously it is a significant stress in your life. You are wasting your emotional energy worrying about a relationship that should not, cannot, will not ever happen. Along the way you are risking divorce, ridicule, losing your career, and being sued for sexual harassment.

I could go on but I think my message is clear.

Despite the title of this post, notice I have not said anything about the age gap. I have no problem with two grown adults who really love each other having an age gap relationship. As I indicated in this post there are even dating services for such relationships. The problems here lie elsewhere.

You must stop this unhealthy obsession. See a counselor or psychologist if you need the help, but find a way to stop, for your sake, for her sake, and for your wife’s sake.

All the best,
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